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The 2014 New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Guide is now available!
To view the new guide, please download the pdf. Check back in the coming days as we work to put up the new 2014 website.

Below is content from the 2013 guide.

Inland Regulations & Definitions

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Inland District Regulations Expected to Change in 2014

There are a number of changes to the regulations that are expected to take effect later in 2014. These changes include:

Allowable number of fishing lines/rods

The number of lines (with or without rods) that may be used at one time by an angler will be increased from two lines to three, except for the designated Trout Management Areas, Wild Trout Management Areas, Trout Parks, Sea-run Trout Streams and Trophy Trout Streams where the maximum number of lines will continue to be two.

Yantic River

The lower Yantic River (from just below the falls at Indian leap in Norwich to the confluence with the Thames River/Norwich Harbor) will be open to fishing year-round.

East Twin Lake

The fishing season at East Twin Lake will be extended through the month of March (last day of the season will be March 31). The special regulations (one brown trout per day with a 20 inch minimum length) for brown trout are removed. The size and creel limits for trout during March will be one trout per day with a 16 inch minimum length.

Fishing seasons

Batterson Park Pond and Mansfield Hollow Reservoir will be open to fishing year-round and the open season for fishing at Scoville Reservoir will be from 6:00 am Opening Day through the last day in February.

Opening Day

Opening Day of trout season will change from the current 3rd Saturday in April to the 2nd Saturday in April. Opening Day remains the 3rd Saturday (April 19) for 2014, but it is expected that in 2015, Opening Day will be the 2nd Saturday in April.

American eel

The minimum length for American eel is increased to 9 inches and the daily creel limit is reduced to 25 fish per day.

American shad

Harvest of American shad is limited to the Connecticut River system. The closed season for American shad will be removed.

Kokanee salmon

The maximum daily harvest of kokanee will be reduced from eight to five fish per angler per day.

Wild Trout Management Areas (WTMA)

The Belding WMTA on the Tankerhoosen River (Vernon) is expanded to include those portions of the Tankerhoosen River (and its tributaries) in the Tankerhoosen Wildlife Management Area. This expanded WMTA will be named the Belding-Tankerhoosen WMTA.

Thermal Refuges

These are seasonal no-fishing zones created to protect thermally stressed trout seeking cool water refuge at tributaries to major rivers (Housatonic, Naugatuck, Shetucket). To better reflect cool water flow patterns, the reference point will be changed from the outlet of the tributary to a point or points as posted by DEEP. Additionally, a thermal refuge is created along the Salmon River (East Haddam) within Sunrise Resort State Park. The closure period for all thermal refuges will be extended, ending on September 15 (instead of August 30).

Inland District Statewide Species Regulations

DETERMINING REGULATIONS

A summary of the Statewide Species Open Seasons, Legal Methods and Length & Daily Creel Limits is listed in the table below. The regulations on many water bodies differ from the statewide regulations.

Use this two-step process to determine regulations on a specific waterbody:

  1. Check the table below for the general statewide regulations.
  2. Refer to the specific waterbody in the alphabetical listings of Lakes & Ponds or Rivers & Streams for special site-specific regulations. If no site-specific regulations are listed for a waterbody, statewide regulations apply for seasons, methods, and/or limits.

Unless otherwise indicated in the Lakes & Ponds and Rivers & Streams listings:

  • Lakes and ponds are open year-round.
  • Rivers & streams are open from 6:00 a.m. on the 3rd Saturday in April through the last day of February (Closed to all fishing from March 1st to 6:00 a.m. on the 3rd Saturday in April).

The open seasons listed in this table do not apply in areas closed to all fishing during a period of the year.

Lower River/Tidal Waters

Designated rivers & streams with no closed season. These include the entire Connecticut and Thames Rivers, and downstream portions of the Coginchaug, Farmington, Housatonic, Mattabesset, Mystic, Naugatuck, Niantic, Quinnipiac and Salmon Rivers. Check individual waterbody listing for boundaries.

For more information on Legal Methods & Gear, Length Limits, Creel & Possession Limits and Species, refer to the definitions below.

