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Trout Fishing

Fishing Regulations New Jersey Freshwater Fishing

Regulations in red are new this year.

General Trout Fishing Regulations

Brook, Brown & Rainbow Trout (and their hybrids and strains)

*ALL BROOK TROUT CAUGHT WITHIN THE BROOK TROUT CONSERVATION ZONE MUST BE IMMEDIATELY RELEASED UNHARMED.
The Conservation Zone includes all waters west of I-287 and north of Rt 202, extending to, but not including the Delaware River.

Season

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Exceptions

January 1–March 18

9 inches

4*

  1. Trout-stocked waters with spring in-season closures are closed to fishing 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on days listed for stocking (See listing below).
  2. Special regulation areas (Catch and Release Areas, Year-Round and Seasonal Trout Conservation Areas, Trophy and Holdover Trout Lakes and Wild Trout Streams).
  3. On lakes Hopatcong, Mountain, Prospertown, Shenandoah, Swartswood and the section of Lawrence Brook from Davidson’s Mill Road bridge to the Church Lane bridge, fishing is permitted during the period March 19–April 7 at 8 a.m. All trout caught during this period must immediately be released.
  4. Greenwood Lake and Delaware River—see separate regulations for
    boundary waters.

March 19–April 7 at 8 a.m.

Fishing prohibited on
trout stocked waters.

Catch and release for trout
in all other waters.

April 7 at 8 a.m.–May 31

9 inches

6*

June 1–Dec. 31

9 inches

4*

Trout Stocked Waters Closed to Fishing on Spring In-season Stocking Dates

*All Brook Trout caught within the BROOK TROUT CONSERVATION ZONE must be released. After opening day, these waters are closed to fishing from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on their designated stocking dates. Closures apply to all tributaries for 100 feet from the main channel. There are no closures for ANY waters in the fall. Trout Stocking Hotline: (609) 633-6765.

Trout Stocked Waters Closed to Fishing (5 a.m. to 5 p.m.) on Spring in-season Stocking Dates

Stocking Dates

Waterbody

County

Location

MONDAYS

April 9, 16, 23, 30
May 7, 14, 21

Manasquan River

Monmouth

Rt. 9 bridge downstream to Allenwood-Lakewood Rd. (Rt. 21), Wall Twp.

Metedeconk River, N/Br.

Ocean

Aldrich Rd. to Ridge Ave., Howell/Lakewood Twps.

Metedeconk River, S/Br.

Ocean

Bennetts Mill dam to twin wooden foot bridge, opposite Lake Park Blvd.
on South Lake Dr., Lakewood Twp.

Rockaway River**

Morris

Longwood Lake dam, Jefferson Twp. to Boonton Reservoir (aka Jersey City Res.), Boonton

Toms River

Ocean

Rt. 528, Jackson Twp., to confluence with Maple Root Branch, and Rt. 70 to Rt. 571, Toms River/Manchester Twps. (Exception: the section regulated as a Year Round Trout Conservation Area; see separate regulation.)

TUESDAYS

April 10, 17, 24
May 1, 8, 15, 22

Pohatcong Creek**

Warren

Rt. 31, Washington Twp. to Delaware River

Raritan River, S/Br.**

Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon

Mill dam located 200 feet upstream from Schooleys Mountain Rd. (Rt. 517), Long Valley to junction with Raritan River N. Br. (Exception: the section regulated as Catch and Release.)

WEDNESDAYS

April 11, 18, 25
May 2, 9, 16, 23

Raritan River, N/Br.**

Somerset

Peapack Rd. bridge in Far Hills Borough/Bedminster Twp. to junction with Raritan River S. Br.

THURSDAYS

April 12, 19, 26
May 3, 10, 17, 24

Paulinskill River, and
E/Br. and W/Br.
**

Sussex, Warren

Limecrest RR spur bridge on E/Br., Sparta Twp., and Warbasse Jct. Rd. (Rt. 663) on W/Br., Lafayette Twp., to Columbia Lake

Ramapo River**

Bergen

State line to Pompton Lake, Oakland (excluding Potash Lake)

FRIDAYS

April 13, 20, 27
May 4, 11, 18, 25

Big Flat/Flat Brook**

Sussex

100 ft. above Crigger Rd., Stokes State Forest, Sandyston Twp. to Delaware River
(Exception: the section regulated as Catch and Release.)

Musconetcong River**

Sussex, Morris, Warren and Hunterdon

Lake Hopatcong dam to Delaware River including all main stem impoundments except for Lake Musconetcong (Exception: the section regulated as a Year Round Trout Conservation Area; see separate regulation.)

Pequest River**

Warren and Sussex

Pequest Rd., Green Twp. to Delaware River (Exception: the section regulated as a Seasonal Trout Conservation Area; see separate regulation.)

Wanaque River**

Passaic

Greenwood Lake dam, West Milford, Twp. to Wanaque Reservoir dam, Wanaque Borough and from Wanaque Ave., Pompton Lakes Borough to Pequannock River, excluding the Wanaque and Monksville reservoirs.

