Summary of Fishing Regulations
New Jersey Freshwater Fishing
Summary of General Fishing Regulations
The season, size and creel limits for freshwater species apply to all waters of the state, including tidal waters.
- Fish may be taken only in the manner known as angling with handline or with rod and line, or as otherwise allowed by law.
- When fishing from the shoreline, no more than three fishing rods, handlines or combination thereof may be used (except on the Delaware River. There is no rod limit when fishing from a boat except for the Delaware River.) For the Delaware River the three rod limit applies both to boat and shoreline anglers (see Delaware River).
- Only one daily creel of any fish species may be in possession. Additional fish may be caught once the creel is reached if immediately returned to the water unharmed.
- Separate stringers or buckets must be used for each angler’s catch.
- Boats may contain only the combined daily creel limit for each legal angler on board.
- A fishing license does not authorize trespass on private property. Permission first must be obtained from the landowner.
It Is Unlawful To:
- Fish within 100 feet (or as posted) of any fish ladder entrance or exit from March 1 through June 30.
- Spear fish in fresh waters. See exception for Delaware River, Delaware River.
- Possess a fishing device with more than nine hooks in total, or more than three treble hooks, except for the Delaware River; see Delaware River.
- Use set lines.
- Use cast nets in freshwater lakes or trout stocked waters. See Baitfish for other exclusions.
- Foul hook or snag any species of fish. This does not apply to fish taken through the ice.
Bow and Arrow Fishing
Carp (including bighead, common and grass), eels, flathead catfish, American shad (Delaware River only), gizzard shad, snakeheads and suckers or hybrids of these species—may be taken at any time by use of a bow and arrow (with a line attached to the arrow) when in possession of a valid fishing license. Crossbows may be used when bowfishing except for Greenwood Lake. Crossbows must have a stock length of at least 25 inches, a minimum draw pull weight of 75 pounds and a working safety. Crossbows must be uncocked during transport or when not actively fishing. They may not be permanently mounted. Anglers should be aware that some municipalities have banned the discharge of bow and arrow, tethered arrow or not. As such, anglers are strongly urged to check with the waterbody owner and/or individual municipality prior to engaging in bowfishing. See regulations for the Delaware River and Greenwood Lake.
It is illegal to fish or attempt to catch or kill fish by any manner or means in any waters for which the Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, upon approval by the Fish and Game Council, issues an emergency closure notice. Such notification is effective and/or rescinded immediately upon public notification. Emergency closures shall be based upon imminent threat to the well-being of the fishery resources, and/or its users, and may include any exceptions to the total ban of fishing that the Director deems practical.
No more than five devices may be used for taking fish when ice is present. The devices that may be used are:
- Ice supported tip-ups or lines with one single pointed hook attached, or one burr of three hooks that measure not more than ½-inch from point to shaft;
- An artificial jigging lure with not more than one burr of three hooks that measure not more than ½-inch from point to point;
- An artificial jigging lure with not more than three single hooks measuring not more than ½-inch from point to shaft;
- An artificial jigging lure with a combination of the hook limitations described in 2 and 3 above.
Natural bait may be used on the hooks of the artificial jigging lures. All devices that are not hand-held must bear the name and address of the user and cannot be left unattended.
See separate regulations for trout-stocked waters and Greenwood Lake.
Potentially Dangerous Fish
The possession or release of live, potentially dangerous fish is prohibited. These species (see Aquatic Invasive Species) include Asian swamp eel, bighead, grass (diploid) and silver carp, brook stickleback, green sunfish, flathead catfish, oriental weatherfish, snakehead and warmouth. Anglers MUST destroy these species if encountered while fishing and are directed to submit specimen(s) or photos to a Fish and Wildlife Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries biologist for verification. To reach a biologist, call (908) 236-2118 for north Jersey or (609) 259-6964 for south Jersey. These non-native species are likely to cause environmental harm to the state’s fisheries resources by outcompeting preferred game fish species. Common carp are an invasive species but are NOT classified as a potentially dangerous fish and do not have to be destroyed.
Sale of Fish
It is illegal to sell any freshwater fish species except under commercial permits as prescribed in the Fish and Game Code. Artificially-propagated trout, if properly tagged, may be sold for food purposes.
A permit is required to stock fish or fish eggs into any waters of the state, public or private, at any time. An application may be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries (north/central) 908-236-2118; (south) 609-259-6964. It is ILLEGAL to stock carp or koi into any waters. No trout may be used as bait or stocked within the PEQUEST RIVER DRAINAGE except by the Pequest Trout Hatchery.
No person may tag or mark and then release a fish without first obtaining a fish stocking permit or by special permit issued by Fish and Wildlife. Contact the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries (north/central) 908-236-2118; (south) 609-259-6964 for application information.
Waste of Fish
Fish of any species which are purposely killed become part of the angler’s daily limit and must be removed from the waters from which they were taken, then either used or otherwise disposed of properly.
Water Supply Reservoirs Open To Fishing By Permit Only
|Permits must be obtained from the specific reservoir owner listed below. A valid fishing license is also required.|
Type of Fishing
Boat & Shoreline
Newark Watershed reservoir permits
City of Newark
Newark City Hall
Oak Ridge Reservoir
United Water Company
Suez Watershed Application
Lake Tappan Reservoir
- Opening day of trout season: Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 8 a.m.
- To fish for trout or salmon, a valid New Jersey
fishing license and trout stamp are both required for residents at least 16 years and less than 70 years of age plus all non-residents 16 years and older.
- All Brook Trout caught within the “Brook Trout Conservation Zone” must be immediately released unharmed. The zone consists of all waters within the northwest region of the state, where most remaining wild Brook Trout populations occur. The Conservation Zone includes all waters west of I-287 and north of Rt 202, extending to, but not including the Delaware River. See map on Trout Fishing Regulations.
- Waters stocked with trout in the spring are listed below (those with no in-season closures) AND on Trout Fishing Regulations (those with in-season closures). Note: Special regulations may apply on some of these waters, or sections thereof.
- During the three weeks prior to opening day, all ponds, lakes or sections of streams are stocked with trout, except Trophy Trout Lakes. These waters are closed to fishing for all species from March 18 to April 6 at 8 a.m. Exceptions: Lake Hopatcong, Mountain Lake, Lake Shenandoah, Lawrence Brook (section from Davidson’s Mill Rd. to Farrington Lake dam), Prospertown Lake and Swartswood Lake are open year round to fishing. However, all trout caught during this period (above) must be released immediately. Seasonal and Year-round Trout Conservation Areas and designated Holdover Trout Lakes (see Trout Fishing Regulations) are also open to fishing but are catch-and-release only for trout. Fishing is not permitted on seasonal trout conservation areas from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. on April 6, 2019. Round Valley and Merrill Creek Reservoirs (Trophy Trout Lakes) are open to year-round fishing; trout may be harvested within the regulations as shown on Trout Fishing Regulations.
- After opening day, trout stocked waters are open to fishing, including the days they are stocked, unless specifically listed with in-season closures (Trout Fishing Regulations). In-season closures also apply to designated Seasonal Trout Conservation Areas (Trout Fishing Regulations).
- Only one daily creel limit of trout may be in possession. Once the creel limit is reached, an angler may continue to fish provided any additional trout caught are immediately returned to the water unharmed.
- When fishing from the shoreline, no more than three fishing rods, hand lines or combination thereof may be used. Separate stringers or buckets must be used for each angler’s catch.
- Containers in boats may hold only the combined daily creel limit for each legal angler on board.
- Fish and Wildlife reserves the right to suspend stocking when emergency conditions prevail.
Spring Trout Stocked Waters With No In-Season Fishing Closures
After opening day, these waters may be fished on the day they are stocked.
Note: All waters listed are stocked with trout pre-season (three-week period preceding opening day) except Round Valley and Merrill Creek reservoirs. The number in parentheses shows the anticipated number of in-season stockings (April 8 through May 24). A zero indicates the water will be stocked only during pre-season. For weekly updates on stocking details, call the Trout Hotline’s recorded message at (609) 633-6765. (Spring stocking: April–May; Fall stocking: October; Winter stocking: November.) Or visit our website at NJFishandWildlife.com where you will also find directions to public-access portions of trout-stocked waters.
