Category: Outdoors

Road Repair And Paving Scheduled For Assunpink WMA

May 6, 2021

UPPER FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–There will be road repair/paving activity at the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area Tuesday, May 11 through Wednesday, May 19, 2021. There will be no road closures but traffic may be reduced to one lane. The Conservation Center parking lot will be closed one day for paving during the work period.

Hunting Regulation Change – Deer Urine Lure Ban

April 30, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Effective May 10, 2021, a change in state hunting regulations will ban the possession, sale and use of all natural, deer-derived hunting lures (urine and glandular secretions) in New Jersey to help safeguard the health of the state’s deer herd from the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). All natural, deer-derived hunting lures must be disposed of in your household trash.

The ban has been put in place to strengthen safeguards against CWD entering New Jersey. These scents and lures are derived from captive deer where the risk of CWD is greatest. The production of deer urine is not regulated; there is no federal or state agency that can certify deer urine-based products as CWD-free, and no level of exposure is acceptable.

Synthetic lures and lures not made from any deer fluid or tissue are legal to possess, sell and use.

CWD is a progressive and always fatal neurologic disease affecting members of the Cervid family such as deer, elk, moose and reindeer, and is caused by an infectious protein called a prion. It results in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death, and is readily spread from deer to deer. While CWD has not yet been documented in New Jersey, it poses a real and significant risk to deer herds and New Jersey’s deer hunting tradition if it arrives here.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife is doing everything in its power to prevent CWD from entering New Jersey and to protect the long-term health of our deer herd and our deer hunting heritage.

More information about Chronic Wasting Disease can be found at

NJ Conservation Police Issue 67 Summonses For Undersized And Over Limit Striped Bass

April 16, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–As anglers take advantage of the ongoing striped bass run, New Jersey’s Conservation Police Officers have been busy enforcing the size and creel limits for this popular game fish. Calls to the 877-WARN-DEP line concerning violations have directed the officers’ attention to individuals whose illegal activities did not go unnoticed by law-abiding sportsmen and women. The officers have also been checking in on past trouble spots.

Between April 8 and April 11, Conservation Police Officer Robert Driscoll and Lieutenant Joseph Kuechler, with the assistance of Deputy Chief Frank Panico, continued their enforcement efforts of the striped bass regulations along the Hudson River and Newark Bay Complex in Hudson and Union Counties. They issued a total of 67 summonses for violations of undersize and over the limit striped bass with potential fines amounting to over $15,000.  

Meanwhile on the Raritan Bayshore, Conservation Police Officers Robert Henderson, Ed Klitz, Christopher Moscatiello and James Woerner patrolled the evening hours of April 9 and apprehended five individuals with multiple striped bass violations. In total, more than 20 sublegal striped bass were seized for undersized and overlimit violations.

On the evening of April 10 and into the early morning hours of April 11, seventeen Conservation Police Officers from across the state participated in an overt and covert operation focusing on the harvesting of illegal striped bass along the Raritan Bayshore in Middlesex and Monmouth counties. Nearly 100 inspections were made resulting in over thirty summonses issued for a variety of striped bass-related violations. The possession of undersized fish was the most common violation.  

The Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Bureau of Law Enforcement plans to continue targeted enforcement of striped bass fishing activity as long as the schools of “linesiders” continue to tempt unethical anglers.

Striped Bass regulations can be found in the Division’s free New Jersey Marine Digest available at many sporting goods stores and online here:

Anglers may catch and keep one striped bass per day. The striped bass must measure between 28 and 38 inches. Recreational anglers aged 16 or older must obtain a free annual Saltwater Angler Registry certificate if they are fishing in the marine or tidal waters of the state. Additional regulations apply. The fine for possession of undersized or overlimit striped bass is $100 per fish plus court costs. 


Make a one-time donation. If you like what you see here help continue to provide coverage of local news events. is one of the leading news sources in the center part of the state and could use your donation to support independent journalism.

Make a monthly donation If you like what you see here help continue to provide coverage of local news events. is one of the leading news sources in the center part of the state and could use your donation to support independent journalism.

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthly at Buy CBD Online – CBD Oil, Gummies, Vapes. Use coupon code dennis during checkout. at Buy CBD Online – CBD Oil, Gummies, Vapes. Use coupon code dennis during checkout.

