|New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife|
October 31, 2003
Each fall the Division aims to release about 38,000 channel cats, alternating each year between water bodies in the eastern half of the state and water bodies in the western half. As a result, the Division stocks 93 different water bodies throughout the stateís 21 counties on a biennial basis.
The stocked fish are raised at the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery. The warm water (80 degrees) circulating in this state-of-the-art fish culture facility allows for them to reach their targeted goal of 7 inches in only 3Ĺ months.
Channel catfish spawn in late June and early July when water temperatures reach about 80 degrees. Hatching in just 5-7 days, they are raised intensively (indoors) in 80-degree water and can grow as much as half an inch per week. These fish need to reach the 7-inch target length and 10 fish per pound by the middle of October in order to have enough body weight to survive their first winter in the wild.
The channel catfish is a highly prized sportfish and its exceptional fighting qualities are renown. They can be caught with lures as well as live bait and are generally found in slow moving or still waters with muddy or soft bottoms. Preferring to feed at the waterís floor, they are most active after dark.
The very distinctive channel cat brandishes at least two pairs of whiskers, several spiny fins, numerous sharp teeth and a characteristic lack of external scales on the body or head. Highly developed sensory cells cover the skin providing a sense of taste that extends over the body making this species less dependent on sight and smell than most other fish.
The state record channel catfish is 33 pounds, 3 ounces taken from Lake Hopatcong in 1978.
Division fisheries biologists are aware of the success of the catfish stocking program in several of these water bodies, but there are still many waters where angler feedback is needed. In order for this program to continue, it is important for anglers to report their catches of channel catfish in all stocked waters, especially those marked with an asterisk on the following page. Please contact the Lebanon Fisheries Lab by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone at 908-236-2118, or by mail to: P.O. Box 394, Lebanon, NJ 08833. Anglers should also check the Divisionís website at www.njfishandwildlife.com over the next few weeks for a special survey where they can report their catches online.
The release of channel catfish was as follows:
Date Water Body Location # Fish 10/17 Lake Hopatcong Hopatcong/Morris Co. 5370 Total 5370 10/21 Furnace Lake Oxford/Warren Co. 795 *Delaware Lake Knowlton/Warren Co. 900 Columbia Lake Columbia/Warren Co. 1375 Swartswood Lake Stillwater/Sussex Co. 1235 Spruce Run Reservoir Clinton/Hunterdon Co. 2064 Total 6369 10/22 *Jefferson Lake Lockwood/Sussex Co. 1150 *Mount Hope Pond Mount Hope/Morris Co. 450 Speedwell Lake Morristown/Morris Co. 575 *Lake Ames Hibernia/Morris Co. 400 D&R Canal 3-mile Zarephath/Somerset Co. 740 D&R Canal 10-mile Griggstown/Somerset Co. 1150 Total 4465 10/23 Carnegie Lake Princeton/Mercer Co. 2370 *Manalapan Lake Jamesburg/Middlesex Co. 1000 Mercer Lake Mercerville/Mercer Co. 2062 *Gropps Lake Whitehorse/Mercer Co. 650 *Peddie Lake Hightstown/Mercer Co. 400 Rosedale Lake Rosedale/Mercer Co. 750 Allentown Pond Allentown/Monmouth Co. 875 Total 8107 10/27 *Mirror Lake Browns Mill/Burlington Co. 2500 *Swedes Lake Delran/Burlington Co. 1125 *Greenwich Lake Greenwich/Gloucester Co. 500 *Swedesboro Lake Swedesboro/Gloucester Co. 500 Total 4625 10/28 *Giampetro Park Pond Vineland/Cumberland Co. 275 *Shaws Mill Pond Newport/Cumberland Co. 750 Mary Elmer Lake Bridgeton/Cumberland Co. 450 Sunset Lake Bridgeton/Cumberland Co. 1760 *Thundergut Lake Centerton/Salem Co. 350 *Elmer Lake Elmer/Salem Co. 1100 Total 4685 10/29 *Franklinville Lake Franklinville/Gloucester Co. 450 *Harrisonville Lake Harrisonville/Gloucester Co. 750 *Iona Lake Porchtown/Gloucester Co. 900 *Woodstown Lake Woodstown/Salem Co. 500 Bostwick Lake Friesburg/Cumberland Co. 800 *Hammonton Lake Hammonton/Atlantic Co. 1500 Total 4900 Grand Total 38521