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2019 Spring Trout Fishing Information Hunting fishing


  • In-Season Stocking Closures Removed for Black and Walkill Rivers
    Anglers may now fish these streams immediately on the days they are stocked after opening day.
  • Trout Stocking Discontinued on Three Waterbodies
    Beaver Brook (Hunterdon), Rockaway Creek, S. Br. (Hunterdon), and Trout Brook (Sussex) are no longer stocked with trout. These waterbodies have reproducing brown trout populations. Beaver Brook, which has a more robust brown trout population than the other two streams, will be regulated as a Wild Trout Stream.
  • Hook Restrictions for Catch and Release Areas and designated Wild Trout Streams
    Lures used when trout fishing in the state’s two designated Catch and Release Only areas may have no more than three hook points, all of which must be barbless. These areas are limited to the use of artificial lures and flies only.
  • Trout Stocking Discontinued on Uppermost Section of the Raritan River South Branch
    The uppermost section of the Raritan River S. Br., from Flanders-Drakestown Road downstream to the Bartley Wildlife Management Area, is no longer be stocked with trout. The remaining section of the river, from the dam 200 feet above Schooleys Mtn. Rd. downstream to the confluence with the N. Br., will continue to be stocked. The discontinued section is now be managed as a Wild Trout Stream. See map.
  • Claremont TCA Is Now Part of Raritan River S. Br. Wild Trout Stream Section
    The Claremont Stretch is no longer be regulated as a Year-Round Trout Conservation Area. The minimum legal size decreases from 15 to 9 inches, along with a creel increase to two per day. See map.
  • Trout Stocking on Rahway River Extended an Additional Two Miles Downstream
    Trout stocking has been extended two miles, from St. Georges Ave. to Lawrence St. in Rahway. This section offers great angler access along the Rahway River Parkgreenway.
  • Catch and Release Only for Brook Trout Within the Brook Trout Conservation Zone
    Brook Trout caught within the Brook Trout Conservation Zone (delineated by I-287 to the east, Route 202 to the south, the New York state border and up to — but not including — the Delaware River), must be released immediately, unharmed.
  • New Wild Trout Stream and Trout-Stocked Streams—Wild Brown Trout Managed Categories, and Other WTS Changes

Consult the 2018 Freshwater Fishing Digest (pages 6-8) for details on these and other important changes.



Nine Bonus Broodstock Lakes and the breeder stocking programs provide plenty of trophy size fish within a short drive from anywhere in the state. The Bonus Broodstock Lakes generally receive 30 - 50 extra large trout.

1000 trout have been jaw-tagged for the Hook-a-Winner program. Anglers who catch a tagged trout can claim their HAW prize (a certificate and patch) by contacting the Pequest Trout Hatchery at 908-637-4173 ext. 113.

QR Codes on trout stocking regulations signs bring up the entire spring stocking schedule with all seven weeks of stocking following Opening Day on April 6. The schedule includes day of the week and the number of trout stocked. This feature can guide anglers to other fishing opportunities throughout the state right from their favorite fishing spot.

The Buddy License offers a current and a new angler (or two new anglers) reduced price fishing licenses!

Happy young angler
Click to enlarge
Share opening day with a youngster.
Brown and Brook Trout are still available, and regulations are in place to keep it that way (see page22 in the 2019 Freshwater Fishing Digest). Waterbodies such as the South Branch Raritan River, Pequannock River and Big Flat Brook, (to name a few) have naturally reproducing trout in them that will surprise and delight many lucky anglers with their beautiful markings and coloration.

Anglers should be aware that most trout-stocked waters are closed to fishing during the 3 weeks leading up to Opening Day (March 18 - April 6, 2019 at 8 a.m.). There are several waters that remain open for catch-and-release trout fishing: Lake Hopatcong (Morris/Sussex), Mountain Lake (Warren), Prospertown Lake (Ocean), Lake Shenandoah (Ocean), Swartswood Lake (Sussex), and the section of Lawrence Brook from Davidsons Mill Rd. to Farrington Lake dam are open year round to fishing.

Catch and Release Only, Seasonal, and Year-Round Trout Conservation Areas and designated Holdover Trout Lakes are also open to fishing. However, trout caught in any of these waters during this period must be released immediately. Note that, fishing is not permitted on Seasonal Trout Conservation Areas from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. on April 6, 2019. Trout can be harvested from the state's two Trophy Trout Lakes, Merrill Creek and Round Valley Reservoirs. Be sure to check the Freshwater Digest for regulations pertaining to these waters.

Don't forget that a fishing license and trout stamp are required to fish for trout if you are 16 years or older. Children under 16 and New Jersey residents 70 years and older can fish without a license. Licenses and stamps may be obtained through one of the many license agents statewide, or online.



3/4/19 - Merrill Creek Reservoir (Warren Co.) - To offset the addition of salmon beginning in the fall of 2018, and not increase pressure on the alewife forage base, the allocation of trout has been reduced by approximately 1,300 fish to a total of 3,520. The stocking program for Landlocked Salmon was expanded to include an annual allotment of 650 salmon for the reservoir to increase angling opportunities for this unique species. The biomass of the reduction is equal to the biomass of the salmon.

3/4/19 - Nomahegan Park Pond (Union Co.) - Beginning in 2019, trout stocking will be expanded from pre-season only (400 trout) into the full trout allocation program. The pond will be stocked in Weeks 1-4 as well as pre-season. The additional 4 weeks of stocking will result in 1,200 more trout (1,600 total) in 2019.

Any deviations from the stocking schedule will be noted here, on the 2019 Spring Stocking Schedules page and on the Trout Hotline (609-633-6765).

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