Note: Regulations for several marine species found in the Inland District are subject to change.

Species

Notes

Legal methods

Area

Open Season*

Minimum
Length

Daily
Creel Limit

Alewife/Blueback Herring

Daily creel limit is for both species in aggregate.

Taking of anadromous alewife & blueback herring from all Connecticut waters is prohibited. Emergency closure is in effect. See Broodstock Atlantic Salmon & River Herring for more information.

Exception: Landlocked alewife only may be taken from specific lakes. See Broodstock Atlantic Salmon & River Herring for list of lakes. Methods, seasons & creel limits for these lakes are as follows:

Angling

Lakes & Ponds

 

Open year-round*

None

25

Scoop Net

Lakes & Ponds

 

April 1 – June 15

None

25

American Eel

Spearing and bow and arrow use prohibited in streams or stream sections stocked with trout. Spearing prohibited in all lakes & ponds. The taking of elver eel, glass eel and silver eel is prohibited.

Angling, Icefishing, Bobbing,
Bow and Arrow, Spearing

All areas

Open year-round*

6″
Change expected in 2014
(see top of page
)

50
Change expected in 2014
(see top of page
)

American Shad

Harvest of American shad allowed only in the Connecticut River system.

Angling

Connecticut River
(including tributaries open year-round)

April 1 – June 30
Change expected in 2014 (see top of page)

None

6

Atlantic Salmon

Taking of Atlantic Salmon is prohibited. Exception: Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Fisheries (see Broodstock Atlantic Salmon & River Herring)

Largemouth Bass
& Smallmouth Bass

Daily creel limit is for both species in aggregate.

Angling, Icefishing

Lakes & Ponds

Open year-round*

12″

6

Rivers & Streams

Open year-round*

None

6

Connecticut River

Open year-round

12″

6

Carp, Suckers & Lampreys
Change expected in 2014 (see above): will include bowfin and tench

Spearing and bow and arrow use prohibited in streams or stream sections stocked with trout. Spearing prohibited in all lakes & ponds.

Angling, Icefishing, Bobbing,
Bow and Arrow, Spearing

All areas

Open year-round*

None
Change expected
in 2014 (see
above)

None

Chain Pickerel

Angling, Icefishing

Lakes & Ponds

Open year-round*

15″

6

Rivers & Streams

Open year-round*

None

None

Hickory Shad

Daily creel limit is in aggregate with American shad.

Angling, Icefishing,
Scoop Net

All areas

Open year-round*

None

6

Kokanee

Angling, Icefishing

All areas

3rd Saturday in April – last day in February

None

8
Change expected in 2014:
(see top of page)

Northern Pike

Angling, Icefishing

All areas

Open year-round*

26″

2

Panfish**

Except White Perch, see below.

Angling, Icefishing, Bobbing

All areas

Open year-round*

None

None

Smelt

Taking of smelt in rivers & streams is prohibited.

Angling & Icefishing

Lakes & Ponds

Open year-round*

None

50

Striped Bass

Angling

All areas

Open year-round*

28″

2

Sturgeon

Taking of sturgeon is prohibited.

Trout

(Brook, Brown,
Lake, Rainbow)

Angling, Icefishing

Lakes & Ponds, Rivers & Streams

3rd Saturday in April – last day in February

None

5

Lower Rivers/
Tidal Waters

Open year-round*

15″

2

White Perch

Angling, Icefishing, Bobbing

Connecticut River (including Coves & Tributaries)

Tidally influenced Rivers & Streams

Open year-round*

7″

30

Lakes & Ponds

All other Rivers & Streams

Open year-round*

None

None

Walleye

Angling, Icefishing

All areas

Open year-round*

18″

2

* Except in areas closed to all fishing during a period of the year.

**Yellow Perch, White Perch, Calico Bass (Crappie), Rock Bass, bullheads, all species of catfish, and all species of sunfish.

Inland Regulations & Definitions

The following provisions are taken from the inland district sport fishing regulations, and do not apply to taking fish from licensed commercial hatcheries, private waters legally registered with DEEP, or to commercial fishing in the inland district. Information on commercial fishing in the inland and marine districts is available on request.

