Fishing in New Jersey

Cast for stripers in the surf along the Jersey Shore, battle a bluefish off the coast, or spend an idyllic day on an inland reservoir or secluded trout stream: the Garden State offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities.
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About New Jersey

It might be one of the smallest and most densely populated states in the USA, but New Jersey offers nearly endless fishing opportunities, both saltwater and freshwater. From spring migrations of American shad in the Delaware River to striped-bass along the Atlantic Coast, there's something for all anglers. Whether it's surf fishing from the beach, miles of native trout streams, lunker bass lakes, or pulling yellow perch through the ice, New Jersey anglers have some of the widest varieties of fishing opportunities available anywhere. The state is bordered by the Delaware River on the west and by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, with hundreds of miles of rivers and streams and large reservoirs in between, providing something for every angler. There is good access to fishing in most areas of the state, with hundreds of boat ramps, piers, and jetties that are open to the public, as well as miles of public beaches and waters in wildlife management areas, state parks, and forests.

Fishing Types

No matter what type of fishing you enjoy, you’ll find a great spot to do it in New Jersey. Saltwater fishing is second to none along the Atlantic Coast; if you prefer to target tuna or billfish, you’ll want to hire acharter and head out into blue waters for some deep-sea fishing. There is plenty of inshore fishing opportunity as well, with schools of billfish often breaking right off the coast. Fishing from jetties and piers is a big draw, and surf fishing is enormously popular along the beach, with striped bass the ultimate prize for the surfcaster. If you are a freshwater fisherman, you’re also in luck. Large reservoirs such as Lake Hoptacong, Round Valley Reservoir, and Merrill Creek Reservoir provide opportunities to fish from a boat or the shoreline, or you can fly-fish in one of the state’s heavily stocked rivers, such as the Raritan and Musconetcong. While New Jersey’s winters aren’t extremely cold, the weather does get frigid enough to freeze many ponds and reservoirs. Ice fishermen pull yellow perch, walleyes, trout, and pike through the ice during much of the winter.

Targeted Fish Species

Freshwater gamefish present in New Jersey include largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel, muskie, carp, channel catfish, lake trout, landlocked salmon, crappie, perch, sunfish, walleye, northern pike. In colder waters, you’ll find brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Some of New Jersey’s more popular saltwater species include black drum, black sea bass, bluefish, bonito, cod, croaker, mahi mahi, false albacore, fluke (summer flounder), kingfish, mackerel, marlin, porgy, sharks, striped bass, swordfish, tautog, tuna, weakfish, whiting, and winter flounder.

Fishing Techniques

Bait-fishing or casting and retrieving bucktails in the surf along New Jersey’s many miles of beautiful beaches is a classic Jersey Shore fishing experience. You can also flyfish along the coast; for a unique experience, try casting in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty in Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Bottom-fish for flounder in the Delaware Bay, or troll for big tuna offshore. Cast bass lures along submerged timber and other structure in New Jersey’s lunker bass lakes, or drift a nymph through a riffle in a secluded river for trout. Each of these techniques will produce well in the waters of the Garden State.