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Spring Trout Fishing Information


NOTE: 2012 Freshwater Digest Correction:

On Page 18 in the section headed "Spring Trout Stocked Waters With No In-Season Closures", the first paragraph should read: After opening day, these waters may be fished on the day they are stocked. The existing text incorrectly states that these waters are closed on their designated stocking dates. We apologize for any confusion.

Opening Day Angler Survey Results Results
DEP Dedicates Cape May WMA, Stocks Trout in State's Southernmost Trout Pond - DEP News Release
   Video Coverage of Event and Stocking - NBC News
Stocking New Jersey's Trout Waters - Video Feature

2012 Weekly Stocking Schedules

2012 Trout Allocations by Water and Day Stocked

2012 Bonus Broodstock Program

Fishing Access to Trout Stocked Waters by County

Fishing Access to Trout Stocked Waters by Name

Trout Fishing Facts & Information (pdf, 20kb)

2012 Trout Regulations (pdf, 185kb)

2013 Trout Regulations (pdf, 155kb)

The 2012 New Jersey Trout Season officially opened at 8:00 am on April 7. The opening day of Trout Season is the most anticipated day on the annual fishing calendar and by that day, more than 180,000 trout stocked in nearly 200 waterways were waiting for eager trout anglers.

After opening day, the Pequest Trout Hatchery stocked nearly a half million more trout during the 7-week stocking season, which extended to May 25. The in-season stocking schedule, covering the seven weeks following opening day, is available online at and through the Trout Stocking Hotline at 609-633-6765.

The "production trout" average 10.5 inches but more than 5,000 three-pound to eight-pound breeder trout are mixed in with the production fish during the spring stocking runs. Big trout hunters will also be pleased to hear that every year an increasing number of anglers discover that plenty of the 26,000 fall-stocked 17" to 24" bruisers don't get landed until the spring.

Happy opening day angler
Click to Enlarge
Photo courtesy Tom Pagliaroli

Trout fishing in New Jersey continues to be some of the best available on the East Coast. Feedback from nonresident anglers suggests that the average size of the trout stocked in New Jersey is larger than trout stocked in neighboring states, and the Bonus Broodstock Lakes and the breeder stocking programs provide plenty of trophy size fish within a short drive from anywhere in the state. The 2012 season provided the normally superb trout fishing opportunities New Jersey anglers have grown to expect and appreciate with optimum water levels, good weather and quality stocked trout.

New Waterbodies Added to Trout Stocking Program

Two waters, South Vineland Park Pond (Cumberland Co.) and Brookaloo Swamp (Warren Co.) have been added to Fish and Wildlife’s trout stocking program this year.

South Vineland Park Pond is a surprisingly deep, 20-acre sand pond with a maximum depth of 35 feet. The lake offers good shoreline access, a boat ramp, ample parking and a handicapped fishing pier. The lake also has a narrow band of trout supporting water, a rarity in our southern waters. Due to the addition of this pond, Giampetro Park Pond — also located in Vineland — will only be stocked pre-season.

Two popular trout stocking points historically stocked as part of Honey Run (Warren Co.) were recently identified as being located on a different stream called Brookaloo Swamp. Pre-season closures will now apply.

Also, Ponderlodge Pond (Cape May Co.), which was added to the stocking program in 2010 but then temporarily suspended from the stocking program the past two years due to safety concerns, will be stocked and open to fishing this year.

Trout Stocking Boundaries Extended on Two Waterbodies

Trout stocking boundaries on the Honey Run (Warren Co.) have been expanded to start at the Knowlton-Hope Township Line down to the confluence of Beaver Brook encompassing an additional three miles of stream.

The downstream limit of the trout-stocked section of the Delaware-Raritan Feeder Canal (Mercer Co.) has been extended from Upper Ferry Road to Wilburtha Road. Currently trout are stocked at various locations, beginning near the Hunterdon-Mercer County line and extending down to, and including, the Upper Ferry Road bridge. This change will properly extend the pre-season fishing closure an additional 1.2 mile to the next bridge downstream at Wilburtha Road.

