By Desiree Taylor
Anglers get ready. Trout season starts Saturday. And chances are you’ll find plenty of them in a river, stream or pond near you. That’s because more than 180,000 hatchery-raised trout have been released into nearly 200 water bodies across the state. It’s part of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s stocking program. The Pequest Trout Hatchery program in Warren County raises more than 600,000 trout every year.
The average size of the trout this year is about 11 inches. But the stocking program also includes about 5,000 or 6,000 large breeder fish. There are restrictions. Anglers are permitted to keep six trout per day, however there are some areas that are catch and release only. If you plan to fish for trout, you’ll have to spend a total of about $33 to purchase a fishing license and a trout stamp. The fishing license helps to pay for the century old hatchery program as well as federal funds.
Fishing isn’t just fun. It’s also good for the state economy, says Jim Sciascia of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. All total, fishing and hunting contributes to about $2 billion to the state economy according to Sciascia. There are about 190,000 people in the state who will likely buy a license. That translates into millions of expenditures for equipment, bait and overnight stays.
You can get a license online or at one of several hundred locations across the state. The sites are posted on the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s website as well as a guide listing the best places to fish.