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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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news releases

June 6, 2005

Contact: Karen Hershey or Katherine Smith
(609) 984-1795


(05/70) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced that this year's Free Fishing Days in New Jersey will be celebrated on Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12. Free Fishing Days offer all fishing enthusiasts the opportunity to fish in any of New Jersey's public waters without a license or trout stamp.

"Fishing is one of the most popular ways to enjoy New Jersey's coasts, rivers, and waterways," said Commissioner Campbell. "Free Fishing Days are a great way to introduce newcomers to this wonderful pastime."

DEP's Free Fishing Days are open to everyone to allow both locals and visitors to enjoy freshwater fishing in New Jersey and to encourage a continued interest in the sport. While no license is required, all other regulations, including size and daily catch limits, remain in effect. Anglers should also note that any smallmouth or largemouth bass caught during this time (except in the Delaware River) must be released.

"Freshwater fishing in New Jersey has never been better," said Martin McHugh, Director of DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife. "There are more kinds of fish and more places for people to catch them than ever before. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to "get hooked" on a great sport!"

Opportunities for freshwater fishing in New Jersey have significantly improved in recent years and the state's waterways currently boast more kinds of fish and more places to catch them. Hackettstown and Pequest State Fish Hatcheries allow anglers to fish for stocked muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, striped bass hybrids, channel catfish and lake trout in New Jersey's larger lakes as well as brook, brown and rainbow trout released into the state's smaller streams and waterways.

Wild populations of fish (not hatchery raised) can also be found throughout the state, though anglers should pay close attention to regulations affecting them as these conservation measures are frequently more strict than for stocked fish.

The Pequest Trout Hatchery sponsors free programs throughout the year, including fishing classes during Free Fishing Days. Residents are encouraged to register early for the classes by calling (908) 637-4125. Pequest's Natural Resource Education Center features wildlife exhibits, a butterfly garden, picnic areas and hiking trails. There also is a handicapped-accessible fishing site along the Pequest River.

Free Fishing Days are held in conjunction with National Boating and Fishing Week.

For more information on fishing in New Jersey including Free Fishing Days, places to fish, fishing classes, regulations, feature articles and species fact sheets, visit




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Last Updated: June 6, 2005