navigation bar
  New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife
njdep home f&w home
Facebook Logo Instagram logo

2020 Spring Trout Fishing Information

Link to License Website
Do not congregate in parking lots or on shorelines - maintain proper social distancing behaviors.

Keep parks, WMAs and other areas open by observing proper social distancing!

Subscribe to the Freshwater Fishing E-mail List to receive season updates and information.

2020 Weekly Stocking Schedules
2020 Trout Allocations by Water and Day Stocked
2020 Bonus Broodstock Program
Fishing Access to Trout Stocked Waters by County
Fishing Access to Trout Stocked Waters by Name
2020 Trout Regulations
(pdf, 295kb)

Report American Shad in the Paulins Kill and Musconetcong Rivers
Outdoors with Andre: Raising and stocking a half million trout ( video)


Each spring, approximately 570,000 rainbow trout raised at the Pequest Trout Hatchery are stocked into the state's streams, ponds, and lakes. Nearly 1/3 of these trout, 184,100, await anglers on April 11 when the season opens. The majority of trout being stocked will average 10˝ inches but large breeders, measuring 14 - 23" and weighing up to 7 pounds are also distributed in the early weeks of the season.

The state's fourteen major trout streams are stocked every week following Opening Day and are closed to fishing from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of stocking to allow the trout a chance to disperse. All other waters are open to fishing on stocking days, following opening day, with most stocked at least three times. Since every county has waters that are stocked with trout, trout fishing opportunities are never too far away.

Angler with large rainbow trout
Giant breeders are among the Rainbow Trout stocked each spring.
Click to enlarge

There were some significant changes in trout regulations in 2018 which anglers should remain aware of, including those for wild trout. These changes included:

  • Catch and Release Only for Brook Trout Within the Brook Trout Conservation Zone
    Brook Trout caught within the Brook Trout Conservation Zone (delineated by I-287 to the east, Route 202 to the south, the New York state border and up to — but not including — the Delaware River), must be released immediately, unharmed.
  • New Wild Trout Stream and Trout-Stocked Streams—Wild Brown Trout Managed Categories, and Other WTS Changes


Jaw tagged trout Ten Bonus Broodstock Lakes and the breeder stocking programs provide plenty of trophy size fish within a short drive from anywhere in the state. The Bonus Broodstock Lakes generally receive 30 - 50 extra large trout.

The Hook-a-Winner rewards anglers who catch one of the 1000 jaw-tagged trout stocked during the pre-season. Anglers who catch a tagged trout can claim their a certificate and patch by submitting an application form.

QR Codes on trout stocking regulations signs bring up the entire spring stocking schedule with all seven weeks of stocking following Opening Day on April 11. The schedule includes day of the week and the number of trout stocked. This feature can guide anglers to other fishing opportunities throughout the state right from their favorite fishing spot.

The Buddy License offers a current and a new angler (or two new anglers) reduced price fishing licenses!

Happy young angler
Click to enlarge
Share trout fishing with a youngster.
Brown and Brook Trout are still available, and regulations are in place to keep it that way (see page 22 in the 2020 Freshwater Fishing Digest). Waterbodies such as the South Branch Raritan River, Pequannock River and Big Flat Brook, (to name a few) have naturally reproducing trout in them that will surprise and delight many lucky anglers with their beautiful markings and coloration.

Anglers should be aware that most trout-stocked waters are closed to fishing during the 3 weeks leading up to Opening Day (March 23 - April 11, 2020 at 8 a.m.). There are several waters that remain open for catch-and-release trout fishing: Lake Hopatcong (Morris/Sussex), Mountain Lake (Warren), Prospertown Lake (Ocean), Lake Shenandoah (Ocean), Swartswood Lake (Sussex), and the section of Lawrence Brook from Davidsons Mill Rd. to Farrington Lake dam are open year round to fishing.

