These are some of the most popular fishing lakes in the Mid Jersey region that have been shut down. Even Govenor Phil Murphy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe talked about how great of an activity fishing is and being able to practice social distancing during COVID-19 briefings.
July 8, 2020
UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, MILLSTONE, (MONMOUTH), JACKSON, (OCEAN), NJ — Earlier today MidJersey.News has e-mailed the Division of Fish & Wildlife asking for a “clarification” on the “restricted areas” e-mail and what it means other than what is indicated on the website.
Late this afternoon MidJersey.News acting on a tip that entire lakes are shut down not just “boat ramps” as indicated on the State of NJ, Division of Fish & Wildlife’s web page. (see screen shots below)
MidJersey.News is perplexed trying to figure out why these particular lakes were targeted as “restricted” and shut down due to furloughs. There are no life guards since swimming is not allowed, no fees, no guard shack like at state parks, wildlife management areas are carry-in carry-out for trash = no trash pick up, emergency services such as EMS and rescue are handled by local fire companies and first aid squads, police matters are handled by NJ State Police. The wildlife management areas are low maintenance and are not labor intensive.
Fishing is a “great social activity” and using that 6 foot fishing pole is a great way to measure social distancing while out fishing. Now NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife has closed some of the most popular fishing lakes in the Mid-Jersey region a great activity that is COVID-19 compliant.
Even Govenor Phil Murphy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe talked about how great of an activity fishing is and being able to practice social distancing, see below transcript from March 31, 2020:
Commissioner of Environmental Protection Catherine McCabe:
“If you love to fish, a great social activity, we have good news for you. I shouldn’t say a great social activity – I actually meant to say a great solo, not social. Trout season will open ten days early tomorrow, Wednesday April 1st, for catch and release only. This is to help us to help you maintain safe social distance while fishing. We’ve released the state-raised trout early to disperse them before fishing season opens so that you can disperse, too as you move out to catch them, instead of everyone gathering around the hatchery on day one of Trout Season, which is traditional.
If you find others gathered at your favorite fishing hole, consider trying a new location this year. The fish have moved out and you should, too. And at a minimum, please spread out to at least the required six-foot social distance. Conveniently, this is the typical length of a fishing pole so it should be easy for you to measure. And for better fishing you’ll probably want more distance anyway. If someone gets too close to you, have a friendly conversation about that six-foot distance or find another spot.
So, please do feel free to go out there and get some exercise and enjoy yourselves, whether in a park or a forest or along a fishing stream. But please, please be responsible and remember that social distancing is absolutely essential to keeping you, your families and our communities safe, and to help us all flatten the curve of this serious viral outbreak. Thank you.”
Governor Phil Murphy:
“And the notion also, to be able to go outside and get some fresh air in a responsible way has to be a part of what our plan is about.”
“So, I just want to reiterate, whether it’s fishing on that six-foot pole, which I think is a great way to think about it, or outside walking, hiking, jogging, please, please, please keep your distance. Thank you. Again, it’s great having you and thank you for everything you do. And Sean, nice to have you with us as well.”
According to the NJ DEP, Division of Fish & Wildlife, The Wildlife Management Area System web page as currently posted as of 7/8/2020 it indicates that Assunpink: “Main Lake Boat Ramp” “Rising Sun Boat Ramp” “Stone Tavern Boat Ramp” “Shotgun and Archery Range” Prospertown Lake: “Main Lake Boat Ramp” Collier’s Mills: “Shotgun, Archery and Rifle Ranges”
The website does not indicate that the entire lake system would be shut down but signs and barricades as seen below indicate differently:
Entrances to Assunpink Lake, Stone Tavern Lake, Rising Sun and Prospertown Lake all closed as seen below, all lakes are labeled “Restricted Area” and closed: