It’s the day we wait for all spring. You’ll find us lined up as we count down the minutes to 8:00 a.m., Saturday, April 8, 2023. Better known as opening day for fishing season in New Jersey.
I’ll be honest though. I haven’t gone fishing on opening day in years. I refer to it as “amateur hour.” Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the chance of a hook in the ear is not exactly my idea of a good time.
Wait until all the bright-and-early anglers catch their limit and head out and chances are you’ll have plenty of space in the afternoon.
I would like to provide some suggestions so you have a happy and safe opening day and fishing season.
Get your license!
First and foremost, purchase a fishing license. You don’t even need to head to the store. You can purchase it online at the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife website. Not only is it the law, the money from that license purchase will go right back into the resources we enjoy.
And while you are at it, check out this year’s New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Digest. It is full of useful information about stocked bodies of water and updated regulations.
It also has very interesting information about brook trout conservation zones. The brook trout, my favorite species by the way, is the official state fish of New Jersey.
If you read a blog post by me last year, I took a bad fall while out fishing. After fishing and following common-sense fishing safety guidelines for decades, I didn’t follow our own advice, face-planted on a rock, and broke my jaw in three places. Learn from my accident. Make sure you wear appropriate footwear, use either trekking poles or a wading staff while out in nature, and wear eye protection. Make sure you tell someone where you are going to fish if you are heading out alone, so if you are late getting home, they know where to look for you in case you are in need to help.
Keep it Clean
During lockdown, many discovered what wonderful parks we have in New Jersey. Sadly, not everyone treated those special open places properly. Garbage was left behind, rocks were disturbed in bodies of water, and fires were even set. It was incredibly sad to see. So make sure to carry in/carry out when you go out to fish. Collect your tippet material as you tie on new flies, and if you see a ball of monofilament or a stray soda can, pick it up on the way back to your car. Leave the open space you visit cleaner than when you arrived.
Visit the Pequest
One of my favorite places to visit is the Pequest Trout Hatchery in Oxford, New Jersey. You can see first-hand how fish are milked for eggs, observe them as they grow in the Hatchery’s raceways, and learn about a variety of outdoor topics. They offer classes on fly tying, angling basics, and even outdoor craft programs! It is an amazing place with something for every member of the family.
Have a Great Time!
Heading out to fish, hike, hunt, Geocache, or something else, have a great time! While many think New Jersey is nothing more than the Turnpike and Newark Airport, we residents know better. We have wonderful open spaces, beautiful lakes, and sandy beaches. Go out and enjoy!