Catch and Release Only, Seasonal, and Year-Round Trout Conservation Areas and designated Holdover Trout Lakes are also open to fishing. However, trout caught in any of these waters during this period must be released immediately. Note that, fishing is not permitted on Seasonal Trout Conservation Areas from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. on April 11, 2020. Trout can be harvested from the state's two Trophy Trout Lakes, Merrill Creek and Round Valley Reservoirs. Be sure to check the Freshwater Digest for regulations pertaining to these waters.

Don't forget that a fishing license and trout stamp are required to fish for trout if you are 16 years or older. Children under 16 and New Jersey residents 70 years and older can fish without a license. Licenses and stamps may be obtained through one of the many license agents statewide, or online.


5/21/20 - The following waters were stocked today:
Big Flatbrook, Lower
Raritan River S/B

5/20/20 - The following waters were stocked today:

Pequannock River
Rockaway River
Saddle River
Wanaque River

5/19/20 - The following waters were stocked today:

Manasquan River
Musconetcong River
Pohatcong Creek
Raritan River N/B
NOTE: Due to higher than anticipated water temperatures, only rivers and streams will be stocked for the remainder of the season.

5/18/20 - The following waters were stocked today:

Alm's House Pond
Metedeconk River N/B
Metedeconk River S/B
Paulinskill River
Pequest River
Rahway River
Ramapo River
Toms River

5/15/20 - Trout stocking of 31 waters will resume Monday and conclude Thursday next week. Waters will be listed here each afternoon once stocking is completed for that day. This is to prevent crowds at waters prior to trucks arriving in order to help safeguard the public and our staff. Remember to maintain proper social distancing at all times while fishing and in parking areas.

5/4/20 - Trout Stocked Waters Now Open to Trout Fishing has been posted.

4/30/20 - Governor Murphy has signed an Executive Order to reopen state parks and forests at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 2, for passive recreation, including fishing.

4/23/20 - The List of Waters Open to Trout Fishing has been updated and will continue to be updated as we become aware of changes in a water's status. Check with municipalities if their parks have closed since the last update of the list.

4/22/20 - A listing of waters known to be open to trout fishing at this time is available. Use the List of Waters Open to Trout Fishing (pdf, 45kb) with the Fishing Access Locations on Trout Waters page to find a location near you. Note that portions of waters in state parks/forests and county parks remain closed to anglers.

4/17/20 - Update on New Jersey's 2020 Trout Season

4/14/20 - Trout season is open and most waters have received their entire spring allotment of trout; there will not be weekly stockings as in past years. All regulations remain in effect except there will be NO IN-SEASON CLOSURES on the 14 major streams where they normally would be in effect. State Wildlife Management Areas remain open except for the Round Valley Reservoir boat ramp. Help keep WMAs and other areas open by observing proper social distancing!

Although state and county parks have closed there are nearly 125 other trout stocked waters open to the public for fishing. The Division has reserved trout at the Pequest hatchery in anticipation of being able to resume stocking towards the end of May, depending on the status of COVID-19, stream temps and public access.

To receive notice of important news subscribe to the Freshwater Fishing e-mail list.

4/10/20 - The following county park waters are known to be closed: Alms House Pond, Barbour's Pond, Branch Brook Park Pond, Dahnert's Lake, Diamond Mill Pond, Greenwich Lake, Haddon Lake, Holmdel Park Pond, Lake Shenandoah, Lower Echo Park Pond, Manalapan Lake, Manasquan River, Manny's Pond, Milton Lake, Mountain Farm Pond, Neldon Brook, Nomahegan Park Pond, North Hudson Co. Park Pond, Roosevelt Park Pond, Rosedale Lake, Seeley's Pond, Spooky Brook Park Pond, Verona Park Pond, Warinanco Pond, West Hudson Park Pond, and White Lake.