Zebra Mussel Alert

March 8, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife is joining fish and wildlife agencies nationwide to alert consumers about aquarium products that may be infested with invasive Zebra Mussels. Zebra mussels are regarded as one of the most destructive invasive species in North America.

For more information about the consumer alert and disposal/cleaning methods visit the US Fish and Wildlife Site.

Zebra mussels can quickly take over once they get established in a waterbody and cause significant damage including disrupting the food chain, changing the chemistry of the water, clogging water intake and delivery systems and damaging boats.

Several major pet product retailers, including Petco and PetSmart, have proactively removed these products from their shelves.

The Division urges anyone who has purchased a moss ball within the past several weeks to strictly follow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) guidance on how to properly disinfect them and clean aquarium systems. 

Guidance can be found on the USFWS Zebra Mussel Disposal webpage.

Please spread the word and not the zebra mussel!

Vessel Deployments at Little Egg and Manasquan Inlet Reefs

January 21, 2021

MANASQUAN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On  Thursday, January 14, the Division’s Bureau of Marine Fisheries expanded the state’s artificial reef network through deployments on Little Egg and Manasquan Inlet Reefs. 

A 200-foot-long barge along with a 45-foot tugboat and 40-foot push boat were deployed at the Little Egg Reef site. These deployments were sponsored by the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association’s Junior Mate Program with donations by The Sportfishing Fund.

A 65-foot tugboat was sunk at the Manasquan Inlet Reef. The deployment was sponsored by the Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club with donations by The Sportfishing Fund.  This deployment was in memory of past Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club Lifetime Member John Geiges.

Striped Bass Anglers Required To Use Non-Offset Circle Hooks When Fishing With Natural Bait

January 4, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Striped bass anglers: Effective January 1, 2021, anglers are required to use non-offset (inline) circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with natural bait. A ‘circle hook’ is defined as a non-offset (inline) hook where the point is curved perpendicularly back towards the shank. The term ‘non-offset or inline’ means the point and barb are in the same plane as the shank. All states are required to implement the circle hook requirement by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. The new requirement is intended to reduce mortality in fish that are caught and released, known as release mortality. Release mortality contributes significantly to overall fishing mortality in the recreational striped bass fishery.

Illegal Clammers Busted In South Brunswick With 110 Pounds Of Thumbnail Clams

November 25, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Conservation Police Officer Recruit Bickerton, CPO Garofalo and Lt. Mascio responded to the Millstone River in South Brunswick for a report of illegal clamming. After performing surveillance, the officers performed a field inspection and issued three individuals a total of nine summonses for illegal clamming in prohibited waters. Approximately 11,000 Asian Thumbnail clams weighing 110 pounds were confiscated. All the clamming equipment was also seized as evidence.

Manasquan Inlet Reef Site Expanded With 6,000 Tons Of Concrete From Maher Terminals

November 24, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey’s artificial reef network has been significantly expanded through a deployment of 6,000 tons of concrete on the Manasquan Inlet reef site, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection announced.

Material for the first deployment on Oct. 28 consisted of 74 concrete forms, measuring 40 feet x 8 feet x 1.5 feet each, donated by Maher Terminals in Elizabeth, Union County. Another 77 forms were deployed Nov. 10. The forms, once used by U.S. Customs to scan shipping containers, were no longer needed and were slated to be recycled.

“This beneficial collaboration gives new life to these materials, keeping it out of landfills and providing habitat for a wide array of marine life, including species important to New Jersey’s world class commercial and recreational fishing sectors,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “We are proud to partner with Maher Terminals to enhance the marine ecosystem of our coastal waters.”

Artificial reefs are typically made up of concrete, steel, decommissioned ships and barges and provide a habitat for a variety of marine life. DEP studies have shown that these materials are colonized quickly with organisms such as algae, barnacles, mussels, sea stars, crabs, sponges and corals. 

The structure of the reef, and the feeding opportunities provided by the animals growing on the reef, attract species such as black sea bass, tautog and lobster, and provide excellent opportunities for recreational anglers and divers.

