Story by Tom Pagliaroli

The 2019 trout season kicks in at 8am this Saturday, and from all indications, it looks like not only a banner Opening Day, but a season as well.

Granted, on several venues such as Pohatcong Lake on Route 9 in downtown Tuckerton, you’ll be in stiff competition with a flock of aggressive, trout-eating cormorants that always appears within a day or two of the opener and hangs around for two, sometimes three weeks, significantly impacting trout numbers, but that’s how it goes. Pick your times, though, and you can put together a 6-fish limit catch no problem.

To be sure, there are good-to-excellent trout fishing opportunities in the 105.7 The Hawk listening area. While one does not normally associate the coastal counties with this kind of angling, the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife spreads enough rainbows around to make it worth the effort and the $10.50 Trout Stamp expenditure.

For those who prefer the more traditional stream fishing, there are the Manasquan, North and South Branches of the Meteconk, Shark and Toms rivers, in addition to the Hockhocksen and Mingamahone brooks.

Lake-wise, there are Prospertown, Shenadoah, Spring and the aforementioned Pohatcong.

All the trout being stocked are rainbows, with the average length 10.5-inches. However, for Opening Day, 2% of every load included a mix of 2-3 year old “spent” breeders anywhere from 16 to 22-inches and weighing to 5-plus pounds, so a surprise or two can be in store.

Following are the stocking numbers for the week of April 8-12 for the swims listed above.

Note: For the Manasquan, both stems of the Metedeconk, and the Toms, fishing is not allowed until 5pm on the day stocked. The Hockhocksen and  Mingamahone brooks, and the Shark River will not be dosed until the following week.

The numbers of ‘bows released are in parenthesis.

Monday, April 8: Manasquan River (1,090), Metedeconk South Branch (560), Metedeconk North Branch (360), Toms River (590), Lake Shenandoah (420), and Prospertown Lake (280).

Wednesday, April 10: Spring Lake (340) and Pohatcong Lake (470).

The daily limit through the Memorial Day weekend is 6 with a minimum length of 9-inches.

Photo by Tom P
Photo by Tom P

Power Perchin’: The white perch bite continues torrid on any number of tidal creeks, and it’s to the point that they are inhaling grass shrimp, and chunks of bloodworms or nightcrawlers, and small killies (“minnies” south of Barnegat Inlet) affixed to a jig head or under a bobber. The Toms River at Island Heights, Mathis and Huddy Parks and Beachwood is a sizzler, as is Mill Creek in Beach Haven, among a bunch of others.

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