Fall Trout Fishing in New Jersey – 2008
Fantastic fishing opportunities await trout anglers at dozens of fall trout-stocked streams and lakes in New Jersey. This year fall stocking begins Tuesday, October 7 and continues through October 15. Over this period a total of 20,000 brook, brown, and rainbow trout averaging 14 to 16 inches, and weighing 1½ – 2 pounds, will be distributed in 16 streams and 16 lakes and ponds statewide. All trout are raised at the division’s Pequest Trout Hatchery.
These two-year old trout are noticeably bigger than the 10-11 inch trout typically stocked in the spring. This is the 3rd consecutive year that Fish & Wildlife has stocked bigger trout for the fall season. In addition to the 20,000 standard production fall trout, another 1,000 exceptionally large rainbow trout broodstock, measuring 18 – 21 inches, and weighing 3 – 5 pounds, are also mixed in with each truckload of fish.
Waters stocked during the first week of fall stocking are the 16 large streams and rivers in northern and coastal areas, such as the Big Flatbook, Pequest River, South Branch Raritan River, Musconetcong River, and the Manasquan and Tom’s Rivers. All fall-stocked waters may be fished as soon as they are stocked (no “closed waters” during fall stocking).
During the second week, 16 ponds and lakes in the central and southern portions of the state are stocked. Some of the more popular waters are Farrington Lake, Oak Pond, Greenwich Lake, and Mary Elmer Lake.
The complete list of fall-stocked waters and the stocking schedule is available at www.njfishandwildlife.com/flstk.htm or through the Trout Stocking Hotline 609-633-6765. If you need help finding one of these trout-stocked waters, refer to the list of fishing access locations linked below for driving directions.
Other waters offer fine trout fishing opportunities even though they are not stocked in the fall. The Holdover Trout Lakes, like Lake Aeroflex and Lake Wawayanda, provide year round trout fishing opportunities. The landlocked salmon stocking program at these two lakes, now in its 3rd year, is starting to yield harvestable size salmon (12 inches). Our two Trophy Trout Lakes, Round Valley and Merrill Creek Reservoirs, are also great trout fishing destinations. Shoreline fishing on Round Valley is particularly popular in the fall, as big rainbows cruise the shallows (See the current Freshwater Digest for special area regulations.) Also, sea run brown trout begin returning to freshwater in the Manasquan River during the fall and early winter.
A distinctly different trout-fishing experience awaits anglers who fish the wild trout streams scattered across north Jersey. These small streams are not stocked with trout and anglers can expect to catch small, colorful trout, with most measuring less than ten inches.
Thirty-five streams are managed under special regulations to provide anglers with opportunities to catch stunning, stream-bred trout (see the current Freshwater Digest for information). All trout captured from designated Wild Trout Streams, from September 16, 2008 to April 11, 2009 at 8 a.m. must be released, and be sure to leave the bait buckets home – these streams are artificials only.
Trout fishing will really heat up once fall stocking gets underway. The line-busting, bragging-size trout being stocked in October will test the skills of anglers fishing with lightweight tackle, leaving some anglers with fond memories, to last a lifetime, about the big one that got away. Whether you chose to fish for stocked or wild trout, there are plenty of trout-fishing opportunities in the Garden State. So take the time from your busy schedules to enjoy trout fishing during the splendor of fall.