April 7, 2020
By: Dennis Symons, Jr.
It is kind of interesting the first day of trout season was moved up to April 1, 2020 from the official opening day of April 11, 2020 creating a lot of hype to entice people to get outside and enjoy an opportunity in the outdoors, while practicing safe social distancing.
The hype of an early season, nice weather and the willingness to get out doors to escape the COVID-19 pandemic, many anglers purchased trout stamps and fishing licences bringing in cash to the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Then all of a sudden 7 days later the door was slammed shut on State and County Park lands with waterways that are now closed due to executive order.
Governor Murphy’s executive order left no exemptions for hunting and fishing on state parks or even county parks. This closed many miles of trout stocked waterways that licence holders have paid for though “trout stamps” as an add on to the licence fees.
The average fisherman spends $22.50 for a basic fishing licence and an additional $10.50 for a “trout stamp” allowing them to fish trout stocked waters. The investment is $33.00 before even tossing a line in the water.
Was that April 1 early opening date an April fool joke or a way to grab some quick money to solve a budget issue? This stinks like a dead fish.
As of right now as far as we can tell “Wildlife Management Areas” are still open for passive recreation. If that changes it will be posted on the Fish and Game website here
Current licence fees for fishing:
LICENSE and STAMP FEES
(Licenses are valid from date of purchase to Dec. 31 of each year)
|All Around Sportsman (includes Resident Fishing,|
Firearm Hunting and Bow Hunting licenses)
|Resident Fishing (Ages 16-64 yrs.)||$22.50|
|Sr. Resident Fishing (Ages 65-69 yrs.)||$12.50|
|Resident Trout Stamp||$10.50|
|Non-Resident Fishing (Ages 16 and up)||$34.00|
|Non-Resident Trout Stamp||$20.00|
|7-Day Vacation Fishing (nonresidents only)||$19.50|
|2-Day Vacation Fishing (nonresidents only)||$9.00|
|Fishing Buddy Licenses||Information|
Entire stocked water list here: https://njfishandwildlife.com/accesscnty.htm
CHECK TO MAKE SURE YOUR TROUT STOCKED WATER IS NOT ON COUNTY PARK, STATE PARK OR A LOCAL CLOSED PARK BEFORE HEADING OUT TO FISH. MANY MILES OF TROUT STOCKED WATERS ARE CLOSED EITHER BY EXECUTIVE ORDER OR LOCAL ORDERS
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:
STOCKED BUT CLOSED TO FISHING:
D&R Feeder Canal
Green Turtle Pond
Lake Hopatcong (State Park/ramp)
Lake Musconetcong (State Park/ramp)
Little Swartswood Lake (State Park/ramp)
Round Valley (Park area)
Swartswood Lake (State Park/ramps)
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.