|New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife|
April 9, 2001
An exciting change in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife's popular Channel Catfish Stocking Program will create many new fishing opportunities when 3,500 catfish averaging 15 inches long are stocked this month in 19 smaller lakes throughout the state.
The regular channel catfish stocking routinely takes place in the fall with lakes receiving fingerlings that average 7 inches in length. Up until this year, the Division's warmwater hatchery could only raise catfish to 7 inches before they had to be stocked to make room for next year's crop.
Releasing bigger channel cats into smaller lakes has been made possible by the Division's new aquaculture facility at the Hackettstown Hatchery.
"These larger channel catfish are available for these stockings because we were able to keep them throughout the winter in the new intensive fish culture building at Hackettstown," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "The new building allows the Division to not only raise more fish, but healthier and larger fish in the same amount of time it took using the old facilities. As a result, we can stock legal-size fish in lakes that normally could not produce enough legal-sized fish to provide any substantial fishing opportunities. We are excited about providing quality fishing opportunities for the citizens of New Jersey where they did not exist prior to our improvements at Hackettstown."
The lakes slated to receive catfish measure less than 11 acres in size and many are urban ponds. These waters are planned to be stocked every year to ensure adequate numbers of available fish. The larger channel catfish will offer anglers the benefit of immediate harvest as well as provide the basis for a long-term put, grow and take fishery. And there's potential for the occasional trophy fish in the future since channel cats have the potential to grow in excess of 20 pounds.
Following is a list of waters by county along with the number of catfish slated for stocking:
Atlantic Heritage Park Pond 150 Bergen Whites Pond 150 Burlington Laurel Lake 250 Woolmans Lake 125 Cape May West Pond 75 Essex Diamond Mill Pond 100 Hudson Duck Pond 65 West Hudson Park Pond 100 Hunterdon Amwell Lake 250 Mercer Colonial Lake 250 Middlesex Hooks Creek Lake 250 Roosevelt Park Lake 250 Monmouth Echo Lake 150 Hamilton Fire Co. Pond 50 Holmdel Park Pond 75 Morris Silas Condit Park Pond 250 Sussex Lake Ocquittunk 200 Union Lower Echo Park Pond 150 Milton Lake 250