April 21, 2020
(20/S015) – It’s spring trout season in New Jersey and have we got a fish story for you. Really, it is a fish story – and a successful one, at that.
It’s spring trout season in New Jersey and have we got a fish story for you. Really, it is a fish story – and a successful one, at that.
First, we’ve reeled in some details about angling for trout these days in the Garden State:
And now, a look at 1984 …
In the spring of 1984, the first fish reared at the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Warren County were released into streams, ponds and lakes across New Jersey.
The new $11.8 million hatchery, completed in 1982, had taken over the trout program from the Charles O. Hayford Hatchery in Hackettstown, which had been built in 1912. Development of the land surrounding the older Hackettstown hatchery had degraded the facility’s spring-fed water supply over the years, endangering the more sensitive cold-water trout. In contrast, the new pathogen-free hatchery, situated in the Pequest Valley, drew its source water from a pristine aquifer surrounded by 4,000 acres of protected land purchased in the 1950s to preserve the aquifer’s water quality.
In early April, then-superintendent Kurt Powers told a reporter from the Millville Daily: “The new hatchery is much more efficient. We are not limited by water quality and quantity, or by temperature. The trout stop growing when the water is frozen or too hot. Here, we always have 50-degree water.”
By the end of the 1984 spring trout season, more than 600,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout – averaging almost 10½ inches – had been stocked from the Pequest Hatchery.