Anglers looking for trout fishing hotspots can find driving directions to more than 300 of the state's better known trout water access points at Anglers are reminded that access to locations along trout stocked streams may be available only through the good graces of private landowners. Please be respectful of their property and take care not to damage trees and shrubs. Leaving your fishing location cleaner than when you arrived helps maintain good angler-landowner relations and ensures continued public access to trout streams.


Bonus Broodstock Waters

Each year a different set of waters scattered across the state is selected for the Bonus Broodstock program. This year nine designated ponds and lakes will receive between 30 and 50 of the 17 to 24-inch broodstock trout. These bruisers are stocked before opening day and the odds of catching a big one are in your favor if you try fishing one of these waters: Barbour's Pond (Passaic Co.), Crystal Lake (Burlington Co.), Echo Lake (Monmouth Co.), Holmdel Park Pond (Monmouth Co.), Manny's Pond (Hunterdon Co.), Ponderlodge Pond (Cape May Co.), Seeley's Pond (Union Co.), South Vineland Park Pond (Cumberland Co.), and Verona Park Pond (Essex Co.).

Stocking Schedule Changes

Changes to the stocking schedule occur every year and anglers are advised to check the stocking schedule to obtain up-to-date information when planning their outings. The schedule is available online at and through the Trout Stocking Hotline at 609-633-6765.


Anglers should be aware that most trout-stocked waters are closed to fishing during the 3 weeks leading up to opening day (March 19 - April 7 at 8 a.m.). During this time most trout-stocked waters are stocked with trout to provide anglers with great fishing opportunities on Opening Day, April 7.Successful trout angler

During this pre-season period you might want to try fishing one of a handful of trout-stocked waters that remain open for fishing. Farrington Lake (Middlesex Co.), Lake Hopatcong (Morris/Sussex counties), Lake Shenandoah (Ocean Co.), and Swartswood Lake (Sussex Co.) are open year round to fishing. Designated Trout Conservation Areas (Seasonal and Year Round) and Holdover Trout Lakes also remain open to fishing. (Note that fishing is not permitted on Seasonal Trout Conservation Areas from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. on April 7, 2012). Trout caught in any of these waters during the pre-season period must be released immediately.

Those looking to fish during the pre-season period and keep their catch can cast a line in either of the state's two Trophy Trout Lakes, Merrill Creek and Round Valley Reservoirs.

Be sure to check the trout regulations (pdf, 185kb) pertaining to all the above waters.

On Opening Day and the days that follow, there are a few regulations to keep in mind. On most waters anglers may keep 6 trout per day, and the trout must be at least 9 inches long. Since the trout reared at the Pequest Trout Hatchery average 10½ inches when stocked, most of the stocked trout you catch can be harvested if you chose to. June 1 is an important date, as the daily creel limit for trout on most trout waters drops from 6 to 4 per day.

The state's sixteen major trout streams are stocked every week after Opening Day for the next seven weeks and they are closed to fishing from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of stocking. This allows the trout a chance to disperse following stocking and gives anglers an equal opportunity to fish for freshly stocked trout. All other waters may be fished at any time following Opening Day, including the day they are stocked. Many are stocked at least three times after Opening Day so be sure to check the trout stocking schedule to determine the stocking dates for the waters you plan to fish. Since every county has waters that are stocked with trout, spring trout fishing opportunities are never too far away.

"Hook-a-Winner" jaw-tags are placed on 1,000 brook trout by hatchery staff prior to stocking each spring. Anglers who catch a Hook-a-Winner trout should send their name, address, fish tag number and location of catch to:

Hook-a-Winner Program
Pequest Trout Hatchery
605 Pequest Road
Oxford, NJ 07863
In recognition of your catch you will be mailed a certificate and a patch.

Don't forget that a fishing license and trout stamp are required to fish for trout and salmon 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.


Any deviations from the stocking schedule will be noted here, on the 2012 Spring Stocking Schedules page and on the Trout Stocking Hotline (609-633-6765).

The following waterbodies will not be stocked with trout during the spring of 2012:

Blair Lake
Blue Mountain Lake
Diamond Mill Pond
Grenloch Lake
Pohatcong Lake
Prospertown Lake

2010 Opening Day - Video Feature

Back to Trout Fishing in New Jersey

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Last Updated: May 29, 2012