That’s until 8am next Thursday, April 1, the first of two “opening days” of the statewide trout season.

The second opener will be Saturday, April 10, also with an 8am start time.

The difference? The April 1-9 is catch-and-release only; the second is when you can put trout on the stringer or in the bucket. Catch-and-keep, so to speak.

Get our free mobile app

This is the second consecutive year that the Division of Fish & Wildlife decided, with social distancing at the fore, and in order to avoid the oftentimes shoulder-to-shoulder opening day scenario, to split the opener and thus spread out the crowds.

We’ll get more into this in a future blog, but the bottom line is that for the past two weeks and continuing through next Wednesday, the Pequest Hatchery trucks have been rolling, delivering, with the exception of 16 select rivers that will be dosed again the week of May 10-14, the full springtime trout allocation in one massive shot. For example, today, March 24, Ponderlodge Pond in the Villas in Cape May County, will receive its April-May payload of 1,990 rainbow trout.

This topic will be covered in more detail next week.

Tom Pagliaroli

The stickler is that there are any number of venues in the southern tier counties that, while being stocked with trout, also offer good-to-excellent angling for largemouth bass, chain pickerel, a variety of panfish during the early spring warm up. However, these are “rods off” venues until April 1. The roster is available at www.njfishandwildlife.com. These swims are supposed to be posted with “Trout Stocked Water” signs, but word is that:

  1. There are not as many posters available as in previous ears .
  2. The conservation officers charged with posting these are a bit behind schedule replacing last year’s.

The “But there was no sign,” excuse doesn’t wash if caught fishing a stocked water prior to April Fools Day. The signs will be up at all receiving trout, most likely by this weekend. Feeling lucky? Then cast at your own peril.

KEEP READING: See how animals around the world are responding to COVID-19

 

LOOK: Here are copycat recipes from 20 of the most popular fast food restaurants in America