Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/NJFishandWildlife/
New Jersey’s Spring Trout season opens on April 9, 2016!
Offering some of the best trout fishing opportunities in the northeast, fishing in the Garden State has never been better. A progressive trout stocking program results in nearly 600,000 trout, raised at the Pequest Trout Hatchery, being stocked statewide each spring, followed by additional fall and winter trout distributions. The average size of trout stocked in the spring is 10.5 inches in length and ½ pound in weight, but be wary and watch your line as thousands of 2 pound to 5 pound fish are also mixed in and stocked with the regular production fish.
Ten Bonus Broodstock Lakes and the breeder stocking programs will once again provide plenty of trophy size fish within a short drive from anywhere in the state. Stream flows are roaring and the lakes and ponds are at full pool from the recent rains making all of the trout stocked waterbodies ready for the influx of Trout.
Trout Stocking Regulations signs are again equipped with QR Codes. A quick scan with a smart phone brings up the entire spring stocking schedule, complete with all seven weeks of stocking following Opening Day on April 9. The schedule includes day of the week and the number of trout stocked. This helped guide anglers to other fishing opportunities throughout the state right from their favorite fishing spot.
A new type of license is now available to anglers introducing a “Buddy” to freshwater fishing. The Fishing Buddy License offers both a current and a new angler (or two new anglers) reduced price fishing licenses! The discounted licenses are available to resident anglers ages 16 to 65, or nonresident anglers over age 16, who purchase their freshwater fishing license with a “Buddy.” Eligibility requires at least one new angler.
Anglers are reminded that as a result of a disease outbreak at the Pequest hatchery (2013/2014) the division is rearing Rainbow Trout only. A silver lining to this is that studies have shown that rainbows are more aggressive and more likely to fall victim to a well-presented lure or baited hook, much to the satisfaction of more trout anglers, particularly on Opening Day. For those anglers who just love to catch Brown Trout or Brook Trout, there are still opportunities out there. Waterbodies such as the South Branch Raritan River, Pequannock River and Big Flat Brook, (to name a few) have naturally reproducing trout in them that will surprise and delight many lucky anglers with their beautiful markings and coloration.
There are also waters in New Jersey that remain cool enough to support trout year round and contain holdover Brook and Brown Trout from previous stockings. Releasing Brook and Brown Trout will help preserve these opportunities well into the future. These trout, in addition to the Rainbow Trout stocked this spring from Pequest will no doubt keep New Jersey as one of the top trout fishing destinations in the East.
In Hunterdon, Manny’s Pond in Hampton, New Jersey receives an additional helping of large broodstock through the State’s Bonus Broodstock program.
Catch and Release Only, Seasonal, and Year-Round Trout Conservation Areas and designated Holdover Trout Lakes are also open to fishing. However, trout caught in any of these waters during this period must be released immediately.
Fish and Wildlife will place “Hook-a-Winner” jaw-tags on 1,000 Rainbow Trout stocked in the spring. Anglers who catch a Hook-a-Winner trout can claim their prize (a certificate and patch) by contacting the Pequest Trout Hatchery 908-637-4173 ext. 113.
Don’t forget that a fishing license and trout stamp is required to fish for trout if you are 16 years or older. Children under 16 and New Jersey residents 70 years and older can fish for free. Licenses and stamps may be obtained through one of the many license agents statewide, or online.
