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2018 Spring Trout Fishing Information

Link to License Website

2018 Weekly Stocking Schedules
2018 Trout Allocations by Water and Day Stocked
2018 Bonus Broodstock Program
Fishing Access to Trout Stocked Waters by County
Fishing Access to Trout Stocked Waters by Name
Trout Fishing Facts & Information (pdf, 31kb)
2018 Trout Regulations
(pdf, 215kb)
2018 Trout Stocking Meeting Information
Outdoors with Andre: Raising and stocking a half million trout ( video)


Each spring, approximately 570,000 rainbow trout raised at the Pequest Trout Hatchery are stocked into the state's streams, ponds, and lakes. Nearly 1/3 of these trout, 184,140, will await anglers on April 7 when the season opens. The majority of trout being stocked will average 10˝ inches but large breeders, measuring 14 - 23" and weighing up to 7 pounds are also distributed in the early weeks of the season.

The state's fourteen major trout streams are stocked every week following Opening Day and are closed to fishing from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of stocking to allow the trout a chance to disperse. All other waters are open to fishing on stocking days, following opening day, with most stocked at least three times. Since every county has waters that are stocked with trout, trout fishing opportunities are never too far away.

Angler with rainbow trout breeder
Giant breeders are among the Rainbow Trout stocked each spring.
Click to enlarge

There are some significant changes in trout regulations for 2018, including those for wild trout. These changes include:

  • In-Season Stocking Closures Removed for Black and Walkill Rivers
    Anglers may now fish these streams immediately on the days they are stocked after opening day.
  • Trout Stocking Discontinued on Three Waterbodies
    Beaver Brook (Hunterdon), Rockaway Creek, S. Br. (Hunterdon), and Trout Brook (Sussex)—will no longer be stocked with trout. These waterbodies have reproducing brown trout populations. Beaver Brook, which has a more robust brown trout population than the other two streams, will be regulated as a Wild Trout Stream.
  • Hook Restrictions for Catch and Release Areas and designated Wild Trout Streams
    Lures used when trout fishing in the state’s two designated Catch and Release Only areas may have no more than three hook points, all of which must be barbless. These areas are limited to the use of artificial lures and flies only.
  • Trout Stocking Discontinued on Uppermost Section of the Raritan River South Branch
    The uppermost section of the Raritan River S. Br., from Flanders-Drakestown Road downstream to the Bartley Wildlife Management Area, will no longer be stocked with trout. The remaining section of the river, from the dam 200 feet above Schooleys Mtn. Rd. downstream to the confluence with the N. Br., will continue to be stocked. The discontinued section will now be managed as a Wild Trout Stream. See map.
  • Claremont TCA Is Now Part of Raritan River S. Br. Wild Trout Stream Section
    The Claremont Stretch will no longer be regulated as a Year-Round Trout Conservation Area. The minimum legal size decreases from 15 to 9 inches, along with a creel increase to two per day. See map.
  • Trout Stocking on Rahway River Extended an Additional Two Miles Downstream
    Trout stocking has been extended two miles, from St. Georges Ave. to Lawrence St. in Rahway. This section offers great angler access along the Rahway River Park greenway.
  • Catch and Release Only for Brook Trout Within the Brook Trout Conservation Zone
    Brook Trout caught within the Brook Trout Conservation Zone (delineated by I-287 to the east, Route 202 to the south, the New York state border and up to — but not including — the Delaware River), must be released immediately, unharmed.
  • New Wild Trout Stream and Trout-Stocked Streams—Wild Brown Trout Managed Categories, and Other WTS Changes
Consult the 2018 Freshwater Fishing Digest (pages 6-8) for details on these and other important changes.


Ten Bonus Broodstock Lakes and the breeder stocking programs provide plenty of trophy size fish within a short drive from anywhere in the state. The Bonus Broodstock Lakes generally receive 30 - 50 extra large trout.

1000 trout have been jaw-tagged for the Hook-a-Winner program. Anglers who catch a tagged trout can claim their HAW prize (a certificate and patch) by contacting the Pequest Trout Hatchery at 908-637-4173 ext. 113.

QR Codes on trout stocking regulations signs bring up the entire spring stocking schedule with all seven weeks of stocking following Opening Day on April 7. The schedule includes day of the week and the number of trout stocked. This feature can guide anglers to other fishing opportunities throughout the state right from their favorite fishing spot.

The Buddy License offers a current and a new angler (or two new anglers) reduced price fishing licenses!

Happy young angler
Click to enlarge
Share opening day with a youngster.
Brown and Brook Trout are still available, and new regulations are in place to keep it that way (see pages 6-8 in the 2018 Freshwater Fishing Digest). Waterbodies such as the South Branch Raritan River, Pequannock River and Big Flat Brook, (to name a few) have naturally reproducing trout in them that will surprise and delight many lucky anglers with their beautiful markings and coloration.

Anglers should be aware that most trout-stocked waters are closed to fishing during the 3 weeks leading up to Opening Day (March 19 - April 7, 2018 at 8 a.m.). There are several waters that remain open for catch-and-release trout fishing: Lake Hopatcong (Morris/Sussex), Mountain Lake (Warren), Prospertown Lake (Ocean), Lake Shenandoah (Ocean), Swartswood Lake (Sussex), and the section of Lawrence Brook from Davidsons Mill Rd. to Farrington Lake dam are open year round to fishing.

Catch and Release Only, Seasonal, and Year-Round Trout Conservation Areas and designated Holdover Trout Lakes are also open to fishing. However, trout caught in any of these waters during this period must be released immediately. Note that, fishing is not permitted on Seasonal Trout Conservation Areas from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. on April 7, 2018. Trout can be harvested from the state's two Trophy Trout Lakes, Merrill Creek and Round Valley Reservoirs. Be sure to check the Freshwater Digest for regulations pertaining to these waters.

Don't forget that a fishing license and trout stamp are required to fish for trout if you are 16 years or older. Children under 16 and New Jersey residents 70 years and older can fish without a license. Licenses and stamps may be obtained through one of the many license agents statewide, or online.


3/15/18 - The following TCAs will be stocked on Monday, March 19: Point Mountain, Pequannock River, Ken Lockwood Gorge, Toms River and Pequest River. The road in KLG remains closed to vehicles due to icy conditions and safety concerns.

Any deviations from the stocking schedule will be noted here, on the 2018 Spring Stocking Schedules page and on the Trout Hotline (609-633-6765).

Back to Trout Fishing in New Jersey

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Last Updated: March 9, 2018