“Maher Terminals recognizes the significant interconnection between providing efficient port and terminal-related services and our responsibility to the environment and communities where we operate and call home,” said Gary Cross, CEO of Maher Terminals. “The deployment of this reef off the New Jersey coast is part of our broader commitment to strengthening the local marine ecosystem and to investing in a greener future. We’re excited to give these concrete platforms a second life as part of New Jersey’s Artificial Reef Program.”

Encompassing a total of 25 square miles of ocean floor, the New Jersey Artificial Reef Program began in 1984, and currently consists of four reefs in New Jersey waters and 13 in federal waters. The program is administered by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Fisheries Administration. The program is sustained largely by donations of reef materials from private organizations and companies.

The Manasquan Inlet reef is approximately two miles east of the inlet and is one of the newest reefs in the artificial reef system. Center point coordinates are 40° 04.617’ N and 073° 59.040’ W. The reef footprint encompasses 0.84 square miles, but only two deployments had been made prior to today. The new material adds nearly 1.25 acres of artificial reef habitat on what was formerly featureless sand bottom.

This new feature inside the Manasquan Inlet reef site will be called the Maher Terminals Reef in recognition of the donation of material. Maher Terminals has also committed to revisiting the reef site annually for several years to document the progression of material from bare concrete to a reef ecosystem.

Earlier this year, New Jersey deployed  a 150-foot long caisson gate on the Deepwater reef site, a tugboat on the Sandy Hook reef site and a memorial reef on the Atlantic City reef.

Water Lowered For Dam Repairs At Two Assunpink WMA Lakes

Dam repairs to take place at Stone Tavern Lake and Rising Sun Lake though December 1, 2020.

October 23, 2020

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP-MILLSTONE TOWNSHP, NJ (MONMOUTH) –The Division is currently working on two dam repair projects on the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area. Stone Tavern and Rising Sun Lakes have been lowered approximately four feet to provide construction crews access to the dam and water control structures. Concrete work will be completed on the spillways and repairs to trash gates.

Both projects should be completed around December 1, at which time the lakes will be returned to their normal water levels. Access is currently open to these locations, however, it may be impacted by construction activities during the project. The Division will provide updates on the website should any changes regarding the completion date or access occur.

Both lakes have adequate depths to fully support the fish population during the duration of the project.

Governor Phil Murphy Tweets That 2020 Bear Hunt Will Be The Last

October 5, 2020 – Updated to include press release

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Murphy announced today that the NJ Fish and Game Council has proposed an amendment to end the bear hunt after the 2020 season.

The 2020 bear hunt will be the LAST. The New Jersey Fish and Game Council has proposed an amendment to the Game Code that will:

☑️SUSPEND the bear hunt following the conclusion of the 2020 season

☑️Remove the current Comprehensive Black Bear Management Police from the Game Code

Bear attacks in NJ:

July 24, 2020 West Milford a black bear attacked an 82 year old man in his garage after the bear took several swipes at the man. The man required over 30 stiches to his face.

September 2014: Darsh Patel, 22 was a Rutgers University Student hiking with friends in the Apshawa Preserve was killed by a 4 year old, 300 pound black bear. Wildlife officials stated that the last prior death from a black bear in NJ was in 1852

The video below explains the September 2014 attack:

Press release from the Governor’s Office:

Governor Murphy Announces Proposed Changes to New Jersey Fish and Game Code to End Bear Hunt in 2021

TRENTON – Today, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the New Jersey Fish and Game Council has proposed changes to the state’s Game Code that would end bear hunting in New Jersey after 2020. The Fish and Game Council, which has authority over the hunt, has proposed an amendment to the New Jersey Game Code that suspends the hunt and removes the current Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy from the Game Code.

These changes enable the Council and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to engage in a thorough review of the current scientific data to develop a new policy that promotes public safety and welfare while protecting New Jersey’s wildlife, with a focus on non-lethal bear-management techniques.

“With today’s announcement, we will end the bear hunt under my Administration and develop a new black bear policy that keeps public safety at the forefront of our concerns while protecting wildlife in the State,” said Governor Murphy. “I am grateful to the Fish and Game Council for their commitment to working with the Department of Environmental Protection to address this issue and chart a better way forward.”