ANGLING Fishing with hook and line, which must be personally attended. No more than two lines, with or without rods, may be used at one time. Each line may have any combination of hooks, flies or lures, of which a maximum of three hooks may be baited.

Change expected in 2014 (see top of page): The number of lines (with or without rods) that may be used at one time by an angler will increase from two lines to three, except for the in the designated Trout Management Areas, Wild Trout Management Areas, Trout Parks, Sea-run Trout Streams and Trophy Trout Streams where the maximum number of lines will continue to be two.

BAIT Any animal or vegetable, or their parts, living or dead, used with a hook for the purpose of attracting and catching fish. Any fish legally acquired, except largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, northern pike, trout, salmon, carp and goldfish may be used as bait.

BAIT SPECIES The following species of fish, amphibians, aquatic insects and crustaceans may be taken by sport fishermen for personal use (a recreational fishing license is required), but may only be sold if taken under an inland commercial bait license.

  • Bait species: Common shiner, golden shiner, fallfish, creek chub, spottail shiner, bridle shiner, blacknose dace, longnose dace, pearl dace, bluntnose minnow, fathead minnow, cutlips minnow, chub sucker, white sucker, killifish, mummichog, Atlantic & tidewater silverside, sand lance, frogs (except northern leopard frog), crayfish (except rusty crayfish), perch bugs, hellgrammites and mayfly nymphs.
  • The legal methods for taking the bait species listed above are as follows:
    • Rivers & streams: Bait species may be taken at any time with seines not over 15 ft. long and 4 ft. deep, bait traps not over 20 inches long and 15 inches in diameter, and umbrella nets not over 4 ft. by 4 ft.
    • Lakes & ponds: Bait species may be taken at any time with bait traps not over 20 inches long and 15 inches in diameter and umbrella nets not over 4 ft. by 4 ft. Seines shall not be used in lakes and ponds except those designated by the DEEP as open to commercial taking of bait. Where posted, taking, use or possession of fish as bait is prohibited in lakes and ponds.
    • All inland waters: During the open season for fishing, the species listed above may also be taken by hand, angling and scoop net.

BARBLESS HOOK A curved, pointed device, without a barb, used to catch fish. Barbless hooks may be single, double or treble, and each point must be without a barb. For the purposes of this regulation, hooks manufactured with a barb are considered barbless if the barb has been bent down to the hook, broken off or otherwise made ineffective.

BOBBING Fishing with a ball or mass of worms or other bait attached to a hookless line held in the hand or a line attached to a rod held in the hand.

BOW AND ARROW FISHING Common carp, white suckers, American eels and sea lampreys may be taken with a bow and arrow. These species may be taken by archery in streams and stream sections not stocked with trout, and in lakes and ponds, and only taken during the open season for fishing in those waters. Use of crossbows is prohibited. A fishing license is required.

Change expected in 2014: Bowfin and tench are added to the list of species that can be taken with a bow and arrow.

CAST NET A net weighted at the edges which is cast out over bait to capture it in shallow water. The use of cast nets is prohibited in inland waters.

CHILDREN’S FISHING AREA Angling in such areas is restricted to children under sixteen years of age when posted as such.

CLOSED SEASON That period of time during which all fishing is prohibited in the area specified.

DAILY CREEL LIMIT The quantity or number of fish of a species or species group that can be taken by an individual angler during the period from 12:01 a.m. to midnight.

DOWNRIGGER A device, supplemental to a fishing line, used to deploy, via an electric or handpowered winch, reel or spool that projects over the side or stern of a boat and is used as a hoist, main line and terminal weight, one or more fishing lines to a desired depth in the water column.

FISHHOOK or HOOK A curved, pointed device, with or without barb, used to catch fish. Hooks may be single, double or treble and each point shall be considered as a single hook.

FISHING OR SPORT FISHING Taking or attempting to take fish. In the Inland District, fishing is limited to angling, bow and arrow fishing, bobbing, ice fishing, snagging or snatching, spearing, scoop netting, and taking or attempting to take fish by hand.