Here are local spots for spring fishing:
|Hunterdon||Alexauken Creek||Lambertville||Alexauken Creek Rd||From Flemington, take Rt. 202 south. Then take Rt. 179 south (Lambertville exit). Right on Mt. Airy/Queen Rd. (Rt. 605). Left on Alexauken Creek Rd.|
|Amwell Lake||East Amwell||Amwell Lake WMA||Rt. 31 – dirt road with sign for lake opposite Linvale – Harbourton Rd. (Rt. 579)|
|Beaver Brook||Annandale||Miller’s Tavern||Rt. 78 W, exit 18 – Beaver Ave., Annandale. Make 1st right onto East St. Make immediate right (Pump Station Sign). Make right into parking lot (behind Miller’s Tavern). Stream on left side of parking area.|
|Beaver Brook||Clinton||Rt.173 / Old Rt.22||Various access points and parking behind stores along Rt. 173 / Old Rt. 22 within the town of Clinton.|
|Beaver Brook||Clinton||Riverside Drive||Rt. 173 / Old Rt. 22 to Leigh St. Make right onto Riverside Dr. Park at end of cul-de-sac.|
|Capoolong Creek||Franklin (Sidney)||Rt. 617 (Sydney Rd.) Bridge||Rt. 78 to exit 15 Rt. 173 (Pittstown Rd.) South for approx. 1/2 mile. Left on Sidney Rd. to bridge (approx. 1.5 miles). Large pull-off just across bridge on left.|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Delaware||Route 29 Bull’s Island State Park.||Rt. 29 in Raven Rock, turn into Bull’s Island State Park, bear left into lower dirt parking area.|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Delaware||Route 29 – Lockatong Crk. Bridge||Route 29 in Raven Rock, 1.125 miles south of main entrance to Bull’s Island State Park. Dirt parking lot at Lockatong Creek confluence area|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Delaware||Route 29 – Lockatong Creek||Route 29, 0.75 miles south of Lockatong Crk. Bridge, park on shoulder or grass.|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Delaware||Route 29 -Prallsville Mill||Prallsville Mill located on Route 29 in Stockton. Canal is located behind the Mill and parking lot.|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Delaware||Bridge Street – Stockton||Route 29 in Stockton to Bridge St. – street parking.|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Delaware||Route 29 – Stockton Quarry||Rt. 29, approx. 1 mile south of Stockton Borough, park on shoulder across from quarry. Railroad trestle & bridge across the canal allowing access|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Delaware||Route 29 – at Route 202 bridge crossing||Rt. 29 in Lambertville just past the Rt. 202 bridge crossing, turn in to Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead, parking lot allows access to the canal .|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Lambertville||West End of Elm St.- Niece Lumber.||Rt. 29 in Lambertville, turn in on Elm St. Niece Lumber on right at end of Elm St., gravel parking behind Neice Lumber allows access to canal.|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Lambertville||Coryell Street – Canal Bridge.||Rt. 29 in Lambertville, turn in on Elm St., then south on Union St. Make right on Coryell St. parking lot on western side of bridge over canal.|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Lambertville||Lambertville Station restaurant.||Rt. 29 (Main St.) in Lambertville, to Bridge St., last left before river bridge. -Park at south end of restaurant lot.|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Lambertville||Mount Hope St. & below lock near wingdam.||Rt. 29 (Main St.) in Lambertville, to Mt. Hope St. – street parking. Additional access to canal, walk south along canal to canal lock.|
|D&R Feeder Canal||Lambertville||Route 29 – Fireman’s Eddy||Rt. 29, approx. 1 1/2 miles south of Lambertville, pull in road across from Golden Nugget Flea Market.- Bridge over canal to parking area|
|Hakihokake Creek||Holland||Intersection of Javes and Miller Park Rd.||Rt. 519 to Rt. 614 to Javes Rd. to intersection of Javes and Miller Park Rd., pull-off parking.|
