The stocking trucks began rolling from the Pequest Trout Hatchery on March 23, and more than 180,000 trout will be waiting for New Jersey anglers on opening day. The eagerly anticipated spring trout season is the official launch of the fabulous year-round trout fishing opportunities that now exist in New Jersey.
Those trout are in addition to some of the 26,000 two to five pound bruisers still in the water from stockings in the fall and winter. They will be kept company prior to opening day by some of the more than 6,000 two to five pounders being stocked during the spring season. By springs end, nearly 600,000 trout will be placed in 89 streams and 90 ponds and lakes throughout New Jersey.
Theres a reason why New Jersey trout fishing participation has increased more than 17% during the past 3 years. Its because trout fishing has never been better in the Garden State and were working to keep it that way in 2009.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2009
An exciting change for this season is the addition of 15 to 24 inch trout to the spring stocking allocations for designated Trophy Trout and Holdover Trout lakes. In the past, these lakes were only stocked with 10 to 11 inch trout, which often grow to a larger size before being caught in these lakes.
Also, there was concern that large trout would not be as readily caught in these large lakes as they would be in smaller waterbodies. That concern was dispelled by the results of a successful stocking program conducted by the Round Valley Trout Association in which 44 of the 57 large trout stocked in Round Valley Reservoir were caught by anglers.
The allocations of 15 to 24 inch trout for Holdover and Trout lakes for 2009 are:
Holdover Trout Lakes: Clinton Reservoir (40), Lake Aeroflex (20), Lake Wawayanda (30), Sheppard Lake (20), and White Lake (10).
Trophy Trout Lakes: Merrill Creek Reservoir (90) and Round Valley Reservoir (130).
In addition to the Holdover and Trophy Trout lakes, nine other lakes will receive between 30 and 50 of the 15 to 24 inch broodstock trout in addition to the normal allocation of production fish. Each year a different set of waters is selected statewide for the Bonus Broodstock program and theres bound to be an opportunity near you. The odds of catching a big one are in your favor if you try one of these waters: Amwell Lake (Hunterdon Co.), Barbours Pond (Passaic Co.), Crystal Lake (Burlington Co.), Echo Lake (Monmouth Co.), Heritage Park Pond (Atlantic Co.), Milton Lake (Union Co.), Mountain Farm Pond (Hunterdon Co.), Rowands Pond (Camden Co.), and Verona Park Lake (Essex Co.).
Two waters that were temporarily suspended from the trout stocking program in 2008 due to dam repair projects, Mill Pond (Bergen Co.) and Harrisonville Lake (Gloucester Co.), will be stocked this spring in time for opening day.
Allocations were increased for Hockhockson Brook (Monmouth Co.) due to a stream mileage adjustment and more trout will be stocked at a new location in the Musconetcong Wildlife Management Area in the lower Musconetcong River. Anglers can park near the river in newly constructed parking lots on Bellis Road in Finesville (Hunterdon Co.).
Shaws Mill Pond (Cumberland Co.) will not be stocked this spring due to an ongoing dam repair project.
Several stocking points on Spruce Run Creek in the headwater area upstream of Glen Gardner were dropped due to low angler use, lack of public access and or lack of suitable in-stream habitat for stocked trout.
Anglers are reminded that additional access points to a number of trout stocked waters are provided through the good graces of private landowners. Please be respectful of their property. Be especially careful not to damage trees and shrubs. Take your trash with you, and any other trash you observe while fishing. Each year anglers lose access to excellent angling opportunities because of inconsiderate counterparts.
SPRING TROUT SEASON BASICS
Anglers should be aware that most trout-stocked waters are closed to fishing during the 3 weeks leading up to opening day (March 23 - April 11 at 8 a.m.). There are several waters that remain open for fishing. Farrington Lake (Middlesex Co.), Lake Hopatcong (Morris/Sussex counties), Lake Shenandoah (Ocean Co.), Prospertown Lake (Ocean Co.), and Swartswood Lake (Sussex Co.) are open year round to fishing. Seasonal or Year Round Trout Conservation Areas and designated Holdover Trout Lakes also remain open to fishing. Trout caught in any of these waters during this period must be released immediately. Note that fishing is not permitted on Seasonal Trout Conservation Areas from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. on April 11, 2009 at 8 am.
Trout can be harvested from the states two Trophy Trout Lakes, Merrill Creek and Round Valley Reservoirs. Be sure to check the Freshwater Digest for regulations pertaining to these waters.
The states sixteen major trout streams are stocked every week following Opening Day and 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, with most stocked at least three times. Since every county has waters that are stocked with trout, trout fishing opportunities are never too far away.
Fish and Wildlife places "Hook-a-Winner" jaw-tags on 1,000 brook trout stocked each spring. Anglers who catch a Hook-a-Winner trout can claim their prize (a certificate and pin) by contacting the Pequest Trout Hatchery at 908-637-4173 and they will be automatically entered into a special contest sponsored by the State Council of Trout Unlimited.
Dont forget that a fishing license and trout stamp are required to fish for trout if you are 16 years of age 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.
2009 SPRING TROUT STOCKING UPDATES
April 3 - DEP Allows Temporary Water Flow Reduction from Lake Hopatcong
March 23 - Streams are currently unseasonably low throughout the state. This is not overly surprising as January rainfall was well below average, and February was the driest on record since 1856. However, it is spring and significant precipitation can change stream flow conditions overnight. Fisheries biologists are monitoring water levels and will know if any stocking changes are necessary.
Any deviations from the stocking schedule will be noted here, on the 2009 Spring Stocking Schedules page and on the Trout Hotline (609-633-6765). Posted by: rt23.com Staff
April 06, 2009
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