FLOAT (BOBBER) Any buoyant object attached to a fishing line. No floats may be used unless personally attended.

FLY A single or double hook dressed with hair, feathers, tinsel, thread, yarn or similar material to which no bait, spinner, spoon, plug or other device is added.

FLY FISHING Angling with the use of a fly reel, fly rod, fly line, leader and a fly or flies. Extra weight may be built into the fly in its construction, as in a weighted nymph, and additional weight may be attached to the leader or line. The use of strike indicators is permitted.

GaffA spear or hook, with or without a handle, used for holding or lifting fish. The use of a gaff to land or assist in landing a fish is prohibited in the inland district.

HAND-HELD JIG A rod, jig stick or line held in the hand used for fishing through the ice.

ICE FISHING Not more than six tip-ups, floats (bobbers), similar devices, or hand-held jigs or any combination thereof not exceeding six in the aggregate may be used at one time. Not more than three baited hooks, with or without attractors, or three ice flies, or three artificial lures, or any combination thereof not exceeding three in the aggregate may be used with each tip-up, float (bobber), or similar device or hand-held jig. Devices must be personally attended. The name and address of the user must be legibly stamped on or attached to all devices.

INLAND DISTRICT Is the area inland of the demarcation lines as listed in Marine/Inland Demarcation.

LEADCORE LINE A fishing line constructed with a metal core.

MINIMUM LENGTH Measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail. No person shall possess any fish less than the lengths specified and any fish less than the minimum length, shall, without avoidable injury, be immediately returned to the water from which taken.

PANFISH Includes yellow perch, white perch, calico bass, rock bass, bullheads, all species of catfish, and all species of sunfish.

POSSESSION LIMIT The total number of fish of any species or species group that may be possessed by one person either on the person, on the waters of the state, the shores of these waters, or in any type of vehicle and may not exceed the creel limits for one day, as listed in this pamphlet. Fish so possessed shall be intact to the extent that neither the heads nor tails have been removed. Note that this does not restrict the number of legally acquired fish that may be kept in storage at home.

SCOOP NET A manually operated, flexible mesh net attached to a hoop which is attached to a handle. The hoop may not be over 36 inches across the widest point and the mesh bag may not be more than 36 inches in depth at its deepest point. The use of any such net constructed of metal mesh or stiff plastic mesh is prohibited.

SEINE NET A net weighted at the bottom, with top floats, that is used to encircle fish.

SET LINE A line with one or both ends secured to the shore, or to a fixed or buoyant object in the water which is used for fishing and is not personally attended. Use of set lines in the inland district is prohibited.

SLOT LENGTHS Length limits designated to reduce or increase the taking of fish by anglers.

  • Protected slot lengths: Lengths between which fish may not be kept by anglers.
  • Open slot lengths: Lengths between which fish may be kept by anglers.

SNAGGING or SNATCHING The taking of fish by foul hooking, that is hooking fish in any part of the body other than the mouth. Snagging is prohibited in all waters in the Inland District except that, in streams open to fishing throughout the year, menhaden, alewives and blueback (glut) herring may be taken by these methods. Anglers are reminded that there currently is an emergency ban on the taking of anadromous alewife and blueback herring (see Broodstock Atlantic Salmon & River Herring).

SPEARING The use of any pointed instrument, with or without barbs, propelled solely by hand. Common carp, American eels, white suckers and sea lampreys may be taken by spearing in streams or sections of streams not stocked with trout during the open seasons for fishing in such waters. Prohibited in lakes and ponds. Underwater spear fishing and the use of any type of spear gun is prohibited in all waters within the Inland District.

Change expected in 2014: Bowfin and tench are added to the list of species that can be taken by spearing.

STRIKE INDICATOR Means a brightly colored, highly visible tab, sleeve or bead or similar material used in fly fishing. Such devices may be attached to the line or leader when used in areas restricted to fly fishing only.

