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Winter Trout Fishing in New Jersey

arrow Winter Trout Stocking Begins November 25
arrow 2013 Winter Trout Stocking Schedule
arrow Trout Fishing Facts & Information (When, Where, How) (pdf, 20kb)

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.

The Winter Trout Stocked Lakes Program began in November, 2000. The program provides additional opportunities during the late fall and winter months by providing trout outside the regular spring and fall stocking seasons. The program is designed to ensure that at least one trout-stocked lake is within easy driving distance of anyone interested in trying their luck on a beautiful winter's day.

Since November, 2006, anglers who fish the winter trout stocked lakes could look forward to catching much larger trout. This exciting change consisted of the stocking of two-year old trout averaging 14 to 18 inches. Although the number stocked is approximately half of what was stocked the first five years of the program, these larger trout weigh about three times as much and provide the quality experience that most anglers desire. Plus, there are trout left from fall stocking still in the streams awaiting anglers.

Two winter rainbows
Click to enlarge
Photo by Tom Pagliaroli

The Winter Trout Lakes 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 are not caught in the fall and winter.

There’s 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. Comparison of two and three year old troutProven 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. Traditional baits like worms, fathead minnows, meal worms and powerbait fished on the bottom during open water work well for those fishing from shore. Anglers should check to make sure ice fishing is not prohibited at their intended ice fishing location(s).

Anglers should pick up a copy of the Freshwater Fishing Digest and familiarize themselves with the regulations pertaining to their chosen fishing location. The Digest as well as other information about fishing in New Jersey is also available online at The new 2014 Freshwater Digest should 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 Jersey’s Trout Stocking Program developed by the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife with your input.


arrow Winter Trout Fishing in Lakes and Ponds - November, 2004 (Updated November, 2006)
arrow Success! The Winter Trout Stocked Lakes Program - April, 2001
arrow Winter Trout Stocked Lakes Program - November, 2000


arrow Trout Fishing Access Points
arrow Trout Fishing in New Jersey
arrow Ice Fishing - Fun for One and All! - January 2002
arrow Fishing Regulations
arrow Wildlife Management Areas
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Last Updated: November 15, 2013