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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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news releases

March 24, 2014

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Larry Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Bob Considine (609) 984-1795


(14/P19) TRENTON –With the official start of New Jersey’s trout season just around the corner, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is hosting its annual Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center Open House this weekend, March 29 and 30.

The Open House is one of Fish and Wildlife’s premier events and is annually held just prior to the opening day of trout season. This year’s event will also celebrate the seasonal reopening of the Pequest Natural Resource Education Center on weekends through the end of October.

An estimated 100,000 anglers are expected to participate when trout season officially opens at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 5.

“Opening day of the trout season is a cherished tradition in New Jersey, one that connects families and friends across our entire state in the enjoyment of the state’s great outdoors,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “Opening day is an annual tradition for  residents and visitors who mark this spring rite by getting up early, staking out their favorite fishing hole, and casting for prized trout in our state’s beautiful waters.”

“People of all ages from across New Jersey and neighboring states come to this event to learn about New Jersey’s natural resources,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Chanda.” “This year’s event will be even more special as we re-open the Pequest Natural Resource Education Center to visitors on weekends, allowing for increased visitation and better customer service for hunters, anglers and the general public.”

The open house, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, offers a range of activities suitable for everyone from novices to experienced lovers of fishing and the outdoors.

The event features family friendly activities and conservation exhibits, focusing on fishing, hunting and wildlife in New Jersey.

Activities include:

  • The Hog Trough -- a giant mobile fishing tank holding thousands of gallons of water and loaded with monster trout and warm-water game fish. Professional fishing demonstrations in the Hog Trough are scheduled throughout the day, with tips for anglers on casting methods, lures and effective fishing techniques.
  • Children ages 8 to 16 can try their hand at trout fishing before the season opens in the Fishing Education Pond, with expert instruction by staff and volunteers from the Wildlife Conservation Corps and Trout Unlimited. Children under 8 can try catching trout in the Kiddie Fishing Tank. All fishing equipment will be provided.
  • Beginner archery and shotgun ranges will be set up in fields on the hatchery grounds. Certified hunter education instructors will offer instruction and ensure a safe experience.
  • Inside the Natural Resource Education Center, Division of Fish and Wildlife staff and representatives from conservation organizations will be on hand with exhibits and information on the work being done to protect our natural resources. Wildlife artists, carvers and taxidermists will exhibit their artwork and offer items for sale.
  • In addition, a Sportsmen’s Flea Market will offer deals on fishing and hunting equipment, outdoor gear and many other items. Food vendors will be available or you can bring your own lunch and enjoy one of three picnic areas located in the 4,000-acre Pequest Wildlife Management Area.

The Pequest Trout Hatchery utilizes state-of-the-art techniques for trout stocking throughout New Jersey. Wells in the Pequest Valley provide a constant flow of cold water necessary for the rearing of trout.

Please note that there have been changes to stocking locations and numbers this spring due to trout production reductions necessitated by the need to manage trout that have been affected by a common cold water fish disease.

None of the trout being stocked this spring have the disease. Trout that contracted furunculosis had to be euthanized. Others may have been exposed to the bacterium that causes the disease but were effectively treated. Trout that will be stocked have tested negative. For more information on the spring trout stocking program, including the in-season stocking schedule, please visit:

Stocking information is also available through the Trout Stocking Hotline at (609) 633-6765.

For more information on the Open House including a schedule of events and directions, call (908)-637-4125 ext. 100 or visit:

A fishing license and trout stamp are required to fish for trout for anyone 16 or older. Children under 16 and New Jersey residents 70 years and older can fish for free. Licenses and stamps may be obtained through license agents statewide, found at 

They can also be purchased online at




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Last Updated: March 24, 2014