“The DEP’s Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW), in coordination with the independent Fish & Game Council, is committed to protecting public safety and wildlife,” said DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “As DFW and the Council embark upon the data and policy analysis necessary to develop a new Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy, we will rely on the best available science, engage often with the public, and work to achieve the best balance. We look forward to continuing our productive dialogue with the Council on this and other important natural resource management priorities.”“New Jersey’s Bear Hunt has had the reputation of being one of the cruelest bear hunts in the country,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “I am very thankful to Governor Murphy for making 2020’s Bear Hunt the last one ever in the state of New Jersey. This inhumane practice has gone on far too long, and it is time to eliminate it in its entirety on public and private lands.”

The rules proposed in today’s New Jersey Register are subject to a 60-day comment period. Pending the public comment process, the current Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy will be removed from the Game Code, which means that no bear hunt may proceed unless and until a new Policy is adopted. The Murphy Administration will prioritize non-lethal bear management strategies in any future Policy. Bear hunting will not proceed after the 2020 season under the Murphy Administration.

In August 2018, Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order directing the DEP to close all public lands under the Department’s jurisdiction to bear hunting for the 2018 season. That order prohibited bear hunting in all State forests, State parks, State recreation areas, State historic sites, State Wildlife Management Areas and State natural areas.

Petzl Recalls Safety Ropes Due to Fall and Injury Hazard

These ropes are used in professional use, including work-at-height use, difficult access, technical rescue and industrial applications; and for recreational use, including climbing, caving and mountaineering. 

October 2, 2020

Name of product: Low-Stretch Kernmantle Ropes


The rope can have a deep cut or tape securing two ends of rope together, which can cause the rope to fail, posing fall and injury hazards to the user.Remedy:ReplaceRecall date:September 30, 2020Units:

About 14,850 (In addition, about 2,500 were sold in Canada) Consumer Contact:


The recalled low-stretch kernmantle ropes are designed for professional use, including work-at-height use, difficult access, technical rescue and industrial applications; and for recreational use, including climbing, caving and mountaineering.  The ropes have a nylon core and polyester sheath material.  Only ropes with serial numbers ranging between 18 C 0000000 000 and 20 H 0000000 000 are included in the recall.  The recalled rope models include:

  • Axis 11mm rope (white, yellow, black, blue, red and orange) available in 150, 200, 600 and 1200 feet.  Model Numbers R074AA00 – R074AA27.
  • Parallel 10.5mm (white, yellow, black, blue, red and orange), available in 50, 100, 200 and 500 meters.  Model Numbers R077AA03 – R077AA28. 
  • Vector 12.5mm rope (white, yellow, black, blue, red and orange) available in 150, 200, 600 and 1200 feet. Model Numbers R078AA00—R078AA27.
  • Segment 8 mm (white) available in 50, 100 or 200 meters.  Model Numbers R076AA00 – R076AA06.
  • Ray 12 mm (yellow/black) available in 25, 50, 75, 100 and 200 feet.  Model Numbers R091AA00 – R091AA04.
  • ASAP’AXIS 11 mm (white) available 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 meters. Model numbers R074DA00 — R074DA05
  • Push 200 9 mm (white, orange) available in 200 meters.  Model Numbers R40AW200 and R40AO200.
  • Club 200 10 mm (white, orange) available in 200 meters.  Model Numbers R39AW200 and R39AO200. 
  • Top 9.8 mm (Not sold in North America) 
  • Lead 9.8mm (Not sold in North America)
  • JAG Rescue Kit model numbers K090AA00-K090AA02

The recalled safety ropes have the model name and serial number on the label affixed to each end of the rope.   Remedy:

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ropes and inspect the rope for a deep cut or tape connecting two ends of rope together, and if either is found, contact Petzl America for instructions on receiving a free replacement rope.Incidents/Injuries:

None reported.Sold At:

GME Supply, Karst Sports and industrial and recreational stores nationwide, and online at and from March 2018 through July 2020 for between $200 and $1,200.Importer(s):

Petzl America Inc., of Salt Lake City, Utah   Manufactured In:FranceRecall number: 20-194

Consumer Contact:

Petzl America toll-free at 877-807-3805 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday, email at, or online at and select Professional or Sport then click on Customer Service/Security Alerts located at the top of the page for more information.

