navigation bar
  New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife
njdep home f&w home

Merrill Creek Reservoir Lake Trout Update

December 12, 2012

Hearty Lake Trout Fishing Available at Merrill Creek and Round Valley Reservoirs -, 5/20/13
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced that fish survey data from Merrill Creek Reservoir suggests that it may no longer be necessary to stock lake trout since there may be enough natural reproduction to sustain the fishery without supplemental stocking. This year's stocking in early December of 1,330 yearlings averaging nine inches is 60% fewer than the normal allocation. Lake trout stocking will be discontinued after this year and the fishery will be monitored to assess the population's ability to sustain itself through natural reproduction.

Lakers have been stocked annually in this 650-acre reservoir since 1988, when it filled with water following construction. Since 1989, each year class of lake trout stocked have been marked by clipping a specific fin prior to stocking. The fin clip, which rotates among five possible fins, aids biologists in tracking the growth of individual year classes of fish. The absence of a fin clip can also aid in distinguishing hatchery-reared lakers from wild, naturally reproduced ones.

Fish survey data from recent years shows an increasing prevalence of lake trout that do not have an identifying fin clip. These fish are too small to be attributed to the first year class of fish stocked in 1988 (that were not fin-clipped) indicating they are the product of natural reproduction.

Biologist with lake trout
Jim Mershon, Merrill Creek Reservoir On-site Coordinator, with lake trout
Photo by Charles Dix, Normandeau Associates
Click to enlarge

This year's annual survey of the Merrill Creek Reservoir lake trout fishery was completed by the owner's aquatic consultant in early December. Gill nets were used to capture lake trout of varying size and age. A total of 35 lake trout were captured this year and ranged from 10.8 - 30.7 inches, with the largest weighing 11.4 pounds.

Located in Warren County, Merrill Creek Reservoir is one of two reservoirs statewide that have reproducing lake trout populations. The reservoir is owned by the Merrill Creek Owners Group, and the fishery is managed cooperatively with the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

  Adobe Acrobat Some files on this site require adobe acrobat pdf reader to view. download the free pdf reader  
bottom footer contact dep privacy notice legal statement accessibility statement nj home nj home citizen business government services a to z departments dep home

division of fish & wildlife: home | links | contact f&w
department: njdep home | about dep | index by topic | programs/units | dep online
statewide: njhome | citizen | business | government | services A to Z | departments | search

Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2013
Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: May 28, 2013