TAKE or TAKING Killing, capturing or otherwise rendering into possession, any fish or bait species, or attempting to kill, capture or rendering into possession, or assisting in taking or attempting to take any fish or bait species.

TROUT Include brook (charr), brown, lake, and rainbow trout and their hybrids.

Fishways and Fishing

Fishing is prohibited in the area immediately downstream or upstream of a fishway, generally for a distance of 250 feet from the fishway. Note that at some fishways, this distance may vary from 250 feet.

At locations where the distance from the fishway does differ from 250 feet, the boundaries of the “no-fishing” area will be as posted by DEEP (look for signs and/or large rocks painted red marking the boundaries).

Anglers with questions about the “no-fishing” zones around any of the over 50 fishways in the state should contact DEEP’s Diadromous Fisheries Restoration Program (Inland Fisheries Division) at 860-434-6043.

Disabled Access

These areas in the Inland District provide fishing access with primary use intended for persons with disabilities. See Coastal Boat Launches and Shoreline Fishing in Coastal Statae Parks for areas in the Marine District.

  • Angus Park Pond, Glastonbury: Off Manchester Road (Route 83) turn east on Fisher Road: Located on upper dike in Town Park.
  • Beachdale Pond, Voluntown: Route 149 next to boat access area.
  • Beaver Brook Ponds, Windham: Off Back Road at dam/access area.
  • Bigelow Pond, Union: At boat launch in Bigelow Hollow SP.
  • Billings Lake, North Stonington: At dam adjacent to boat access area.
  • Black Pond, Meriden-Middlefield: Adjacent to boat ramp.
  • Bladens Brook, Seymour: Access only by permission of Seymour Land Conservation Trust.
  • Connecticut River-Haddam Meadows State Park, Haddam: Dock at the boat launch in Haddam Meadows State Park.
  • Connecticut River-Salmon River Cove, East Haddam: Dock at state boat launch.
  • Coventry Lake (Wangumbaug Lake), Coventry: At state boat launch.
  • Day Pond, Colchester: Off Route 149 at dam in Day Pond SP.
  • Eagleville Lake, Coventry-Mansfield: On dam off Route 275.
  • Eight Mile River, East Haddam: Devil’s Hopyard SP.
  • Farmington River—West Branch, Barkhamsted: Off dirt road south of Route 318.
  • Farmington River, Unionville: On Farmington Land Trust (www.farmingtonlandtrust.org) property upstream from Route 177 (between River Road and Railroad Avenue, southerly side of river).
  • Gardner Lake, Salem-Montville-Bozrah: On dam at Lake Road.
  • Higganum Reservoir, Haddam: Off Route 81 on northeast shore.
  • Highland Lake, Winchester: At state boat launch.
  • Holbrook Pond, Hebron: On dam adjacent to access area.
  • Hopeville Pond, Griswold: At end of State Park campground.
  • Lake Saltonstall,Branford: At SCCRWA access area off Hosley Avenue.
  • Mansfield Training Center Pond, Mansfield: Located just east of the junction of Routes 44 & 32.
  • Mashapaug Lake, Union: Off the dock at boat launch in Bigelow Hollow SP.
  • Mill River, Hamden: At Clark’s Pond Dam.
  • Pattaconk Lake (Russell Jennings Pond), Chester: Located between dam and beach in Pattaconk Recreation Area.
  • Salmon Brook (East Branch), Granby: East side of river just above Route 20.
  • Salmon River Fly Area, Colchester: 0.9 miles north of Route 16 on River Road.
  • Salmon River, East Hampton: South end of picnic area off Gulf Road just south of Route 16.
  • Saugatuck Reservoir, Easton-Redding-Weston: Parking area near dam.
  • Scoville Reservoir, Wolcott: At town boat launch.
  • Southford Falls Pond, Oxford-Southbury: In Southford Falls SP.
  • Squantz Pond, New Fairfield: Near Squantz Pond SP boat launch:
  • Stratton Brook Park Pond, Simsbury: In Stratton Brook SP.
  • Walkers Reservoir (East), Vernon: Turn south near Route 31 and I-84 junction on Reservoir Road.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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