“There is certainly something in angling that produces a serenity of the mind.”
–Henry David Thoreau
If you’re not familiar with the term “angling” in Thoreau’s quote, it’s just another name for good old-fashioned fishing. Despite being one of the most densely populated areas of NJ, Union County is home to hundreds of acres of beautiful parkland, and within these nature preserves are many ponds and lakes and rivers where anglers can cast out and enjoy some really great fishing!
Children under 16 years of age and adults over 70 do not require a fishing license, but everyone 16-69 does need to obtain a license for freshwater fishing in NJ. A license is less than $30 for the year, so it won’t break the bank. (The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife also regularly schedules two days of free adult fishing every June, when no license is required.) You can purchase a fishing license at the Union Dick’s Sporting Goods or the Union Wal-Mart, both located on Route 22. And if you’re not game for digging up your own worms, you can purchase live worm bait in Wal-Mart–they’re stored in cups in a small fridge within the sporting goods section!
The Division of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks trout in the waterways in our area to ensure that it’s worth breaking out your trusty rod and reel! Some of the stocked areas include: Echo Lake, Nomahegan Park, sections of the Rahway River (in Clark, Cranford, and Rahway), Seeleys Pond in Scotch Plains, and Warinanco Park Pond in Roselle Park. Besides trout, I hear that sunfish are aplenty at our local ponds, and one gentleman I spoke with at Lenape Park said he continually sees a particularly large carp, “the one that got away.”
Every year the Newark Bait and Fly Casting Club hosts a 3-week long Fishing Derby at Echo Lake in Mountainside. This year the event will run from April 16th to May 7th. Children should register on April 16th between 8 am and 2 pm at the Gazebo at the lower lake to receive a gift bag and be entered in the Derby. Prizes are awarded in various categories at their ceremony in June. What a great way to introduce your kids to fishing!
Another local fishing group is Rahway River Trout Unlimited (http://www.rr-tu.org), which is a great resource for fly-fisherman, as they host frequent fly-tying meetings. They’ve also been know to host their own children’s fishing derby at Nomahegan Park.
For more information about NJ fishing regulations, visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/fishing.htm?prompt=0. And if you do make a great catch nearby, make sure to share a photo with us!