|Hakihokake Creek||Holland||Miller Park Rd.||Rt. 519 to Rt. 614 to Javes Rd. to Miller Park Rd., many pull-offs for parking.|
|Lockatong Creek||Kingwood||Union Rd. Bridge||Rt. 519 (Kingwood Rd.) to Union Rd. to bridge. – parking lot|
|Manny’s Pond||Union Twp.||Hoffman Park||From I-78, take Exit 11, head south on Route 614, must make immediate left onto road adjacent to interchange, then bear right on Baptist Church Road. Make left at Hoffman Park entrance. Manny’s Pond is the largest pond in the park. It is visible from the main parking lot if you look downhill over the meadow. Manny’s Pond has a small island in its center.|
|Mountain Farm Pond||Teetertown||Teetertown Ravine Nature Preserve||From Route 31, head north on Route 513 through Highbridge. Proceed 6.5 miles, and turn left just past the A&P store in Califon, onto Sliker Road. Proceed 1.5 miles up the hill on and turn right onto Pleasant Grove Road. Proceed 0.6 miles to park entrance sign & black mailbox at #30 Pleasant Grove Road, on the right.|
|Mulhockaway Creek||Union (Perryville)||Clinton WMA – Charlestown Rd.||Rt. 78 W exit 13, (Service Rd.) Bear left on Rt. 173 W, at light turn right onto Charlestown Rd. (Rt. 635). Gravel Fish and Wildlife parking lot located on right. Creek located short walk down road to bridge.|
|Mulhockaway Creek||Union (Perryville)||Clinton WMA – Rt. 173||Rt. 78 West, exit 13 (Service Rd.) Bear left on Rt. 173 W. Proceed approx. 2 miles, gravel Fish and Wildlife parking lot on corner of Rt. 173 and Van Syckels Corner Rd.|
|Neshanic River||Raritan||Kuhl Road||Rt. 31 N bound south lane of Flemington, turn on Kuhl Rd. Follow Kuhl Rd. to sharp bend, dirt parking at bend (old bridge over river)|
|Nishisakawick Creek||Alexandria Twp. & Frenchtown Boro||Creek Rd.||Rt. 519 (Palmyra Corner Rd.) to Creek Rd. – pull-off parking|
|Raritan River S/B||Lebanon||Vernoy Rd.||Rt. 513 to Valley Brook Rd. (E) to Vernoy Rd., several small pull-off areas along Vernoy Rd.|
|Raritan River S/B||Califon Boro||Califon Park||Rt. 513 to Main St.(Rt. 512) to Bank St. to park entrance, river is located across field|
|Raritan River S/B||Lebanon||Ken Lockwood Gorge WMA-Trout Conservation Area (TCA)||Rt. 31 to Rt. 513 to Hoffman’s Crossing Rd. to 1st. right after bridge, follow into Fish and Wildlife access – several pull-offs along dirt access road – PROCEED WITH CAUTION (DEEP RUTS). – TROUT CONSERVATION AREA|
|Raritan River S/B||High Bridge||Arch Street||Rt. 31 to Rt. 513 to Arch Street, parking on corner of Arch St. and Rt. 513, additional parking on Arch St. on left and in park area on right.|
|Raritan River S/B||High Bridge||Gronsky’s Milk House||Rt. 31 to Rt. 513 to Gronsky’s Milk House. Parking in lot and large pull off.|
|Raritan River S/B||Clinton||Halstead St. Bridge||Rt. 31 to Halstead St.(across from Arrow Mill Plaza), parking lot on right just before bridge. Additional parking on Center St.- turn right on Center St. after bridge – lot on left.|
|Raritan River S/B||Clinton||Rt.173 / Clinton Dam||Rt. 173 (Old Rt. 22), turn into Main St. (Clinton House Restaurant.) – street parking along Main St. after bridge.|
|Raritan River S/B||Clinton||Riverside Dr.||Rt. 173 (Old Rt. 22) to Leigh St., make 1st. right on Riverside Dr., park at end of cul-de-sac. – access to Raritan River S/B and Beaver Brook.|
|Raritan River S/B||Clinton||Service Road to Clinton STP||Rt. 78 exit 15 to Pittstown Rd.(Rt. 513) turn left into Wal-Mart Plaza continue past Cracker Barrel. Parking available outside of gate of sewage treatment facility.|
|Raritan River S/B||Clinton||Hamden Rd.||Rt.173 (Old Rt. 22) to Leigh St., make right onto Hamden Rd., take to end. – parking at end of Hamden and corner of Landsdowne Rd., along closed section.|
