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Winter Trout Stocking Begins November 25

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife will again be stocking "super-size" trout as part of the Winter Trout Stocking Program. Beginning Monday, November 25, 2013, more than 5,000 large trout will be stocked in 23 lakes throughout the state (see schedule link below).

These 14 inch to 18 inch rainbow trout will come on the heels of the 20,000 two-year old beauties, stocked in October. With an extra 6 weeks to grow, the average size of these fish will be even bigger!

Cooler temperatures and the approach of winter used to signal the end of trout fishing in New Jersey. Not anymore! Trout fishing in New Jersey is now a year round reality. Itís a reality thanks to nearly 650,000 trout raised at the Pequest State Trout Hatchery in Warren County, stocked in the spring, fall and winter.

The Winter Trout Stocking Program extends trout fishing action through the winter months and early spring until spring stocking begins. In fact, spring anglers are in for a real battle when they hook into large trout stocked in October and November which have continued growing.

Two winter rainbows
Click to enlarge
Photo by Tom Pagliaroli
Thereís plenty of time to chase fall and winter stocked trout before ponds and lakes freeze. Traditional baits like worms, fathead minnows, meal worms and powerbait fished on the bottom during open water work well for those fishing from shore.

Ice does not mean the end of trout fishing. A growing number of anglers look forward to the opportunity to catch large trout through the ice. Proven methods for catching trout through the ice are using tip-ups with powerbait or fathead minnows, and jigging with small jigs or ice jigging flies. Anglers should check to make sure ice fishing is not prohibited at their intended ice fishing location(s).

Two-year old rainbow trout Anglers should pick up a copy of the Freshwater Fishing Digest and familiarize themselves with the regulations pertaining to their chosen fishing hole. The Digest as well as other information about fishing in New Jersey is also available online at www.njfishandwildlife.com/fishing_fresh.htm. The new 2014 Freshwater Digest will be available in late December.

Whatever winter (or fall) trout stocked water body you choose to fish, one thing is certain -- there will be big trout waiting. Trout anglers no longer need to suffer withdrawal or the winter fishing blues thanks to New Jerseyís Trout Stocking Program developed by the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife with your input.

Should you hook into an exceptionally large trout (or other fish), consider entering it in the Skillful Angler Awards Program. The program recognizes trophy-size fish which fall short of the state record but are large enough to be worthy of recognition.

To view the list of waters being stocked with numbers of trout, see the Stocking Schedule linked below. These lakes range in size from five to 100 acres and have shoreline access and/or boat launching sites. Get out and enjoy some of the best fishing all year with big trout and uncrowded water awaiting.

2013 Winter Trout Stocking Schedule

Trout Fishing in New Jersey

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: November 15, 2013