TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife is hosting its annual free Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center Open House and Sportsmen's Flea Market on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4.
The annual event scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days showcases New Jersey's natural resources as well as where trout are raised for stocking throughout the state. The event typically is held the weekend prior to the opening of trout season, but was rescheduled this year to June due to snow pack at the hatchery in March.
This year's Open House will also kick off National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs from June 3 - 11, and is a lead-up to New Jersey's first Free Fishing Day for 2017 on June 10. The second Free Fishing Day will be held on October 21.
"The Open House provides a great opportunity for residents and visitors alike to learn about New Jersey's abundant natural resources through family-friendly activities, demonstrations and conservation exhibits that focus on fishing, hunting and wildlife in the Garden State," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Acting Director Larry Herrighty. "Attendees will also learn about the process of raising trout for stocking throughout New Jersey, and the many management programs the Division of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for."
Activities at the Open House include:
. A giant mobile fishing tank holding thousands of gallons of water and loaded with warm-water game fish from the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery. Professional fishing demonstrations are scheduled throughout the day, with tips for anglers on casting methods, lures and effective fishing techniques.
. The Pequest fishing education pond, which will be open for children ages 8 to 16, to try trout fishing. Staff and volunteers from the Wildlife Conservation Corps and Trout Unlimited will provide expert instruction. Children younger than 8 years old can try catching trout in the Kiddie Fishing Tank. All fishing equipment will be provided.
. Exhibits and information inside the Natural Resource Education Center, where Division of Fish and Wildlife staff and representatives from conservation organizations will explain efforts to protect and manage natural resources.
. Wildlife artists, carvers and taxidermists will exhibit their work and offer items for sale.
. 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 on the grounds of the 5,000-acre Pequest Wildlife Management Area in Oxford, Warren County.
In addition to being one of the Division of Fish and Wildlife's premier events, this year's Open House is also part of a yearlong celebration of the Division's 125th anniversary. Visitors can learn about conservation work done by Division professionals and meet many of the people responsible for protecting, conserving and managing New Jersey's wildlife resources.
"I encourage everyone to attend the Open House, enjoy a great day with family and friends, learn about our history and the work that we do, and about the many wildlife-related recreation opportunities New Jersey has to offer," Acting Director Herrighty added.
For more information on the Open House, including a schedule of events and directions, visit: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/peqoh.htm or call (908) 637-4125, Extension 100.
For information about National Fishing and Boating week, visit: https://www.takemefishing.org/how-to-fish/how-to-catch-fish/national-fishing-and-boating-week/