Birch Grove Park Ponds—Northfield (3)
Hammonton Lake—Town of Hammonton (3)
Heritage Pond—Absecon (3)
Dahnert’s Lake—Garfield (4)
Hackensack River—Lake Tappan to Harriot Ave., Harrington Park Borough (4)
Hohokus Brook—Parsons Pond Rd., Franklin Lakes Borough to Saddle River (4)
Indian Lake—Little Ferry Borough (4)
Mill Pond (aka Silver Lake)—Park Ridge Borough (3)
Pascack Brook—Woodcliff Lake dam to Emerson Rd., Harrington Park Borough (4)
Potash Lake—Oakland (3)
Saddle River—Lake St. to West Century Rd., Fair Lawn (5)
Tenakill Brook—Closter Borough, entire length (3)
Whites Pond—Waldwick Borough (4)
Crystal Lake—Willingboro Twp. (4)
Laurel Pond—Mt. Laurel Twp. (3)
Pemberton Lake—Pemberton Twp. (3)
Rancocas Creek, Southwest Br.— Mill St. Park to Rt. 70, Medford Twp. (4)
Sylvan Lake—Burlington Twp. (3)
Gloucester City Pond—Gloucester (4)
Grenloch Lake (see Gloucester County)
Haddon Lake—Audubon Borough (0)
Oak Pond—Sicklerville, Winslow Twp. (3)
Rowands Lake—Clementon Borough (3)
Cape May County
Ponderlodge Pond —Villas, Lower Twp. (4)
Tuckahoe Lake—Tuckahoe, Upper Twp. (4)
Cohansey River—Dam at Seeleys Pond to powerline above Sunset Lake, Upper Deerfield Twp. (4)
Giampietro Park Lake—Vineland (0)
Mary Elmer Lake—Bridgeton (3)
Maurice River—Willow Grove Lake dam to
Sherman Ave., Vineland (4)
Shaws Mill Pond—Down/Lawrence Twps. (3)
South Vineland Park Pond —Vineland (3)
Branch Brook Park Lake—Newark (4)
Diamond Mill Pond—Millburn Twp. (3)
Rahway River, W/Br.—Campbells Pond to
Essex St., Milburn Twp. (3)
Verona Lake—Verona Twp. (4)
Greenwich Lake—Greenwich Twp. (3)
Grenloch Lake—Washington Twp. (3)
Harrisonville Lake—Pilesgrove/South Harrison Twps. (3)
Iona Lake—Franklin Twp. (3)
Swedesboro Lake (aka Narraticon Lake)—Borough of Swedesboro (3)
Westville Lake—Westville (0)
North Hudson Park Lake—(aka JJ Braddock Park Lake), North Bergen Twp. (4)
West Hudson County Park Pond—Harrison (0)
Alexauken Creek—West Amwell Twp., entire length (2)
Amwell Lake—East Amwell Twp. (3)
Capoolong Creek (aka Cakepoulin Creek)—Franklin Twp., entire length (5)
Delaware-Raritan Feeder Canal—source to Wilburtha Rd., Ewing Twp. (Mercer) (6)
Hakihokake Creek—Little York-Mount Pleasant Rd, Little York, Alexandria Twp. to Delaware River (2)
Lockatong Creek—Route 12, Kingwood Twp. to Delaware-Raritan Feeder Canal (5)
Mannys Pond—Union Twp. (3)
Mountain Farm Pond—Lebanon Twp. (3)
Mulhockaway Creek—Pattenburg, source to Spruce Run Reservoir, Clinton/Union Twps. (5)
Neshanic River—confluence of First and Second Neshanic Rivers to Rt. 514, Raritan Twp. (2)
Nishisakawick Creek—Frenchtown Alexandria Twp., entire length (2)
Rockaway Creek—Readington Twp., entire length (4)
Round Valley Reservoir—Clinton Twp. (1)
Sidney Brook—Franklin/Union Twps., entire length (1)
Spruce Run—Glen Gardner Borough/Lebanon Twp., entire length (5)
Stony Brook—(See Mercer Co.)
