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Go Fishing in NJ!

child fishingUpdated June 2013

Kids under 16 can always fish without a license, and although adults can't, it is a great opportunity for families to enjoy an inexpensive outdoor activity. It’s easier than you think to get started. Just ask Metuchen dad Matt Flood, a former NYC boy who wanted to get his 4- and 5-year-old outside and away from the TV. He bought two kids’ fishing rods and bait and took the kids to a nearby park with a pond. They caught lots of sunfish and a couple of trout and now look forward to the activity every spring. One of the best parts, Flood says, is seeing the kids’ pride when they make a catch. 

New Jersey offers more than 400 publicly accessible lakes, ponds, and reservoirs where families can fish. How to choose a good one? Al Ivany, principal biologist at the NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife, suggests starting with a small pond or lake. We found fishy waters in each of eight counties of north and central New Jersey. They are also within walking distance to kid-friendly amenities like playgrounds, boat rentals, and (unless otherwise noted) the most important amenity of all: restrooms!

For instant access to more information about these parks, visit the Jersey Jaunts section of our website for website links. 

Bergen

Dahnert’s Lake, Garfield 

Wild Duck Pond, Saddle River County Park, Ridgewood

Essex

Grover Cleveland Park Pond, Caldwell

Verona Park Lake 

Mercer

Lake Mercer, Mercer County Park, West Windsor 

Rosedale Lake, Rosedale Park, Hopewell Township

Middlesex

Manalapan Lake, Thompson Park, Monroe Township

Roosevelt Park Pond, Edison Township 

Morris

Sunrise Lake, Lewis Morris County Park, Morristown 

Saffin Pond, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, Jefferson Township (Note: restrooms not nearby) 

Passaic

Barbour Pond, Garret Mountain Reservation, Paterson/Woodland Park area 

Somerset

Mettlers Pond, Powder Mill Pond, and Spooky Brook Pond, Colonial Park, East Millstone 

Union

Echo Lake (Upper and Lower), Mountainside 

Warinanco Park Pond, Roselle 

Visit the NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife website for a full list of waterways 
and up-to-date fishing info. 

Renée Sagiv Riebling is a freelance writer from central New Jersey. She and her husband and two children are always on the lookout for new adventures.

Where's your favorite spot to fish in NJ? Please share below!

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