NJ Div of Fish and Wildlife and USDA Remove Plastic Container From Baby Deer’s Head

August 13, 2020

BRICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife reports that the USDA Wildlife Services a (NJDFW partner) removed a plastic pretzel container stuck on a baby deer’s head on Monday, August 10. Technicians carefully immobilized the fawn deer, removed the container, and released the deer on site.

Dancer stands with New Jersey Outdoor Alliance On Wildlife Management Area Closings

See related MidJersey.News stories here: Assunpink, Stone Tavern, Rising Sun And Prospertown Lakes Shut Down, Not Just The Boat Ramps As “Restricted” Areas July 6 to 27, 2020

Prospertown And Assunpink Boat Ramps “Restricted” Due To State Employee Furloughs

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Outdoor Alliance took a major hit this week when Governor Phil Murphy decided to close many of the wildlife management areas due to budgetary constraints. The organization released a statement on Murphy’s actions, saying that it makes no sense to furlough land management staff since they are paid by profits made from the users of the parks and license fees. 

Assemblyman Ron Dancer agrees with the NJOA and called on Governor Murphy to reconsider these latest rounds of closures.

“Our park systems continue to get the short end of the stick,” stated Dancer (R-Ocean). “After fighting for weeks to get the parks to reopen, now Gov. Murphy restricts public access to the outdoor wildlife management areas.  We cannot continue to allow the misuse of fees paid for fishing and hunting licenses that are dedicated to keep open, manage and maintain our wildlife management areas as pointed out by the NJOA.”

This isn’t the first time the group has challenged Murphy on his executive orders.  For weeks, NJOA repeatedly called on Murphy to reopen parks which eventually led to the reopening of state parks.  

Assunpink, Stone Tavern, Rising Sun And Prospertown Lakes Shut Down, Not Just The Boat Ramps As “Restricted” Areas July 6 to 27, 2020

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

See earlier MidJersey.News story here: Prospertown And Assunpink Boat Ramps “Restricted” Due To State Employee Furloughs

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:

TRANSCRIPT: March 31th, 2020 Coronavirus Briefing Media

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:

Rep. Smith: Passenger restrictions on NJ Shore for-hire fishing boats lifted

Six-foot social distancing must be maintained

June 15, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Congressman Chris Smith, whose Fourth Congressional District includes several popular Jersey Shore fishing basins including Belmar, Brielle and Point Pleasant, welcomed the decision, effective today, to lift the COVID-19 restrictions limiting the number of anglers permitted on charter and head boats, as long as all anglers adhere to 6’ social distancing protocols.

    “This could not have come a moment too soon.  While overdue, this is still great news,” said Rep. Smith, who has been pushing hard for healthy, safe and economically-sound reopening of the Jersey Shore fishing boat industry.

     “Unfortunately, anglers have missed the beginning of fluke season, but the original relief of 25 passengers and now the unlimited access, gives this critical industry, as well as the related businesses such as bait & tackle shops, a fighting chance to recover more quickly and fully. I want to thank Governor Murphy for lifting these restrictions and re-opening this vital part of the Shore economy.”  

The COVID-19 quarantine has been especially hard for the for-hire fishing boats, many of which operate for only eight to ten months a year. Losing the months of March, April, May and half of June has been financially devastating.

      On May 16, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 146 allowing up to 10 total passengers on party boats.  However, sailing with less than a dozen paying passengers was not economically viable for the party boats, some of which can hold over 100 passengers.  On May 22—the opening day of fluke season—the number of passengers was raised from 10 to 25. 

 “This decision does not allow the boats to run at full capacity due to social distancing requirements, but it will allow those in the fishing industry to earn a living and feed their families,” Smith added.

     According to Smith, in addition to the party boat fleets in Belmar, Brielle and Point Pleasant in his congressional district, there are also party fishing boats in Atlantic Highlands, Barnegat, Sea Isle City, Ocean City, Cape May and Fortesque.

     In addition to advocating for the safe and economically-sound re-opening of the for-hire fishing industry, Smith has also supported federal emergency programs—such as the Paycheck Protection Program—to help the fishing industry, as well as tens of thousands of other small businesses in New Jersey, sustain operations while battling the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Charter Fishing And Watercraft Rentals Reopen Today

May 17, 2020

BELMAR, NJ (MONMOUTH)– Yesterday Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 146 to reopen charter boat fishing and watercraft rentals. You can view details in yesterday’s story here.

