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Director’s Message

Fishing Regulations New Jersey Freshwater Fishing

We are all looking forward to a fresh start in 2021, including plenty of opportunities for freshwater fishing action throughout New Jersey. During last year’s unprecedented challenges, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s dedicated Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries staff worked through the pandemic to deliver fantastic fishing opportunities. Employees at our Pequest and Hackettstown fish hatcheries reported to work each day, achieving fish production goals to deliver over 595,000 trout and meeting all stocking program needs for walleye, muskie northern pike and hybrid striped bass, to name a few.

While our Conservation Police Officers were along the banks and on the waters keeping everyone safe and legal, the men and women of our Bureau of Land Management also overcame mounting challenges to distribute our hatchery fish by stocking them across the state — north to south — throughout the year.

These efforts were to accomplish one common goal: making freshwater fishing opportunities in New Jersey extraordinary. Remember that trout stocked during our 2020 fall and winter stocking seasons are still in the water and are known to be caught throughout the following spring. Freshly stocked Atlantic (landlocked) salmon also offer great fishing all year long. Additional fish stocking highlights from 2020, along with information on what lies ahead for 2021, can be found on Stocking Programs.

Nothing makes me happier than to know that residents and visitors to the state are enjoying time with friends and family in New Jersey’s outdoors as this year marked unparalleled visitation on our wildlife management areas. Public open space provides a key gateway to fishing and other wildlife-related outdoor activities. With more than 357,000 acres of wildlife management areas and 450,000 acres of state parks and state forests, the Garden State offers abundant outdoor opportunities.

This edition of the New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Digest features many of these opportunities in Places to Fish: New Jersey Lakes describing over 200 waterbodies open to the public. With this abundance of great fishing locations, you’re limited only by your willingness to explore. Check out this comprehensive listing and discover someplace new.

Anyone who has fished before knows of the joy and excitement that comes along with this outdoor pursuit. As we embark on new beginnings for 2021, challenge yourself to bring someone with you that has never been fishing. New Jersey offers several easy ways to let new anglers try fishing for the first time. No fishing license is required for children under age 16, for both residents and non-residents. Those over the age of 16 can also try fishing for free during one of our two, annual Free Fishing Days, this year on June 5 and October 23, 2021, when no license is required to fish in the state.

Here at the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, we are so excited about the idea of you introducing new people to fishing that we offer big discounts to any anglers who do. Our buddy license program offers both you, and the new angler you sign up, a nearly 50% discount on the cost of your licenses. The program is available through our online licensing system and in-store license sales. See the advertisement on Summary of Fishing Regulations for more information.

The endless fishing experiences enjoyed statewide would not be possible without your continued contribution to the resource through your purchase of a New Jersey Fishing License along with your fishing equipment purchases. To better understand how buying fishing gear funds New Jersey’s freshwater fisheries, check out where you fit into the cycle of the federal Sport Fish Restoration program. These are your hard-earned dollars working to support stable fish populations while providing excellent public access opportunities in New Jersey.

Let’s make 2021 a great year and use what we gained in 2020 to appreciate, even more, the wildlife and outdoor opportunities that exist in New Jersey.

Why not get an early start with some winter ice fishing or spring trout fishing? However you choose to interact with the outdoors, do it often and tread lightly when you do. Show your appreciation for New Jersey’s natural resources with an outdoor ethic that ensures these opportunities will exist for many generations to come!

Get on The List!

The Freshwater Fisheries e-mail lists, that is. This free service provides the latest information about Fish and Wildlife events, public hearings and other matters related to our freshwater fishing resources. And we have several other lists so you can maximize your enjoyment of New Jersey’s fish and wildlife resources.

Sign up today at: NJFishandWildlife.com/lstsub.htm

 

Law Enforcement Offices

  • Northern Region — (908) 735-8240
    (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties)
  • Central Region — (609) 259-2120
    (Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties)
  • Southern Region — (856) 629-0555
    (Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties)
  • Marine Region — (609) 748-2050
    (coastal and bay areas)

Fish and Wildlife 2021 Calendar of Events

  • Fisheries Forums
    north, January 23;
    south, February 27; Public Meetings
  • Trout Meeting
    March 6; Public Meetings
  • Opening Day of Trout Season
    April 10
  • FREE Fishing Days
    June 5, Oct. 23
  • Fall Trout Stocking
    begins Oct. 12
  • Winter Trout Stocking
    November 22 and 23

Depending on the pandemic status, online virtual meetings may replace in-person events. For updates, visit our website as meeting dates approach.

Attention:New Jersey Anglers

Register. You make a difference!
It’s free, easy and required.

Before heading out to catch your favorite marine fish this year, be sure to join the hundreds of thousands of anglers who have already registered with the New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program (NJSRRP). Freshwater anglers fishing in tidal freshwater are also required to register with the NJSRRP.

For more information on the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program and to register, visit www.saltwaterregistry.nj.gov

After registering, become part of the fishery management process!

Submit fishing reports after each saltwater trip to the NJ Volunteer Angler Survey. Your fishing reports can help improve saltwater fishing opportunities in New Jersey.

Submit online reports at NJFishandWildlife.com/marinesurvey.htm