Spring tradition gets underway with opening day of trout season this Saturday
NEW JERSEY – Anglers will have approximately 250,000 freshly stocked rainbow trout to catch in waterways across the state when trout season opens on Saturday, April 9, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced Wednesday.
Approximately 100,000 anglers of all ages are expected to head to their favorite fishing spots on opening day, which kicks off at 8 a.m. Trout season in New Jersey is eagerly anticipated by many because it’s an excellent opportunity to spend quality time outdoors while also enjoying some outstanding fishing.
“DEP Fish and Wildlife began stocking beautiful rainbow trout raised at the Pequest Trout Hatchery in Warren County statewide on March 21, and will continue stocking through the end of May,” LaTourette said. “I encourage anglers to take full advantage of our quality stocking program and enjoy not only some of the best trout fishing on the East Coast, but also the beauty of New Jersey’s great outdoors.”
There will be approximately 570,000 rainbow trout stocked statewide by the end of the spring stocking season, with most trout averaging 10½ inches in length. There also will be approximately 6,000 two and three-year-old broodstock, ranging in size from 14 inches to 26 inches and weighing up to 7 lbs., stocked in waters across the state suitable for fish of that size.
Trout-stocked waters are not open to catch-and-release during the pre-season this year now that stocking is back to a normal schedule after previously being altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In-season waterbody closures will also be in effect during the spring trout season. Following opening day, the state’s 14 major trout streams are stocked every week and are closed to fishing from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the day of stocking to allow the trout a chance to disperse. A list of these waters can be found in the 2022 NJ Freshwater Fishing Digest. After opening day, all other waters are open to fishing on stocking days.
The Bonus Broodstock Program has been reinstated for the spring season, in which select lakes and ponds will receive additional large trout. This year, 10 trout-stocked lakes and ponds throughout the state will receive 30 to 50 broodstock fish, providing even more excitement for anglers. In addition, many of the big trout stocked last fall are even larger this year and still available to catch.
“The quality of New Jersey’s trout fishing as well as the trout we stock has never been better,” said DEP Fish and Wildlife Assistant Commissioner Dave Golden. “Excellent fishing opportunities are plentiful in every county, meaning a great place to fish can always be found close to home.”
For more information on the spring trout stocking program, including the in-season stocking schedule as well as spring stocking updates and changes, visit https://nj.gov/dep/fgw/trtinfo_spring.htm.
Anglers may download the complete in-season stocking schedule to their smartphones by scanning the QR code found in the 2022 NJ Freshwater Fishing Digest or the QR code found on signs posted along trout stocked waters.
Trout stocking information is also available through the Trout Stocking Hotline at 609-633-6765. Print copies of the Freshwater Fishing Digest are also available at license agents and Fish and Wildlife offices.
Anyone age 16 or older must obtain a New Jersey Fishing License and Trout Stamp to fish for trout. Anglers may purchase these online at www.NJFishandWildlife.com or through this list of license agents.
Anglers may also save money through the Buddy Up and Save! program. Introduce a family member or friend to fishing by getting a Fishing Buddy License, which offers an existing angler and new angler (or even two new anglers) an opportunity to receive reduced-priced fishing licenses.
Need a place to fish? Visit https://nj.gov/dep/fgw/fishplc.htm.
The Pequest Trout Hatchery is supported with proceeds from the sale of fishing licenses, trout stamps and federal funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Program.