Opening day will be marked by ceremonial first casting of lines by military veterans at the Pequest Trout Hatchery in Oxford. Some 100 veterans are expected to attend, Martin said.
“The opening day of spring trout season is the most eagerly awaited day of the year for freshwater anglers,” Commissioner Martin said. “There is something truly special about getting outside, fishing rod in hand, and soaking up the beauty of our state while anticipating reeling in a magnificent trout.
“We are happy to be stocking more than a half-million trout this season for fishing enthusiasts and families to enjoy,” Martin said.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife has been busily stocking waterways with 180,000 rainbow trout raised at the Pequest Trout Hatchery. In total, some 570,000 hatchery-raised trout will be released in 200 streams, rivers, lakes and ponds throughout the state by the end of May. Most of the released trout will average 10½ inches long, but large breeders measuring 15 inches to 21 inches and weighing up to 5 pounds will also be distributed in the early weeks of the season, Martin said.
“New Jersey offers some of the best trout fishing on the East Coast, and has one of the best trout stocking programs found anywhere,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty. “We are looking forward to another great spring.”
Veterans and active military personnel will help kick off the official opening of trout season when they cast into the Pequest Trout Hatchery’s Fishing Education Pond in a special DEP event. Participants will include members of Project Healing Waters and a local Wounded Warriors chapter, as well as veterans and active duty military personnel to kick off the season at 8 a.m.
“Each year Pequest welcomes anglers from a different community to celebrate opening day of trout season,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “The DEP and the Division of Fish and Wildlife are proud to have some of our nation’s heroes make the ceremonial first casts of the season.”