Wickecheoke Creek—Covered Bridge, Rt. 604, Sergeantsville to Delaware River (2)
Assunpink Creek—Assunpink Site 5 dam upstream of Rt. 130 to Carnegie Rd., Hamilton Twp. (4)
Colonial Lake—Lawrence Twp. (3)
Delaware-Raritan Canal—Mulberry St., Trenton to Alexander St., Princeton (4)
Delaware-Raritan Feeder Canal—(See Hunterdon Co.) (6)
Rosedale Lake—Hopewell Twp. (3)
Stony Brook—Hopewell Twp., entire length (4)
Hook’s Creek Lake—Cheesequake State Park, Old Bridge Twp. (3)
Ireland Brook—500 ft. upstream of Riva Ave to Farrington Lake, North Brunswick Twp. (2)
Lake Papaianni—Edison Twp. (0)
Lawrence Brook—Dam at Davidson’s Mill Pond to 2nd RR bridge (Raritan Railroad) below Main St., Milltown Borough, excluding Farrington Lake from Church Lane to Farrington Dam (4)
Manalapan Lake—Monroe Twp. (3)
Roosevelt Park Pond—Edison Twp. (3)
Echo Lake—Howell Twp. (3)
Englishtown Mill Pond (aka Weamaconk Lake)—Englishtown Borough (3)
Franklin Lake—West Long Branch Borough (3)
Garvey’s Pond—Middletown Twp. (3)
Hockhockson Brook—Rt. 18, Colts Neck Twp. to
Garden State Parkway bridge (northbound), Tinton Falls Borough (5)
Holmdel Park Pond—Holmdel Twp. (3)
Mac’s Pond—Manasquan Borough (0)
Mingamahone Brook—Birdsall Rd. to Manasquan River, Howell Twp. (5)
Mohawk Pond—Red Bank Borough (4)
Shark River—Rt. 33, Wall Twp., to Remsen Mill Rd., Neptune/Wall Twp. (5)
Spring Lake—Spring Lake Borough (3)
Topanemus Lake—Freehold Twp. (3)
Yellow Brook—Heyers Mill Rd. to Muhlenbrink Rd., Colts Neck Twp. (2)
Beaver Brook—Rockaway Twp./Borough, entire length (3)
Black River—Route 206 Chester, to the posted Black River Fish and Game club property at the lower end of Hacklebarney State Park (6)
Burnham Park Ponds (Upper and Lower)—Town of Morristown (4)
Drakes Brook—Mt. Olive/Roxbury Twps., entire length (3)
Hibernia Brook—Rockaway Twp., entire length (5)
India Brook—Mountainside Ave. to Rt. 24, Mendham Borough (5)
Lake Hopatcong—Hopatcong/Jefferson/Mt. Arlington/Roxbury (3)
Lake Musconetcong—Netcong Borough/Roxbury Twp./Stanhope Borough (3)
Mt. Hope Pond—Rockaway Twp. (3)
Passaic River—Black Brook confluence to Rt. 24,
Chatham Borough (4)
Pequannock River—(see Passaic Co.)
Pompton River—(see Passaic Co.)
Russia Brook—Ridge Rd. to Lake Swannanoa, Jefferson Twp. (2)
Speedwell Lake—Town of Morristown (4)
Whippany River—Tingley Rd., Morris Twp. to Ridgedale Ave., Town of Morristown (2)
Lake Shenandoah—Ocean Co. Park, Lakewood Twp. (3)
Pohatcong Lake—Borough of Tuckerton (4)
Prospertown Lake—Jackson Twp. (3)
Barbour Pond—Woodland Park Borough (3)
Clinton Reservoir—Newark Watershed, West Milford Twp. (3)
Green Turtle Lake—Long Pond Ironworks State Park, West Milford Twp. (3)
Oldham Pond—North Haledon Borough (3)
Pequannock River—Rt. 23, Smith Mills to Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike, Pompton Lakes/Riverdale Boroughs (6)
Pompton River—confluence with Ramapo River to NY Susquehanna R.R. bridge, Wayne Twp. (4)
Ramapo River—Pompton Lake dam to confluence with Pompton River
Ringwood Brook—State line to Sally’s Pond, Ringwood State Park, Ringwood Borough (5)
Sheppard Lake—Ringwood State Park, Ringwood Borough (3)
Harrisonville Lake—Pilesgrove/South Harrison Twps. (3)
Maurice River—Willow Grove Lake dam to Sherman Ave., Vineland (4)
Schadler’s Sand Wash Pond—Carneys Point Twp. (3)
Lamington River—Rt. 523 (Lamington Rd.) Bedminster Twp. to Raritan River N. Br. (4)
Middle Brook, E/Br.—Bridgewater/Warren Twps., entire length (2)
Passaic River—(See Morris Co.)
