Fishing has been one of my passions since I was a little kid thanks to my dad and my uncles taking me fishing in both fresh and saltwater. I've been able to do the same with my kids as well.

Fishing is a great activity for all ages. It makes you appreciate nature and gives you a sense of how things live and grow in the wild. Trout fishing in New Jersey with rare exceptions is a matter of NJ Fish and Wildlife stocking the abundant ponds and lakes in our great state.

Opening day is this Saturday, April 6, 2024. You'll need a valid New Jersey fishing license if you're between the ages of 16 and 70.

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Most Walmart stores sell N.J. fishing licenses. You can also find them at sporting goods stores like Dick's, and even at some farm markets and gas stations. Full information and lists of license locations can be found here by county and you can also obtain a license online. Opening day can be hectic and crowded.

The trick is to find a spot where there won't be a lot of people, but this is New Jersey, so good luck. Here is a list of stocked waters for trout by county. 

If you're pretty good with maps, this might help. The fish are pretty plentiful at the very start of the season. If there is a lot of activity in and around the water, they may get spooked, so first thing in the morning or near dusk would be best.

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There are some very tried and true lures that are great for trout everywhere. You can find some here. One of my favorites is the rooster tail spinning lure. 

Lures can take a lot of work and practice on how to use them. If you're fishing with little kids or someone not too experienced at casting lures, bait you can just put on a hook and wait for a bite is also good.

Anything for trout by PowerBait is usually good. This video shows some of the most effective bait and will whet your appetite for this coming weekend and fishing season. Catch em up!

What's been killing all the fish in NJ waterways?

Since November, there have been numerous instances of dead menhaden washing ashore or floating in waterways, including in the Raritan Bay and the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers.

Gallery Credit: The Associated Press

The bass are biting in New Jersey fresh waters

Starting in mid to late May the largemouth bass started biting on my favorite lake. I finally got a chance to get out and see how good the fishing is this year and it didn't take long to catch. I got two bass in the first 10 minutes on the lake. We used to fish exclusively with live bait, either worms, nightcrawlers (the bigger worms), or minnows. That got too easy and it's not what "real" fishermen do.

It's more of a sport if you fool the fish into biting your hook with the right lure and the proper presentation. You have to figure out what they would be feeding on that time of year, pick a lure that resembles that and finesse it in a way that makes it look enticing to the fish. To most people, this is a stupid waste of time, but to those of us who caught the fishing bug as a kid or an adult, it's almost addictive. OK, it is addictive.

Most people look at a body of water such as a pond, lake, river, or stream and admire it for its natural beauty. Fishermen try to figure out what kind of fish are below the surface and what would be the best spot to catch them. If you have small kids and you know how to fish, you can create amazing memories and give a great lesson on nature. My dad and my uncles did that for me and those of some of the best memories of my childhood.

There are so many different kinds of fish and fishing in New Jersey's fresh waters. We usually think of fishing at the Jersey Shore, but there are plenty of fishing opportunities not far from where you live. Make sure you know a few simple rules and ask a local tackle shop for some good advice on what to buy and where to go, and you're good to go. It's a great way to enjoy the diversity of landscapes we have here and challenge yourself a little.

I challenged myself for the first time this season to try and catch a few bass on Thursday afternoon right before the rain and thunderstorms and had success right away in one of my favorite fishing holes in Medford.

Gallery Credit: Dennis Malloy

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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