4/6/20 - All State Parks have recently been closed. The following waters are trout stocked and will not be open for angler access. These closures will also affect angler access areas on rivers within State Park boundaries:

Black River
D&R Canal
D&R Feeder Canal
Green Turtle Pond
Lake Aeroflex
Lake Hopatcong (State Park/ramp)
Lake Musconetcong (State Park/ramp)
Lake Ocquittunk
Little Swartswood Lake (State Park/ramp)
Merrill Creek Reservoir
Mingamahone Creek
Neldon Brook
Ringwood Brook
Round Valley
Sawmill Pond
Sheppard's Lake
Swartswood Lake (State Park/ramps)
Stony Lake
Wawayanda Creek
Wawayanda Lake
4/3/20 - Catch and release fishing for trout began at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1. Most trout waters will temporarily close to fishing again at 12:01 a.m. on April 11 and the season will re-open at the legal time of 8:00 a.m. on April 11 (the official Opening Day of Trout Season), at which time trout can be harvested within established regulations, including a creel limit of six trout per day where allowed. Gear restrictions on special regulated areas still apply.

In-season closures have been removed; the 14 waters normally closed to fishing until 5:00 p.m. on their weekly designated stocking day may be fished at any time or on any day of the week after the season officially opens on April 11 at 8:00 a.m. All waters open to the public will have received trout by today, Friday, April 3. Stocking will continue until April 10. Specific stocking dates will not be announced.

3/31/20 - Birch Grove Park Pond and Dahnerts Lake are closed to fishing.

3/30/20 - Mountain Lake and Branch Brook Park Lake will not be stocked due to continuing HAB events. Merrill Creek Reservoir and Laurel Pond are presently closed to the public.

3/20/20 - Today's Peseason Stockings - The following waters will be stocked by the end of today: Hohokus Brook,Lockatong Creek, D&R Feeder Canal (Lower), Neshanic River, Nishisakawick Creek, Paulins Kill (Lower), Pequannock River, Pequannock River TCA, Ramapo River, Raritan River N/B, Wanaque River (Lower), and Wichecheoke Creek.

3/19/20 - Today's Preseason Stockings - The following waters will be stocked by the end of today: Raritan River S/B, Round Valley Reservoir, and Lower Paulins Kill.

3/18/20 - Today's Preseason Stockings - The following waters will be stocked by the end of today: Lower Pohatcong Creek, Manasquan River, Mingamahone Brook, Musconetcong River, Hakihohake Creek, and Paulins Kill.

3/17/20 - Preseason Stockings - The Pequest River TCA (Warren Co.) was stocked yesterday; The following waters will be stocked by the end of today: Merrill Creek Reservoir (Warren Co.), Pequest River (Upper/Middle/Lower) (Morris, Sussex & Warren Co.) and Raritan River TCA (Hunterdon Co.).

3/6/20 - Musconetcong River (Morris/Sussex Co.) - Trout will not be stocked in the Muscanetcong River at Waterloo Road due to a bridge replacement project.

3/2/20 - Hooks Creek Lake (Middlesex Co.) - Due to the fluctuating salinity levels, Hook's Creek Lake has been re-suspended from the Trout Stocking Program until salinity levels become more stable. The issue began with high salinity from storms that affected the region in October, 2012, including Hurricane Sandy. The lake was been suspended from the Division's Trout Stocking Program from 2012 until the fall of 2015 when salinity levels dropped to levels safe for stocking. However, since 2016, salinity levels have not remained safe for stocking - in some cases, fluctuating salinity levels have resulted in fish kills. Biologists will continue to monitor the situation.

3/2/20 - West Hudson County Park Pond (Hudson Co.) - Recognizing increased popularity with anglers, stocking of West Hudson County Park Pond was added to the full trout allocation program and will be receiving stocked trout in Weeks 1-4 as well as a pre-season stocking. These additional four weeks of stocking will result in 1,040 more fish for the pond in 2020.

Any deviations from the stocking schedule will be noted here, on the 2020 Spring Stocking Schedules page and on the Trout Hotline (609-633-6765).

Back to Trout Fishing in New Jersey

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, 1996-2020
Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: November 19, 2020