Peapack Brook—Peapack-Gladstone Borough, entire length (5)
Raritan River—confluence of Raritan River N. Br.
and S. Br. to Rt. 206, Hillsborough Twp./Somerville Borough (4)
Rock Brook—Hillsborough/Montgomery Twps., entire length (1)
Spooky Brook Park Pond—Franklin Twp. (0)
Alm’s House Pond—Frankford Twp. (3)
Andover Junction Brook—Andover Borough, entire length (2)
Big Flat Brook, Upper—Sawmill Pond, High Point State Park, Montague Twp. to 100 ft. above Crigger Rd., Stokes State Forest, Sandyston Twp. (4)
Blue Mountain Lake—Delaware Water Gap Nat’l Recreation Area, Walpack Twp. (3)
Clove Brook—source to Clove Acres Lake, Wantage Twp. (5)
Culver’s Creek—Frankford Twp., entire length (5)
Dry Brook—Branchville, Borough/Frankford Twp., entire length (3)
Franklin Pond Creek—Hamburg Mtn. WMA, Hardyston Twp/Franklin Borough, entire length (5)
Glenwood Brook—Glenwood Lake dam to state line (2)
Lake Aeroflex—Andover Borough (3)
Lake Hopatcong—Hopatcong/Mt Arlington Boroughs, Jefferson/Roxbury Twps. (3)
Lake Musconetcong—Netcong/Stanhope Boroughs/Roxbury Twp. (3)
Lake Ocquittunk—Stokes State Forest, Sandyston Twp. (3)
Little Flat Brook—Sandyston Twp., entire length (5)
Little Swartswood Lake—Hampton Twp. (3)
Lubbers Run—Byram Twp., entire length (5)
Neldon Brook—Stillwater Twp., entire length (2)
Papakating Creek—George Hill Rd., Frankford Twp. to Rt. 565, Lewisburg (2)
Papakating Creek, W/Br.—Wantage Twp., entire length (2)
Pond Brook—Stillwater Twp., entire length (5)
Sawmill Pond—High Point State Park, Montague Twp. (3)
Silver Lake—Hamburg Mountain WMA, Hardyston Twp. (0)
Stony Lake—Stokes State Forest, Sandyston Twp. (3)
Swartswood Lake—Stillwater Twp. (3)
Wallkill River—Lake Mohawk Dam to Route 23, Hardyston Twp. (4-5)
Wawayanda Creek—Vernon Twp., entire length (5)
Wawayanda Lake—Vernon Twp. (3)
Green Brook—Rt. 527, Berkeley Heights Twp. to Rt. 22, Scotch Plains Twp. (2)
Lower Echo Lake—Mountainside Borough (3)
Milton Lake—Rahway (4)
Nomahegan Park Lake—Cranford Twp. (0)
Passaic River—(See Morris Co.)
Rahway River—I-78 bridge, Springfield to Lawrence St. (Route 514), Rahway (4)
Seeleys Pond—Berkeley Heights Twp. (3)
Warinanco Park Lake—Roselle Borough (0)
Beaver Brook—Silver Lake Dam to Pequest River, White Twp. (4)
Blair Creek—Bass Lake dam, Hardwick Twp. to Blair Lake, Blairstown Twp. (2)
Blair Lake—Blairstown Twp. (3)
Brookaloo Swamp—Hope Twp., entire length (2)
Buckhorn Creek—Harmony Twp., entire length (2)
Columbia Lake—Knowlton Twp. (3)
Furnace Brook—Oxford Twp., entire length (2)
Furnace Lake—Oxford Twp. (3)
Honey Run— Knowlton-Hope township line to Beaver Brook, Hope Twp. (2)
Jacksonburg Creek—Blairstown Twp., entire length (2)
Lopatcong Creek—Rt. 519 Harmony Twp., to
South Main St., Phillipsburg (5)
Merrill Creek Reservoir—Harmony Twp. (1)
Mountain Lake—Liberty Twp. (0)
Pohatcong Creek—source to Rt. 31, Washington Twp. (2)
Pophandusing Creek—White Twp., entire length (2)
White Lake—Hardwick Twp. (3)
Opening Day of Trout Season
April 6, 2019
April 11, 2020 April 10, 2021