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Fall Trout Fishing Opportunities - A Sneak Peak at Bigger Trout

By Patricia L. Hamilton
Principal Biologist
September, 2005


What better way to soak up those warm rays of early fall sunshine than to fish for trout at one of the 32 streams and lakes slated for trout stocking this fall. Anglers can expect a relaxing fishing experience during the fall as the crowds of spring trout anglers have typically dwindled. The fall foliage colors add even more enjoyment to being outdoors this time of year. Trout anglers venturing forth this fall will get a sneak peak of some the bigger trout the Pequest Trout Hatchery will be routinely rearing for the fall stocking program in the years to come.

The trout, which are in excellent condition, are reared at the Pequest Trout Hatchery in Warren County. The majority of the 47,000 trout being stocked this fall are the standard production, one-year old rainbow trout, averaging 9 inches. However, approximately 13 percent of this total (6,000) are larger, two-year old brown and brook trout, averaging 14 - 15 inches. These larger trout were reared to test the ability of the hatchery system to produce two-year old trout for upcoming changes to the fall and winter stocking programs next year.
Comparing two and one-year old trout
An extra year of growth results in a considerably larger trout!
Click to enlarge

The 2005 fall stocking schedule may be found at or accessed through the trout hotline (609-633-6765). Anglers are reminded that daily spring stocking closures on streams do not apply during fall stocking period. In addition, several significant changes to the fall stocking program take effect this year, as explained below, so anglers should take note and plan accordingly.

  • Fall trout stocking will occur over a two-week period
    The stocking period has been shortened from three weeks to two. Approximately the same number of trout will be released during these two weeks, as have been traditionally stocked during this two-week period.

  • Surplus trout have already been stocked
    The hatchery has already begun transitioning to the production of 2-year old trout for next year's fall and winter programs. Surplus trout (averaging 5 to 6 inches), traditionally stocked during the third week of fall stocking, had to be stocked months earlier to free up growing space in the hatchery raceways for the bigger trout.

  • Broodstock trout will be stocked during the first and second weeks of fall stocking
    Because the third week of stocking has been eliminated, these brutes will now be stocked during Weeks 1 and 2. Approximately 1,000 three-year old broodstock rainbow trout, averaging 17 - 18 inches, are slated for release during these two weeks.

  • Bigger production trout being stocked
    The hatchery is in the process of transitioning from the production of one-year old trout (averaging 9 inches) for fall stocking, to larger, two-year old trout (14 - 16 inches) for the fall of 2006. The hatchery experimented with the production of these bigger trout, and as result about 6,000 big two-year old trout are available for distribution this fall.

Ponds and lakes have weathered the summer dry spell and splendid fishing conditions should prevail on those scheduled to receive fall trout. Unless we get some much needed rain, trout anglers fishing streams this fall will likely be challenged by low flow conditions and wary trout. But those anglers who quest for trout this fall will begin to experience the thrill of catching big trout, and those trout that elude anglers should still be swimming around when opening day rolls around next April.


arrow Fall Trout Stocking Schedule
arrow Fall Trout Fishing Information
arrow Places to Fish - Ponds
arrow Places to Fish - Streams
arrow "Hook-a-Winner" Program
arrow Sea Run Brown Trout
arrow License Information
arrow General Fishing Regulations
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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: September 29, 2005