Spring Tradition Underway as Trout Season Opens

Apr 10, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

More than 184,000 freshly stocked rainbow trout are available to anglers now that trout season is officially underway. The season opened last Saturday, April 6, and offers “an excellent opportunity to spend quality time outdoors while enjoying some of the best trout fishing on the East Coast,” the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection notes.

According to the DEP, the state's 14 major trout streams are stocked every week following opening day. These waters are closed to fishing from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of stocking to allow the trout a chance to disperse. All other waters are open to fishing on stocking days following opening day, with most stocked at least three times.

“The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife has been stocking beautiful rainbow trout raised at the Pequest Trout Hatchery in Warren County statewide for several weeks and will continue stocking through the end of May,” DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “I encourage anglers young and old, experienced and novice, to take full advantage of our quality stocking program and enjoy not only excellent trout fishing, but also the beauty of New Jersey’s great outdoors.”

Most stocked trout will average 10½ inches, but large breeders, measuring 14 inches to 23 inches and weighing up to 7 pounds, are also distributed in the early weeks of the season. Approximately 570,000 rainbow trout will be stocked statewide by the end of the spring stocking season.

“Anglers will also be happy to learn that many of the big trout stocked last fall will have carried over and are available to catch this spring,” the DEP stated. “These fish have grown even more since they were stocked.”

“Fishing has never been better, and the word is spreading about the quality of the trout we stock,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Acting Director Dave Golden. “Every county has waters that are stocked with trout, which means that excellent fishing opportunities and access to great places to fish are always close to home.”

The DEP website njfishandwildlife.com lists all publicly accessible ponds, lakes and reservoirs, and streams and rivers, by county.

For more information on the spring trout stocking program, including the in-season stocking schedule and spring stocking updates and changes, visit njfishandwildlife.com/agentlst.htm.

Anglers can download the complete in-season stocking schedule to their smartphones by scanning the QR code in the 2019 NJ Freshwater Fishing Digest. Trout stocking information is also available through the Trout Stocking Hotline, at 609-633-6765. Printed copies of the Freshwater Fishing Digest are also available at license agents and Division of Fish and Wildlife offices.

Anyone age 16 or older must obtain a N.J. fishing license and trout stamp to fish for trout. Anglers can easily purchase these online at nj.wildlifelicense.com or through license agents.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife’s 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 Sportfish Restoration Program. —J.K.H.

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