New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Back to State of NJ Homepage Back to Fish and Wildlife Homepage Back to DEP Homepage 

March 21, 2002


For more information contact:
Al Ivany at 609-984-1795

Saturday, April 13, is the opening day of the 2002 trout season in New Jersey. At 8 a.m. the season officially begins at all waters open to public angling.


This spring, the Division of Fish and Wildlife will release more than 575,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout into nearly 200 streams and lakes throughout New Jersey. The trout are raised at the Division's Pequest Trout Hatchery & Natural Resource Education Center in Warren County and measure 10-11 inches in length with weights between one-half and one pound. In addition to these trout, another 5,000 breeders measuring 16-24 inches in length and weighing an average of 2-3 pounds will be released as well.


Spring trout stocking begins about three weeks prior to the opening day of trout season in April and continues for another seven weeks after the season starts. The species of trout stocked in the spring are brooks, browns and rainbows. Brook trout are stocked first during pre-season weeks since they are easier to catch and help to increase angler success in the beginning of the season. Rainbow trout are next, usually released during the first or second weeks of in-season stocking efforts. By the fifth or sixth weeks, brown trout are ready to be released. The browns are saved until the end of the stocking regime since they are partial to warmer water temperatures and will holdover much better into the warmer spring and summer months.

During pre and in-season trout stocking efforts, check the 2002 New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest, Freshwater Fishing issue for information on fishing specific waters and associated regulations.


Many trout anglers are concerned about the effects of the drought on stocking and trout fishing in New Jersey. Currently, a statewide water emergency has been declared and stream flows and reservoirs are at very low levels. Should the drought continue, the Division may consider changes to the spring trout stocking program. Anglers should note, however, that the production of trout at the Pequest Trout Hatchery has not been adversely affected by the drought.

Adverse climactic conditions have been a consideration in past years. The hatchery and stocking crews have dealt with drought, flood, ice, and snow. Consequently, the Division's trout stocking program is flexible enough to deal with such extremes. Fortunately, most of the 88 ponds and lakes scheduled for stocking have adequate water levels and the Division anticipates little or no problems associated with stocking these traditional waters. Additionally, it is anticipated that most streams will have adequate flows to support stocked trout.

The Division will do everything in its power to ensure that the trout anglers of New Jersey have a successful season. Though the drought situation may put somewhat of a damper on trout fishing in the Garden State, low, clear water, though not ideal, will actually make trout easier to find and should significantly enhance success. Anglers can rest assured that whatever decisions are made regarding changes to the trout-stocking plan, the Division will release the information through the media and on its website at


Individuals with touch-tone phones can call the Division's computerized 24-hour trout stocking hotline for a weekly, updated list of waters slated for spring stocking beginning Wednesday, April 10. The number is 609-633-6765. Information on trout and trout fishing in New Jersey as well as weekly stocking schedules is also available on the Division's website at the address above.