New Jersey may surprise some as a fishing vacation destination, but never forget its abundant coastline, and inland trout! The garden state has over a hundred miles of coastline and many more miles of bay. Trout are important sports fish in the state, but they are also home to striped bass, walleye and muskellunge.
Over the past three quarters of a century New Jersey has been participating in a conservation effort that has re-established many species within its waters. The state stocks fish regularly – in some waterways five times a year!
The trout is arguably the state’s most popular inland species. They are heavily stocked with new waterways added to the roster every year. New Jersey engages in a program called Hook-a-Winner, which tags some trout and offers recognition to those who catch one.
New Jersey is considered by many to be one of the east coast’s great trout fishing options. The state boasts two trophy lakes – The Merrill Creek Reservoir and Round Valley Reservoir. Massive sized rainbow, lake, and brown trout, along with hybrids, roam this waters.
Wild streams are less plentiful, but can also be found within state in addition to those stocked with game. They are gems if you can find them; Try the Raritan River and any waterways it flows into.
Beautifully colored walleye can be found in New Jersey, too. Cast into Greenwood Lake, Monksville Reservoir, or the Delaware River (location of the state record for walleye). These locations are also excellent for shad and muskellunge fishing. If salmon are your preference stocked, landlocked Atlantic salmon can be found in Lake Aeroflex and Lake Wawayanda during the summer and fall months.
Bass are popular all over the east coast and New Jersey is hardly an exception. The state boasts several types, such as striped bass, small and largemouth. Round Valley Reservoir is the site of the state’s record smallmouth.
Interestingly, you can also find a hybrid of striped and white bass within New Jersey. Productive hybrid locations include Lake Hopatcong and the Spruce Run Reservoir. These fish are true fighters! Manasquan Reservoir also has the hybrid striped bass along with a plethora of different types of fish. You can catch an extra striped bass with a bonus permit, which is part of the state’s bass management.
For saltwater fishermen, New Jersey’s fluke fishing is not to be missed! The Sandy Hook bay is a notable location to find this type of flounder. Off the coast they can be found along Asbury Park and Long Beach Island. Or drop your boat near Raritan Bay for some primer fluke fishing. Also Atlantic cod, tuna, sheepshead, marlin, swordfish, and weakfish are teaming within the ocean’s waters off Jersey’s coast!
State fishing regulations apply to all species, except trout which have more distinct regulations. Many environments only allow for artificial lures. All regulations should be noted by location and time of year before setting out to fish. A trout stamp is a necessary addendum to a fishing license for trout anglers.
Anyone sixteen or older requires a fishing license, unless on their own land. New Jersey also allows for bow and arrow fishing. To apply for a residential license you must live within state for six months before applying. Annual licenses are available, although non-residential vacationers can buy a two day or seven day recreational fishing license. Two non-licensed fishing days occur every year in early June, so let your line out then!
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.