Boundary Waters

Locations

Species

Season

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Delaware River

All trout species

April 14 at 8 a.m.–Oct. 15
(Trout caught at other times must be released immediately.)

No minimum

5

Trout-Stocked Streams — Wild Brown Trout Managed

*ALL BROOK TROUT CAUGHT WITHIN BROOK TROUT CONSERVATION ZONE MUST BE IMMEDIATELY RELEASED UNHARMED.

Waterbody

Season

Species

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Hakihohake Creek** – Little York-Mount Pleasant Rd., Little York Alexandria Twp. to Delaware R.

Lopatcong Creek ** – Rt. 519, Harmony Twp., Warren to Delaware R.

Pophandusing Creek** – White Twp., entire length

Raritan River S. Br.** – Mill dam located 200 feet above Schooley’s Mountain Rd. (Rt 517), Long Valley (Hunterdon), downstream to Lake Solitude dam, excluding Ken Lockwood Gorge (Catch and Release Only)

Saddle River – Lake Street, Upper Saddle River Twp., to West Century Rd., Fairlawn/Paramus Boroughs

Jan. 1–March 18

Rainbow and Brook Trout*

9 inches

4 combined
Only 2 of which may be Brown Trout

Brown Trout

12 inches

March 19–April 7 at 8 a.m.

Fishing prohibited

April 7 at 8 a.m.–May 31

Rainbow and Brook Trout*

9 inches

6 combined
Only 2 of which may be Brown Trout

Brown Trout

12 inches

June 1–Dec. 31

Rainbow and Brook Trout*

9 inches

4 combined
Only 2 of which may be Brown Trout

Brown Trout

12 inches

Trout Conservation Areas (TCAs)

*ALL BROOK TROUT CAUGHT WITHIN BROOK TROUT CONSERVATION ZONE MUST BE IMMEDIATELY RELEASED UNHARMED.

Year Round TCAs

Season

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Restrictions (in effect year round)

Jan. 1–March 18

15 inches

1

  1. Only artificial lures may be used.
  2. Possession or use of bait (live or preserved) or any substance (natural or synthetic) that contains a concentration of bait scent is prohibited.
  3. Fishing is allowed during the spring in-season closures which apply to the river. All trout caught during these periods must be released immediately.

March 19–April 7 at 8 a.m.

Catch and release only

April 7 at 8 a.m.–Dec. 31

15 inches

1 (see #3 at right)

Year Round TCA Waterbody (County)

Driving Directions *

Musconetcong River**—Point Mountain Stretch (Hunterdon/Warren)
Penwell Rd. bridge downstream to Point Mountain Rd. bridge
(approx. 1.2 miles)
Rt. 31 to Rt. 57 E. Upper boundary: turn right on Penwell Rd. Lower boundary: turn right on Point Mountain Rd. Parking areas located near each bridge.
Toms River (Ocean)
End of Riverwood Park (Tom’s River Twp.) downstream to Rt. 571 bridge (approx. 1 mile)
Rt. 195 (Exit 21) to Rts. 527/528 S. (Cedar Swamp Rd./ Veterans Hwy.) to Rt. 527 S. (Whitesville Rd.) to Riverwood Dr. to entrance of Riverview Park.

Seasonal TCAs

Season

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Restrictions

Jan. 1–March 18

15 inches

1

  1. Only artificial lures may be used.
  2. Possession or use of bait (live or preserved) or any substance (natural or
    synthetic) that contains a concentration of bait scent is prohibited.
  3. Pequest River—fishing is not permitted during the first six in-season stocking closure dates. (See Trout Stocked Waters Closed to Fishing on Spring Stocking Dates. Fishing is permitted during the last in-season stocking closure date (May 25), but all trout caught between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. must immediately be released.

March 19–April 7

Catch and release only

April 7 (12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m.)

Fishing prohibited

April 7 at 8 a.m.–May 20
Gear restrictions do not apply

9 inches

6

May 21–Dec. 31

15 inches

1

Seasonal TCA Waterbody (County)

Driving Directions *

Pequannock River** (Morris/Passaic)
Railroad trestle below Appelt Park, Bloomingdale, downstream to Hamburg Turnpike bridge, Pompton Lakes (approx. 1.3 miles)
I-287 (Exit 53). Proceed west on (Paterson) Hamburg Turnpike .34 miles. Right on Brant Ln. Railroad trestle below Appelt Park is the upstream boundary.
Pequest River** (Warren)
Conrail Railroad bridge, located upstream of the Pequest Trout Hatchery Access Road, downstream to Rt. 625 (Pequest Furnace Rd.) bridge (approx. 1.4 miles)
Rt. 31 to Rt. 46 E, approx. 4 mi. to Pequest Trout Hatchery; paved parking lot.