This morning at 7:30 am, one and a half hours after the covid-19 chartered fishing ban was lifted the Golden Eagle heads out of the Shark River Inlet fishing for striped bass and blues. It appears that most everyone had masks on and well spaced on the boat.

Chartered Fishing And Watercraft Rentals To Resume Tomorrow

May 16, 2020 UPDATED AT 7:20 PM to include executive order and additional information provided by the Governor’s Office

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Murphy is expected to sign an executive order today to allow reopening of fishing charters and other chartered boating serviced, this will also include watercraft rentals. The executive order will take effect May 17, 2020 at 6 am. Once we receive the executive order will will post it here.

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order to Reopen Charter Fishing and Watercraft Rental Businesses

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 146, which allows charter fishing services and for-hire vessel activities, as well as watercraft rental businesses, to open with required social distancing measures. These businesses can open on Sunday, May 17 at 6 am.“Reopening charter fishing services and watercraft rental businesses restores an extremely important component of our Shore economy.” said Governor Murphy. “The social distancing measures that we are putting in place will ensure that these businesses can sustain themselves while still adhering to public health guidance.”Charter fishing services and for-hire vessels will be allowed to reopen to the public so long as they adopt policies that include:

  • reduced capacity to no more than 10 people on a vessel at any one time;
  • electronic or telephone reservation and payment systems;
  • no make-up or open boat trips;
  • social distancing measures on the vessels and in waiting and boarding areas, including demarcation and signage;
  • prohibiting sharing of fishing equipment, bait, and gear;
  • limiting the use of nets or gaffs to the crew;
  • infection control and hygiene practices;
  • providing sanitization materials to passengers and crew;
  • frequent sanitization of vessel and high-touch areas;
  • The crew and passengers must wear a mask while aboard the vessel;
  • prohibiting food and beverage service; and
  • briefing all passengers prior to embarking on social distancing, capacity limits, and hygiene requirements.

Watercraft rental businesses will be allowed to reopen so long as they adopt policies consistent with the “curb-side pickup” restrictions that apply to retail establishments pursuant to Executive Order No. 142.
Copy of Executive Order No. 146

” I will sign an EO allowing for the resumption of:
🎣Fishing charters and other chartered-boat services
🛶Watercraft rentals

This Order will take effect tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM.

We will require specific social distancing and sanitation measures to be followed.”

Marinas, Boatyards And Marine Manufacturers Will Be Allowed Open For Personal Use-Chartered Watercraft Services Or Rentals Not Allowed

April 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers will be allowed open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed. Chartered watercraft services or rentals will not be allowed, and restaurant activity at these sites must be limited to take-out or delivery only, like anywhere else in the three states. This announcement aligns the policies of the three states on this particular service. “We’ve committed to working with our regional partners throughout this crisis to align our policies when and where appropriate,” said Governor Murphy. “A unified approach is the most effective way to alleviate confusion for the residents of our states during the ongoing public health emergency.”“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve worked closely with our friends in neighboring states to implement a uniform regional approach to reducing the spread of the virus,” Governor Cuomo said. “Aligning our polices in this area is another example of that strong partnership, and will help ensure there is no confusion or ‘state shopping’ when it comes to marinas and boatyards.” “Our states share workforces, resources, public transit, and we all have share a connection on the water,” Governor Lamont said. “This is yet another example of how our states have shared interests, which is all the more reason to collaborate on these kinds of decisions. This decision provides uniformity across our marinas.”

NJ Conservation Police Bust: $12,800. Potential Fines In Illegal Striped Bass Fishing In NJ

April 14, 2020

During the COVID-19 response, New Jersey Conservation Police continue working to protect New Jersey’s wildlife resources. This is evident from a March 30th case in Atlantic City involving the early morning apprehension of two men in possession of 66 undersize Atlantic striped bass.

The accused were caught by NJ Conservation Police Officers after they returned to a private dock after fishing all night from a small vessel. Earlier in the evening, they drew attention to themselves when officers observed them running their vessel at high rates of speed from various fishing locations under the cover of darkness and fog without any navigation lights. Despite the conditions, and losing sight of the vessel on multiple occasions, officers utilized their intimate knowledge of the area to relocate and ultimately inspect the vessel.

