Wildlife Management Areas
New Jersey Freshwater Fishing
Regulations for use of wildlife management areas (WMAs) are established by the Division of Fish and Wildlife with penalties of not less than $50 nor more than $1,500. A second violation of any WMA regulation will result in a five-year loss of all sporting licenses and privileges.
Information on these regulations and permit applications may be obtained by writing to New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, MC501-03, P.O. Box 420, Trenton, NJ 08625-0420.
Fish and Wildlife may revoke any permit or other authorization issued for violation or due cause.
The following are prohibited: camping, swimming, picnicking, geocaching, dumping, cutting or damaging vegetation, removing timber or firewood, alcoholic beverages and fires.
Wildlife Management Areas are closed from
9 p.m. until 5 a.m. unless engaged in lawful hunting, fishing or trapping activities.
Special permission may be granted for Fish and Wildlife approved activities.
No person shall operate an unregistered vehicle on roads under the control of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. All motor vehicles are restricted to established public roads and parking areas.
The use of dog sleds and dog carts, off-road vehicles, ATVs, trailbikes or snowmobiles is prohibited on all wildlife management areas unless authorized by Fish and Wildlife.
Only archery, shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, muzzleloading rifle and .17 plus .22 caliber rimfire rifle shooting is allowed in designated hunter training ranges according to posted regulations at the training area. Other target practice is allowed only with permission from the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Permits for use of wildlife management areas for running of field trials may be granted by Fish and Wildlife. Apply for a permit by calling (609) 259-2132.
Dog Training and Exercising
Dogs may be exercised or trained on any WMA from Sept. 1 to April 30. All dogs must be properly licensed. Select WMAs with designated dog training areas also permit dogs to be exercised or trained from May 1 to Aug. 31. For more information, see the New Jersey Hunting and Trapping Digest or call (609)984-0547.
Only electric motors are allowed on freshwater lakes and ponds owned by New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife with the exception of Union Lake, where outboard motors not exceeding 10 hp. may be used. On Prospertown Lake, only manually operated boats and canoes are allowed.
Horseback riding is allowed on designated WMAs only by permit from the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Apply online at www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com. Horseback riding permits should be displayed on outer clothing while riding. For more information on horseback riding permits, call (609) 259-2132.
Any club or organization that would like to use a New Jersey wildlife management area for fishing tournaments must apply for and secure a permit from Fish and Wildlife. No fee is required. Applications will be accepted in January at Fish and Wildlife’s Central Region Office, One Eldridge Rd., Robbinsville, NJ 08691 at (609) 259-6964.
Boat Ramp Maintenance Permit
Any vehicle used to transport or launch a vessel or water conveyance on the following WMAs must have affixed to the lower corner of the driver’s side rear window a boat ramp maintenance permit, or a photocopy of a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license. Be sure your Conservation ID number is clearly displayed; all other personal information may be blacked out for reasons of privacy.
The boat ramp maintenance permit fee is $15, available from a license agent or at Fish and Wildlife’s Internet sales site, www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com.
Residents 70 years and older are not required to obtain a boat ramp maintenance permit and need no license, but must affix to their window proof of age, such as a former license displaying your date of birth.
- Round Valley Angler Access
- Dennis Creek
- Mad Horse Creek
- Union Lake
- Menantico Ponds
- Prospertown Lake
Accessible Fishing Sites For people with disabilities, visit: NJFishandWildlife.com/sites.htm
An Accessible Fishing Sites list is available to assist anglers whose mobility is impaired.
All sites are wheelchair-accessible except for the Musconetcong River in Morris County, where vehicle access is to the shoreline.
Create Your Own WMA Map New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a Web-based tool called NJ-GeoWeb. Those with Internet access can create maps for any Wildlife Management Area. NJ-GeoWeb provides a wealth of other environmental information, too!
This interactive program is updated on a regular basis so most of the latest information is available.
To access NJ-GeoWeb, go to the DEP’s website at www.state.nj.us/dep/gis/geowebsplash.htm. Click on “Launch NJ – GeoWeb, then GeoWeb Profile.
Those without Internet access can request a specific wildlife management area by calling (609) 984-0547.
Take me fishing!
The memories will last a lifetime.
June 10 and Oct. 21, 2017
NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife has split the Free Fishing Days. The first will be held on June 10, 2017 during the summer as is traditional. This day is part of the National Fishing and Boating Week which highlights the importance of recreational boating and fishing to enhance peoples’ quality of life and to preserve our country’s natural beauty. The second Free Fishing Day will occur after fall trout stocking on October 21, 2017 to bring attention to this great fishing opportunity. On these two days, residents and non-residents may fish New Jersey’s public fresh waters without a license or trout stamp. All other regulations, including size and daily catch limits, remain in effect.
Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife
April 1 and 2, 2017
10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center
- Wildlife Artists, Conservation Groups, Taxidermists, Guides and Vendors!
- Kids can fish in our famous education pond! Kids Activities • And More!
Pequest is located on Rt. 46, nine miles west of Hackettstown. For information call (908) 637-4125 or go to NJFishandWildlife.com.
Trout in the Classroom (TIC)
Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a science-based program that teaches children the importance of coldwater conservation through a hands-on learning approach. Over 14,000 New Jersey students participate in the TIC program annually.
Schools receive trout eggs in October from our Pequest Trout Hatchery. Students hatch and raise the trout, monitor water quality, learn fish biology, anatomy and much more as part of this cross-curricular, hands-on format. At the end of the school year students release their fish into approved streams.
Trout in the Classroom is an exciting, inexpensive program enlivening year-round curricula nationwide. For more information about the TIC program, visit NJTroutInTheClassroom.org.
13th Annual Pequest
July 22, 2017
New Jersey Teen Angler Chapters contact:
- Robert Konya
Go to www.teenanglers.org to register and for more details!
WILD Outdoor Expo
Sept. 9 & 10, 2017
See ad on page 35.
Display Your License: It’s the Law!Show your support of Fish and Wildlife activities and programs.
Hunter Education Program Continue the Tradition!
Become an instructor with Fish and Wildlife’s Hunter Education Program.
Our Hunter Education Unit is looking for New Jersey’s best sportsmen and sportswomen to become instructors at locations where students take the test and field course after first having completed the home study portion.
A minimum of six weekend days each year are required.
Call (856) 629-0552
Leave your name and address to receive an application.
Or visit our website: NJFishandWildlife.com
Top 10 Lures for Largemouth BassZ Man Chatterbait – black and blue or white
- 3/8 oz. black and blue jig – any brand
- Spro Frog – black or green
- 3/8 oz. Buzzbait – black or white
- 3/8 oz. spinnerbait – white
- 5-inch Yamamoto Senko – black and blue or green pumpkin, rigged weightless
- 1/8 oz. Shakey Head – 5-inch Zoom Finesse worm (black or green pumpkin)
- ½ oz. Strike King Red Eye Shad – red or shad color
- Whopper Plopper or Zara Spook
- 3/16 or ¼ oz. Drop Shot – Jackall Crosstail shad or Roboworm
- Jackall Squad Minnow (suspending jerkbait) – shad color
SuccessThroughSimplicityBy Christopher Smith, Principal Fisheries BiologistIntroduced to fishing at an early age by my dad, I grew up targeting mostly saltwater species including striped bass, bluefish, weakfish and flounder. I didn’t catch my first largemouth bass until I was 10 years old—on a purple Mann’s Jelly Worm. That fish weighed 4.5 pounds. Immediately, I was “hooked” on bass fishing. I had much success using that little worm. It worked nearly everywhere in South Jersey.
Fast forward about 30 years and many, many fishing tournaments later, the bass fishing obsession still has a grip on me. I’ve acquired quite the collection of rods, reels and tackle, most of which goes unused. It took a while but I finally realized that fishing success does not come from how much stuff you have. Having the right lures and using them at the right time are the keys to success. Understanding bass behavior during a given season, along with knowledge of the primary habitat within the waterbody you intend to fish, are also necessary before you tie on the first lure. Tackle Tips for Each Season
Largemouth bass behavior changes with the seasons. Some lures are particularly effective during certain times of year and will work at most waterbodies. Two or three colors of each lure is all that’s necessary for successful bass fishing in most New Jersey waters.
Winter is the most overlooked season to target bass. Bass do not become dormant during the winter; they feed all winter long. This is often the best time of year to catch a trophy-sized largemouth. Mild winters when lakes are not ice covered are great times to go fishing. Frequently, bass feed actively on shad, alewives and golden shiners during the winter. Jerkbaits that suspend 3 to 4 feet plus ¼ oz. and ½ oz. rattle traps that mimic these forage fish are very effective during the colder months. When bass are not actively feeding, a small black-and-blue or green pumpkin finesse jig dragged along the bottom is a best bet.
Spring can be the most difficult time to catch bass due to fluctuating water temperatures and spawning activities. Rapidly changing water temperature initiates bass migration to shallow water in preparation for the spawn. Fishing may become difficult if the water warms too quickly. Bass are then focused on spawning and have little interest in feeding.
During the pre-spawn period (March and early April) red crawfish or shad-patterned rattletraps, Z-man chatterbaits (white or black/blue) or soft plastic stick baits like Yamamoto Senkos (green pumpkin or black and blue) work the best. These lures work well fished slowly around shallow submerged vegetation, woody debris, rocks and stumps near where bass will eventually spawn. Once bass begin to spawn, soft plastic creature baits and Yamamoto Senkos in black and blue and green pumpkin are the ticket. Fishing extremely slow is necessary during the spawn.
Summer is one of my favorite seasons for bass fishing. The hot summer sun puts bass in very predictable locations seeking out shade and cooler water. In shallow waters bass will be found on the deeper banks near overhanging branches, downed trees or by spadderdock and lily pads. In deep water bass can be found near standing timber, submerged aquatic vegetation or on main lake points. Dammed impoundments (most of South Jersey waters fall into this category) have feeder creeks that are usually wadeable or navigable with a small boat. These creeks provide both shade and cooler moving water in the summer.
Summer bass like topwater lures (buzzbaits, zara spooks and whopper ploppers) early in the morning and late in the evening. Black or white are usually the best colors. Soft plastic Texas-rigged worms or wacky rigged Senkos, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits are all effective lures during the summer months. Summer bass have the widest diet consuming crayfish, bluegill, perch, golden shiners and shad.
Fall, when waters are cooling down from October to December, is when bass are actively feeding on gizzard shad, alewives and golden shiners. Fast-moving baits such as rattletraps, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits are all very effective when bass are actively feeding. If not actively feeding, Senkos, jigs and suspending jerkbaits can entice a strike.
Year-round bass fishing proves that a simple change in color, or lure type in the same color, can make a huge difference in fishing success—especially when you match bass behavior with their preferred seasonal habitat.