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Hackettstown Hatchery Fish Distribution and Stocking


In late summer and fall you might see the fleet of Hackettstown Hatchery tankers stocking fish in a lake, pond or river near you. In 2005, the four hatchery distribution trucks traveled over 20,000 miles on Garden State roads delivering fish for the public.

All fish raised at the Hackettstown facility are stocked in public waters within the state. Funding for hatchery operations comes from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program. Summaries of fish distributed over the years document the numbers and varieties stocked for recreational anglers.

Fish are stocked by hand, either from nets or by float stocking from boats. Along rivers, the trucks stop at a series of access points to distribute the fish.

Whenever possible, fish are float stocked, a labor-intensive method which helps ensure the success of the stockings and widely distributes the fish. Before stocking begins the temperatures are taken in both the tanker and the water body. If temperatures are within 5 degrees of each other it is safe to stock the fish. If the temperatures are too far apart the fish may suffer thermal shock. To prevent thermal shock hatchery workers add water from the water body to the tank or live well to temper the tank water. Hatchery workers then unload the fish from the distribution trucks into a small live well on a boat.

Unloading stocking truck
Fish are unloaded from a tanker
Click to enlarge

The fish are distributed in small quantities by netting them out of the moving boat close to shore where there is cover and weedlines to allow them to acclimate to their new environment. Organizations such as the Knee Deep Club and Muskies, Inc., have helped the hatchery with float stocking operations for the past few years. In years to come these fish will provide excellent fishing for anglers young and old.

To find a public fishing area near you see Places to Fish on our web site. Chances are some of the fish you'll catch had their start at the Hackettstown Hatchery!

For enlarged photos of the images below, click on the image.
Netting fish from truck
A net of fish is readied
Pike stocked in Passaic River
Northern pike are stocked in the Passaic River
Float stocking walleye
Walleye are stocked in Monksville Reservoir
Float stocking muskies
Muskies are stocked in Echo Lake Reservoir

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2006
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: June 23, 2006