Wild Trout Streams

Native Brook Trout Streams (Brook Trout Dominant)

Species

Minimum Size

Season

Daily Limit

Gear

Brook Trout

Catch & Release

April 7 at 8 a.m. to Sept. 15
Catch and Release at all
other times

2 Brown or Rainbow Trout combined

  • Fishing allowed year-round
  • Artificials only, with no more than 3 hook points in total, all barbless
  • Possession or use of bait, or synthetic bait with bait scent prohibited

Rainbow Trout

No min. size

Brown Trout

No min. size

Wild Trout Streams (Multiple wild trout species present)

Species

Minimum Size

Season

Daily Limit

Gear

Brook Trout

Catch & Release in Zone

April 7 at 8 a.m. to Sept. 15
Catch and Release at all
other times

2 Brown or Rainbow Trout combined

  • Fishing allowed year-round
  • Artificials only, with no more than 3 hook points in total, all barbless
  • Possession or use of bait, or synthetic bait with bait scent prohibited

Rainbow Trout

9”

Brown Trout

9”

Wild Brown Trout Enhancement Streams (Brown Trout dominant, other wild trout species may be present)

Species

Minimum Size

Season

Daily Limit

Gear

Brook Trout

Catch & Release in Zone*

April 7 at 8 a.m. to Sept. 15
Catch and Release at all
other times

2 Brown or Rainbow Trout combined

  • Fishing allowed year-round
  • Artificials only, with no more than 3 hook points in total, all barbless
  • Possession or use of bait, or synthetic bait with bait scent prohibited

Rainbow Trout

9”

Brown Trout

12”

* Saddle River is outside the Brook Trout Conservation Zone therefore a 9 inch limit for brook trout applies.

Catch and Release Areas

Season

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Restrictions

Jan. 1–Dec. 31

Catch and release all trout

  1. All trout must be released immediately and unharmed. A person may not have any trout in their possession.
  2. Only artificial lures and flies may be used.
  3. Barbless hooks only, with no more than a total of three hook points.
  4. Possession or use of bait (live or preserved) or any substance (natural or synthetic) that contains a concentration of bait scent is prohibited.
  5. Fishing is allowed during the spring in-season stocking closures which apply to the rivers.

Catch and Release Waterbody (County)

Driving Directions *

Big Flat / Flat Brook (Sussex)
Rt. 206 bridge downstream to the Roy Bridge on Mountain Rd., a distance of 4.2 miles, including the portion known as the Blewett Tract.
Upper boundary: Rt. 206 bridge, approx. 1.6 miles north of entrance to Stokes State Forest (Coursen Road). Lower boundary: Rt. 206 north, app. 1 mile past Stokes State Forest entrance, turn left on Rt. 560. At Layton bear left on Bevans Rd. (Rt. 640) towards Walpack. Continue south 3.4 miles (NPS Rd 615), left onto Fish and Wildlife Rd. to Roy Bridge.
Raritan S. Br.—Ken Lockwood Gorge (Hunterdon)
Section of S. Br. within the Ken Lockwood Gorge Wildlife Management Area (approx. 2.2 miles).
Ken Lockwood Gorge — Road in gorge is closed to through traffic. Route 31 to Rt. 513. Upper boundary: Turn right at Hoffman’s Crossing Rd., take first right after bridge. Lower boundary: Turn right onto Silverthorne-Cokesbury Rd., turn left after crossing river. Park only in designated areas.

Trout Lakes

Trophy Trout Lakes

Waterbody (County)

Species

Season

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Merrill Creek Reservoir
(Warren)

Brown & Rainbow Trout (and their hybrids) and Landlocked Atlantic Salmon

Open year round

15 inches

2 combined

Lake Trout

Jan. 1–Sept. 15

15 inches

2

Sept. 16–Nov. 30

Catch and release only

Dec. 1–Dec. 31

15 inches

2

Round Valley Reservoir
(Hunterdon)

Brown & Rainbow Trout (and their hybrids) and Landlocked Atlantic Salmon

Open year round

15 inches

2 combined

Lake Trout

Jan. 1–Sept. 15

15 to less than 24 inches
AND
greater than or equal to 24 inches

6
AND
1

Sept. 16–Nov. 30

Catch and release only

Dec. 1–Dec. 31

15 to less than 24 inches
AND
greater than or equal to 24 inches

6
AND
1

Holdover Trout Lakes

Waterbody (County)

Species

Season

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Clinton Reservoir (Passaic)

Lake Aeroflex* (Sussex)

Lake Wawayanda* (Sussex)

Sheppard Lake (Passaic)

Tilcon Lake* (Morris)

White Lake (Warren)

*Waterbodies stocked with salmon

Brown & Rainbow Trout
and their hybrids

Jan. 1–March 18

9 inches

2

March 19–April 7 at 8 a.m.

Catch and release only

April 7 at 8 a.m.–May 31

9 inches

4

June 1–Dec. 31

9 inches

2

Landlocked Atlantic Salmon

Jan. 1–March 18

12 inches

2

March 19–April 7 at 8 a.m.

Catch and release only

April 7 at 8 a.m.–Dec. 31

12 inches

2