Free Fishing Day, Oct. 21, and Fall Trout Stocking

Oct 16, 2017

The fall trout season is underway as the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife begins stocking rivers, streams and lakes across the state with thousands of large, 2-year-old fish. And anyone can try their hand at freshwater fishing without having to purchase a fishing license or a trout stamp on Free Fishing Day, Saturday, Oct. 21. Other regulations, including size and daily catch limits, remain in effect.

Free Fishing Days provide a fantastic opportunity to sample fishing for a wide variety of fish, including trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel and numerous pan fish species. Hatchery-supported muskellunge, walleye, northern pike, channel catfish and hybrid striped bass fisheries are also thriving.

More than 20,000 2-year-old trout ranging from 14 inches up to 22 inches and weighing nearly 8 pounds will be stocked in rivers, lakes and streams throughout the state, including the Toms River in Ocean County. The trout are raised at the Pequest State Trout hatchery in Warren County.

“Many of the rivers to be stocked also have fish that were released previously, providing even more opportunities to catch bigger fish,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty. “Fall is a great time to seek solitude, join a buddy or bring out your family to cast for trout while enjoying the beauty of New Jersey’s great outdoors. There are few better ways to enjoy the change of seasons.”

There are no stocking closures during the fall, so waters can be fished at any time. Although all newly stocked fish are at least 12 inches in length, anglers are reminded that there is a 9-inch minimum size limit on trout in New Jersey. Anglers must immediately release fish smaller than the minimum size.

The complete list of fall trout stocked waters and the stocking schedule are available at or by calling the trout stocking hotline, 609-633-6765. Information about trout fishing and freshwater fishing, including regulations, fishing access points and trout fishing facts, can be found at

Except for Free Fishing Days, anyone age 16 or older must obtain a freshwater fishing license, and a trout stamp is required to fish for trout. People age 70 or older are also able to fish without a license.

Licenses and stamps may be obtained through agents statewide, including many bait and tackle shops. They can also be purchased online at

Anglers who have yet to purchase a 2017 freshwater fishing license also can introduce someone else to freshwater fishing by purchasing a “Fishing Buddy” license at a reduced rate. —P.J.

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