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New Jersey

Freshwater Fishing


Welcome to 2022-23 New Jersey Freshwater Fishing

2022 New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Digest Cover
Photo of Director of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

In search of awesome fishing action? You’ve come to the right state. The streams, rivers and lakes of New Jersey provide anglers the opportunity to get outdoors and discover great fishing close to home. As always, our Digest is packed with helpful tips and information to keep your fishing experience safe, legal and enjoyable.

I’m excited to say that in 2021, the Division of Fish and Wildlife stocked more than 623,000 rainbow trout in waters across the state from our Pequest Hatchery where staff are on-track for another great year of trout production in 2022. After two years of a modified stocking schedule due to COVID, our plan for 2022 is to return to a normal stocking schedule with a full preseason closure of stocked waters (closed to all fishing March 21 to April 9 at 8 a.m.) and a return to weekly, in-season closures.

Our Hackettstown Hatchery celebrates its 110th anniversary this year. In 2021, Hackettstown staff stocked 3.2 million warmwater fish. I can’t wait to see what they are able to accomplish for 2022. Read more about the Hackettstown Hatchery’s rich history and successes in the article Hackettstown 110th Anniversary.

With all the fish stocked in New Jersey’s waters, this year, I encourage you to introduce someone to fishing and share the experience of the catch. The new-angler experience can be both fun and affordable with our fishing programs. If you are fishing with a child, remember that children under 16 can always fish for free. For those over 16, you can try out fishing on our two free fishing days in 2022 (June 4 and October 22). On these days, you can fish without purchasing a license. New anglers can also take advantage of our buddy license program, which gives two new anglers a nearly 50% discount when they purchase their licenses together. (See the money-saving feature in License Information.) This program is available through our electronic licensing system.

Revenues from your license purchase and fishing and hunting equipment purchases fund wildlife and sportfish conservation that we work so hard to deliver. To see where you fit into the Sport Fish Restoration Program, check out Your License Dollars Make a Difference which shows how anglers and boaters contribute millions of dollars each year to fisheries management and angler access in the state.

In 2022, the Division of Fish and Wildlife celebrates its 130th anniversary! Our dedicated team of conservation professionals are proud to work for an agency that has delivered conservation on behalf of the people of New Jersey for so many years. We truly couldn’t have done it without your support.

Our new Wildlife Habitat Supporter program provides an excellent opportunity for nature enthusiasts, both non-license buyers and license buyers, to contribute toward the conservation and management of our growing wildlife management area system, which now totals over 360,000 acres.

Your donation helps us continue to manage and restore fish and wildlife habitat, improve public access, enforce fishing regulations and offer educational programs. Those who contribute $25 or more receive the beautiful, first-edition collectible car decal shown in Support Wildlife Habitat. As a Wildlife Habitat Supporter, your donation helps us ensure the conservation of natural treasures from the mountain ridges to pinelands to wetlands to the Jersey shore.

Of the 360,000 acres in the system of wildlife management areas, do you find you often go to the most familiar and dependable spots? If you’re ready to add some new adventures at different locations or to fish for new species, we have the tool for you. Our Great Fishing Close to Home in New Jersey app provides an interactive experience with detailed information on waterbodies, fish species and access points across the state (NJFishandWildlife.com/fishplc.htm). Locating a new a fishing spot has never been easier. Put it on your to-do list for 2022 — and send us a photo of what you catch to NJDFWPhotos@dep.nj.gov.

I’m excited for anyone who is reading this Digest because, most likely, that means you are getting ready to go fishing. Somewhere out there is a big, hungry fish waiting for you. Get outside and go find it!