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[C] Freshwater | Mission And Work




Fish and Wildlife is responsible for the protection and management of the aquatic resources in the state’s 26,000 miles of freshwater streams and over 400 public lakes. A great emphasis is placed on monitoring water quality, wild fish populations, and protecting and enhancing their habitats. With two state-of-the- art fish hatcheries, the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery and the Pequest Trout Hatchery, the agency coordinates the stocking of more than 2,000,000 fish annually to enhance fishing opportunities throughout the state. In coordination with the New Jersey Fish and Game Council, Fish and Wildlife establishes creel limits, and administers permits for the protection of the state’s freshwater resources.


Highlights of current, past and ongoing activities.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. NJDEP’s Fish and Wildlife is very interested in public comments, input, and opinions about the freshwater resources found in NJ.

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frequently asked questions

This may be the most frequently asked question in recent years. Brown trout will be reintroduced to the Pequest Hatchery once the raceways are covered. Although there are select strains of brown trout that are resistant to furunculosis — the disease that necessitated euthanizing nearly 230,000 trout at Pequest — it’s important to know that other pathogens also pose a potential fish health threat. Covering the raceways is the best protection we can provide for the hatchery’s valuable fish stock. Covers prevent pathogens from being introduced by birds that regularly prey on raceway trout despite the numerous deterrent devices already in place. There are no plans to bring back brook trout. However, in the future, Fish and Wildlife may investigate other trout strains to provide a diverse fishing experience for our coldwater anglers.
Do NOT release a fish that looks ill or diseased! Please keep the fish and report it to our fish pathologist at (908) 637-4173 ext. 120 or to any of the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries offices at (908) 236-2118 for north Jersey, (609) 259- 6964 for central Jersey and (856) 629-4950 for south Jersey.
Fish are an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients, are low in fat and cholesterol and can play a role in maintaining a healthy diet. However, some species of fish, or species in certain waters, may contain high levels of environmental contaminants. The NJDEP provides guidance on limitations to consumption. Moderation is important. Be aware that certain waterbodies may have different advisories than the general advisories. Refer to for the most current information on consumption advisories for the waterbodies you fish.

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2023
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625
Last Update: January 23rd, 2023