Favorite Recreational Fishing Spots in NJ

New Jersey is home to hundreds of ponds, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and coastal regions filled with numerous species of fish. Whether baiting your first hook or an experienced angler, you’re sure to find an ideal location to cast your line in these fresh and saltwater wonders.

Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, Monmouth County
Saltwater anglers are hooked on the Sandy Hook Unit. This northern barrier ocean beach is one of three units that make up the 27,000-acre Gateway National Recreation Area. In addition to being a popular spot for birding, hiking, swimming, sunbathing and kayaking, it’s also a prime saltwater fishing location. The Sandy Hook Unit is recognized for its tautog and striped bass fishing. Also known to frequent these waters: bluefish, cod, flounder, weakfish, pollock and whiting. Cast away.

Island Beach State Park, Ocean County 
Island Beach State Park is a favorite among saltwater anglers, especially those interested in striped bass and bluefish. Flounder and weakfish are also reeled in frequently from the surf. This barrier island features close to ten miles of sandy beach and recreation along Barnegat Bay. Since 1991, the park has hosted the annual Governors Surf Fishing Tournament to catch the largest fish of any species. Insider tip: in season, fishing for tautog along the north jetty of Barnegat Inlet can be very rewarding. 

Point Pleasant Beach, Ocean County
Nestled in Ocean County, Point Pleasant is another hot spot among anglers who favor saltwater fishing. Those who prefer surf fishing will find many locations along the beach and boardwalk to set up their rod and cast away. Fishing by boat in these salty waters offers many fishing opportunities as well. Whether you bait your hook on the surf or on boat, expect to reel in a variety of ocean fish, including bluefish, striped bass and weakfish. Other catches worth bragging about may include fluke, sea bass and flounder.

Lake Hopatcong, Morris County
Regarded as New Jersey’s largest freshwater lake, this scenic waterway is a year-round hot spot for many species of fish. During the spring, the lake is stocked with brown, rainbow and brook trout. Warm water species commonly caught include largemouth bass, sunfish and catfish. Fall is the best time to fish for muskellunge and channel catfish. And be sure to stop back in winter to ice fish for perch and pickerel. Surrounded by nature and easily accessible by boat launch, this lake is an angler’s delight.

The Delaware River, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer & Salem counties
When you visit New Jersey, be sure to plan a fishing trip here. Receiving top marks from both locals and tourists, the river is home to muskellunge, trout, channel catfish and a large population of migrating shad. The migration takes place in the spring as these saltwater fish move to the freshwater of the Delaware River to spawn. The river flows 330 miles and winds past several places to cast from bank or boat. Boat launches are varied and vast – what more could an angler ask for?

Union Lake, Cumberland County
Situated on 5,000 scenic acres in historic Millville, this massive, man-made lake is home to 900 acres of water filled with fish. A lot of them. On any given fishing day, anglers can be seen reeling in large and smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, white perch, yellow perch and chain pickerel both on and offshore. Boat Launches make exploring the many islands here a breeze. Birdwatchers, be on the lookout for bald eagles, belted kingfisher, osprey, ducks and wild turkeys. 

Angling for even more details? Check out the New Jersey Fish & Wildlife website. Wherever you decide to bait your hook, be sure to look up the latest local updates for current availability and guidelines. For the best catch in trip planning, download your FREE Travel Guide and sign up for our e-newsletter at VisitNJ.org.