|Raritan River S/B||Clinton||Pine Hill Rd.||Rt. 617 to Sidney School Rd., make right on Pine Hill Rd., Make right on River Rd. Small pull-off areas along bridges over river.|
|Raritan River S/B||Franklin||“Sunnyside” Picnic Area – Kiceniuk Rd.||Rt. 617, to Spring Hill Rd., make right on River Rd., paved parking area at intersection of River and Kiceniuk Rds.|
|Raritan River S/B||Franklin||Stanton Station Rd. Bridge||Rt. 31 to Stanton Station Road, approx. 1/4 mile cross over bridge, parking area on left. Foot path follows along river for additional access.|
|Raritan River S/B||Raritan||Rt. 523||Rt. 31 to Bartle’s Corner Rd.(Rt. 612) proceed straight, becomes Rt. 523. Large dirt pull-off area on left across from Raritan Industrial Center (Old Lipton Tea company).|
|Raritan River S/B||Readington||River Rd.||Rt. 31 to Bartles Corner Rd. make right onto Rt. 523 S (River Rd.) proceed approx. 1.5 miles, river comes close to road-several dirt pull-off areas in vicinity of Flemington Industrial Park.|
|Raritan River S/B||Three Bridges||Main St.||Pull-off located around bridge, additional parking in County Park area on south side of bridge.|
|Raritan River S/B||Raritan Twp||South Branch Reservation – Three Bridges||Rt. 202 N, in Three Bridges area, turn right onto Old York Road, towards Three bridges. Turn right onto Main Street (Rt. 613). Parking located on South Branch Reservation area to the left, after crossing over the river.|
|Raritan River S/B||Hillsborough||Neshanic Station||Rt. 202, Centerville area, proceed south on Rt. 629 (Pleasant Run Rd). Go straight, becomes Rt. 567. Follow into Neshanic Station, becomes River Rd. Pull offs at bridge crossings and street parking.|
|Raritan River S/B||Hillsborough||Riverside Drive||From Neshanic Station, becomes River Road. Pull off at bridge crossings and street parking.|
|Raritan River S/B||South Branch||River Road||Rt. 202, Centerville area, proceed south on Rt. 629. Turn left onto South Branch Road. Go app. 3 miles, make right on Studdiford Dr. Turn right onto River Rd – pull off on River Road.|
|Rockaway Creek||Readington (Whitehouse)||Lamington Road Bridge||Rt.22 to Old Rt.28 to Lamington Road to bridge. – pull-off parking|
|Rockaway Creek S/B||Readington||Rt. 22||Rt. 22, in Readinton Twp, parking at Green Acres Access area – East bound lane – mile marker 24.5 – short section of creek along Rt. 22.|
|Round Valley Res.||Clinton Town||Round Valley Reservoir – WMA||Rt. 78 east to Rt. 22 east, 3rd light onto Round Valley Access Rd. Make 1st left and then boat ramp area immediately on right.|
|Spruce Run Creek||Glen Gardner Boro||School Street||Rt. 31 to School Street. Immediately on the right, parking area for playground.|
|Spruce Run Creek||Lebanon||Rt. 31||On Rt. 31, small pull-off areas along creek from Glen Gardener down to Van Syckels Rd.|
|Spruce Run Creek||Lebanon||Van Syckel’s Corner Road||Rt. 31 to Van Syckel’s Corner Rd.(look for signs to Spruce Run Recreation Area). – Parking area located on left just over bridge.|
|Sydney Brook||Union||Race Street||Rt.513(Pittstown Rd.) to Race Street – Church Parking lot|
|Wichecheoke Creek||Delaware||Lower Creek Road||Rt. 519 (Kingwood – Stockton Rd.) to Lower Creek Road – pull-off parking|
|Hunterdon / Warren||Musconetcong River||Hampton||Hampton Boro Park||Rt. 31 to Main St. to Valley Rd. to Park entrance to end, dirt/gravel parking lot.|
|Musconetcong River||Bloomsbury Boro||Fish & Wildlife Access – Willow Ave.||Rt. 78 / Rt. 22 (exit 7) to Rt. 173 S. to Rt. 579 to Willow Ave to Fish and Wildlife parking lot.|
|Musconetcong River||Holland||Fish & Wildlife Property||Rt. 78 / Rt. 22 (exit 7) to Rt. 173 W. to Warren Glen – Bloomsbury Rd. (Rt. 639) to Rt. 519 / Rt. 627 to Warren Glen Rd. (Rt. 627) to Mt Joy Rd., DFW property (old Christmas tree farm) off Mt. Joy Rd. – dirt lane to parking lot.|