The Pequest Trout Hatchery trucks have been rolling since March 19, and when they conclude deliveries to 171 lakes, ponds, streams and rivers from High Point State Park (Saw Mill Lake) to nearly Cape May Point (Ponderlodge Pond in Villas) and 169 other swims in between, 184,360 rainbow trout averaging 10.5-11 inches will have been stocked for the long awaited April 6 “Opening Day” of the New Jersey statewide trout season.

Included in every respective pre-opening day load is a two percent dollop of 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 year old spent breeders ranging anywhere from three to seven pounds. There is somewhere in the vicinity of 7,000 of these jumbos set to go out, so Opening Day and the following weeks can provide the trout of a lifetime.

This is especially evident in the 10 swims included in the wildly popular “Bonus Brood Stock Program, where 10 select waters (on a rotating basis) are graced with extra buster breeders. Thirty to 50 will be the bonus pulse predicated on the venue size.

Tom P.
Tom P.

When the in-season stocking concludes the early afternoon of Friday, May 24, the baseline tally will stand at 569,740 rainbows released. However, if the pattern of producing excess trout continues, there will be more ‘bows available for stocking, these being dosed during weeks five (May 6-10) and seven (May 20-24). In ‘23, an additional 33,785 trout were stocked above the aforementioned baseline count.

The daily limit through Memorial Day is six trout at a nine-inch minimum length. From then on the limit is four until the April 5, 2025 statewide opener.

All information regarding the 2024 spring trout season stocking, including all waters, numbers of trout stocked and day stocked, in addition to the 10 Bonus Broodstock lakes, is available at The three Bonus Broodstock lakes in south Jersey include Crystal Lake (Burlington County), Grenloch Lake (Gloucester County) and South Vineland Park Pond (Cumberland County).

Tom P.
Tom P.

A resident NJ freshwater fishing license is $22.50 for those 16-64 years of age; $12.50 for seniors 65-69, and over 70 it’s free. The resident trout stamp (ages 16-69) is $10.50; no charge for those over 70.

Family Fishing Fun: The free Second Annual Empire Fishing & Tackle “Opening Day Kids Trout Derby” in Tuckerton (Ocean County) will be running 8am-2pm Saturday at the nearly next door Pohatcong Lake along Route 9 southbound in to which 640 trout, including some heavyweight breeders, will be state-stocked a couple of days prior for the season opener. They’ll be hungry, for sure! Volunteers from local fishing clubs will be on hand to offer assistance and trout-catching advice. Registration is required. There will be loads of prizes, a raffle (starting at 2:30pm), and copious amounts of freshly grilled ‘dawgs. “It’s about community and families. Kids going fishing. It doesn’t get any better,” enthused EF&T proprietor Chris Topinka. Last year’s event saw a huge turnout that will no doubt be even bigger this Saturday. Call 609-857-5291 for the finny skinny.

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Gallery Credit: Kylie Moore

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

Gallery Credit: Elena Kadvany

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