Fall trout-stocking during the second and third weeks in October has become of the most popular stocking programs offered by Fish and Wildlife, particularly since 2006 when the Division began stocking only larger two-year old trout. Anglers enjoy the additional fish provided by the Division as well as the opportunity to fish the waters of New Jersey during one of the most beautiful times of year. The big fish, cool water, great weather and spectacular scenery combined to make the fall season what many consider to be New Jersey’s premium trout fishing season.
Fall stocking began Tuesday, October 8 in 2019 and concludes on Wednesday, October 16. All trout are raised at the division’s Pequest Trout Hatchery and measure approximately 14″ to 18″ in length. Any trout not caught during the fall will also be available all winter long for anglers to enjoy. Many are even caught the following spring.
Waters stocked during the first week of fall stocking are the 16 large streams and rivers in northern and coastal areas, such as the Big Flatbook, Pequest River, South Branch Raritan River, Musconetcong River, and the Manasquan and Toms Rivers. During the second week, 20 ponds and lakes in the central and southern portions of the state are stocked. All fall-stocked waters may be fished as soon as they are stocked (no “closed waters” during fall stocking).
The complete list of fall-stocked waters and the stocking schedule is available at www.njfishandwildlife.com/flstk.htm or through the Trout Stocking Hotline 609-633-6765. If you need help finding one of these trout-stocked waters, refer to the list of fishing access locations linked below for directions.
Other waters offer fine trout fishing opportunities even though they are not stocked in the fall. The Holdover Trout Lakes, like Lake Aeroflex and Lake Wawayanda, provide year round trout fishing opportunities. Those waters, along with Tilcon Lake in Allamuchy Mountain State Park, are included in the landlocked salmon stocking program, now in its 13th year. All three yield harvestable size salmon (12 inches).
Our two Trophy Trout Lakes, Round Valley and Merrill Creek Reservoirs, are also great trout fishing destinations. Shoreline fishing on Round Valley is particularly popular in the fall, as big rainbows cruise the shallows (See the current Freshwater Digest for special area regulations.) Also, sea run brown trout begin returning to freshwater in the Manasquan River during the fall and early winter.
Trout fishing will really heat up once fall stocking gets underway. The line-busting, bragging-size trout being stocked in October will test the skills of anglers fishing with lightweight tackle, leaving some anglers with fond memories, to last a lifetime, about the big one that got away. Whether you chose to fish for stocked or wild trout, there are plenty of trout-fishing opportunities in the Garden State. So take the time from your busy schedules to enjoy trout fishing during the splendor of fall.