The Atlantic striped bass retention limits on March 30th were one fish from 28” to less than 43” and one fish 43” or greater per person. When inspected, sixty-six striped bass were found between 13” and 24” in length.

Charges for undersize and over the limit violations were written, which carry a penalty of $100 per fish/per violation, adding up to a potential of $12,800 in penalties for each angler. Additionally, the men were charged with unsafe operation of a vessel, operating a power vessel without valid registration, and failing to have appropriate vessel safety gear. Fishing gear was also seized for evidence and the Conservation Police Officers will seek forfeiture due to the severity of the violations. The seized fish were released to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

Due to recent stock assessment results that determined overfishing for Atlantic striped bass was occurring, mandatory coastwide reductions were put in place to end overfishing and reduce fishing mortality in 2020. Regulation changes effective April 1st aim to achieve an 18% harvest reduction. The current recreational limit is one fish per day, which must measure from 28” to less than 38” in total length. There is no commercial harvest or sale of Atlantic striped bass in New Jersey.

NJ Wildlife Management Areas Open But Practice Social Distancing-Don’t Ruin It For Others

April 9, 2020

Wildlife Management Areas are currently open for hunting and fishing. We want to keep it that way, so we need YOU to observe proper social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to practice safe social distancing at all times!

Be safe. Be smart. Keep your distance and keep our Wildlife Management Areas open!

For more information visit


Park Closure Updates: Sandy Hook Closed, State And County Parks Closed, Local Parks Depends On Town

April 8, 2020

Yesterdays stories on park closures: Check the previous stories for links and information. All State and county parks are closed. Some local parks are closed and some remain open depending on town, check local parks before heading out. Sandy Hook, Gateway Recreation Area has also been closed. As of now there is no exemption for individual fishing as reported yesterday. It appears that Wildlife Management Areas remain open but check the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife before heading out for latest information.

Governor Phil Murphy Takes More Draconian Measures, Closes State, County Parks And Forrests

Governor Murphy’s Bait And Switch, Leaves Some Trout Anglers On The Hook

Don’t ruin it for everyone else keep your distance. This barricade is ready at the main parking lot of the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area for any potential shut down. Maintain social distancing so you don’t loose the Wildlife Management Areas too.

List of Federal Parks in NJ check each park before visiting to find out COVID-19 restrictive measures or closures.

Sandy Hook, Gateway National Recreation Area:

Sandy Hook is temporarily closed as of April 8, 2020

Following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health in consultation with NPS Public Health Service officers, Sandy Hook is temporarily closed. Updates will be posted on the park website and social media.

Gateway National Recreation Area, in response to New York and New Jersey’s Executive Orders to close all non-life sustaining operations to curb the spread of COVID-19, is announcing that all park buildings and restrooms are closed. Park grounds, roads, trails and parking areas will remain open to the public.

As of March 20th, Gateway National Recreation Area will not issue permits, conduct on-site public or educational programs, collect trash, operate or provide restrooms, maintain roads or walkways (including plowing and ice melting), or provide visitor information and services. This includes fishing/parking permits throughout Gateway.

The National Park Service (NPS) encourages people who choose to visit Gateway National Recreation Area during this pandemic to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, the NPS urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.


Governor Murphy’s Bait And Switch, Leaves Some Trout Anglers On The Hook

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

Remember to check out story on safe fishing

Fishing licences, trout stamps, hunting and other licence options can be purchased from this link.

Current licence fees for fishing:

(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 LicensesInformation

Entire stocked water list here:



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:


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)
Mingamahone Creek
Ringwood Brook
Round Valley (Park area)
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.

Governor Phil Murphy Takes More Draconian Measures, Closes State, County Parks And Forrests

April 7, 2020

Ocean County was closed last week. See story from March 31, 2020 here most beaches already closed.

This closure does not include several Federally owned parks such as Gateway National Recreation Area. You can visit Gunnison Beach “Gunny Beach” in Sandy Hook — a known clothing optional nude beach and let everything air out, but you can’t go to the Union Transportation Trail in Upper Freehold Township or fish on the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area and enjoy the outdoors.

OPINION: Governor Murphy’s Bait and Switch leaves trout anglers on the hook: It is kind of interesting the first day of trout season was moved up to April 1, 2020 to entice people to get outside and enjoy the outdoors while practicing social distancing. The state needed to get people to purchase trout stamps and fishing licences bringing in cash to the Division of fish and game. Then 7 days later most trout stocked waterways are closed since the majority are on now closed state or county property due to executive order. Was that an April fool? This stinks like a dead fish.

Federally Owned Parks List Here Check Each Park To See Closures Due To COVID-19

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced Executive Order 118, closing all state parks and forests and county parks to further social distancing measures. “My Administration’s top priority is to flatten the curve of new COVID-19 cases, so we do not create a surge within our health care systems and overwhelm the health care professionals who are managing our response on the frontlines,” said Governor Murphy. “We have seen far too many instances in our parks where people are gathering and socializing in groups and by closing these areas, we are further limiting public interactions to only the most essential purposes. Data shows that our aggressive efforts to flatten the curve are beginning to make a difference; however, we must continue our push to flatten it to the point where our day-over-day increase is zero.”Under Executive Order No. 108 (2020), municipalities still have the authority to keep municipal parks open or closed.The order shall take effect on Tuesday, April 7, at 8:00 p.m.For a copy of Executive Order No. 118, click here.

To help limit the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy announced that effective at 8pm on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, all state parks and forests will be closed until further notice . This full closure includes all park lots, grounds, facilities, trails, playgrounds.

All park gates and entrances are CLOSED. Trail use is PROHIBITED. Save yourself the trip and STAY HOME to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

New Jersey State Park Police will patrol park areas to ensure the public is following the Governor’s directives to stay home to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

To keep your family and our entire New Jersey family safe, stay home, practice good hygiene and follow all State and CDC guidelines concerning COVID-19.

To learn more about COVID-19 or find resources, go to COVID19.NJ.GOV, text NJCOVID to 898-211, or call 211.

For updated parks information, please follow this Facebook page or visit the Division of Parks and Forestry’s website:


Ocean County Park System closed last week.

Local Parks: Will add more to the list as closures expand:

Hamilton Township, Mercer County = Closed

In regards to the Governor’s decision to close all State and County parks beginning at 8pm tonight, April 7th, please see the below message from Mayor Martin:

As a result of today’s announcement by the Governor that he is closing all State and County parks as of 8pm tonight, I have ordered all municipal parks closed as of 8pm tonight.  This order pertains not only to Veteran’s and Sayen park but all “neighborhood” parks as well.  While I wanted all parks to remain open, I am concerned that if our parks remain open, they would not be able to safely handle the additional visitors.  It would put your safety, and the safety of our parks employees, in jeopardy and I cannot take that chance. Please continue to keep up your social and physical distancing, washing your hands, and abiding by all CDC recommendations.  By all of us working together, we will get through this together.  You all continue to make me #HamiltonProud!
For more information and to read the Executive Order click here.

Robbinsville Township, Mercer County = Open as long as people practice social distancing.

Stay Safe From COVID-19 While Fishing In NJ

April 3, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife made changes to the 2020 Trout Season to help redistribute angling pressure allowing anglers to better maintain proper social distancing practices in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

Consistent with Governor Murphy’s orders that all New Jerseyans practice social distancing in order to limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), anglers must fish alone or with immediate family members and cannot fish in groups of any size (no matter how small), either on land or by boat. A minimum six-foot social distance between anglers must be maintained at all times. To disperse the fish and to help maintain social distancing among anglers, trout were released early and the NJ Fish and Game Council opened trout stocked waters for catch and release only for trout, from April 1 through April 10. Season, size, and creel limits for all other species apply, as well as any gear restrictions.

Anglers MUST NOT congregate in parking areas, boat ramps or at popular fishing locations. Conservation Police Officers, New Jersey State Park Police, and DEP staff are actively monitoring our parks and natural areas to ensure that individuals enjoying our natural resources are maintaining social distance. Any groups encountered will be instructed to disperse to maintain social distance, and if they do not comply, tickets will be issued by law enforcement.

2020 Spring Trout Information Here

COVID-19 Fishing Information

Purchase Your Freshwater licence online:

NJ Freshwater Fishing License Information(opens in a new tab)

Saltwater anglers don’t forget to register for free:

Don’t forget to register with NJ Salt Water Registry Here