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Old 05-18-2006, 10:32 AM
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Default Landlocked Salmon Arrives In New Jersey


TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced that landlocked salmon are being stocked in two New Jersey freshwater lakes for the first time in more than 50 years.

"For countless anglers, the opportunity to catch this hard-fighting sport fish close to home is a dream come true," Commissioner Jackson said. "We're excited about bringing this species back to New Jersey's waters."

The DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife this afternoon released more than 1,000 salmon into Lake Wawayanda at Wawayanda State Park and another 400 fish into Lake Aeroflex at Kittatinny Valley State Park. The waters, both in Sussex County, are among only a few deep lakes in New Jersey with suitable year-round habitat for cold-water fish such as landlocked salmon and trout.

These spring yearlings, which are the lake-dwelling variety of Atlantic salmon, are free surplus from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game. Hatched from eggs taken from mature females, the salmon are now 1½ years old and measure nearly 8 inches.

Native to eastern Canada and Maine, landlocked salmon have been successfully introduced into suitable waters in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. Salmon were stocked in several New Jersey waters more than a half-century ago, and the historical state record for landlocked salmon is an 8-pound fish caught from Lake Aeroflex in 1951.

The salmon initially will feed on aquatic insects. As they reach 12 inches toward summer's end, the salmon will shift to a diet of alewives, which are plentiful in both lakes. Regulations allow anglers to keep two salmon per day at 12 inches or more, giving anglers opportunities this fall and winter to catch fish that commonly range from 12 inches to 17 inches and occasionally even larger ones, which typically weigh about 3 pounds.

Fish and Wildlife will maintain the landlocked salmon populations by releasing annually spring yearlings from Massachusetts. Though mature salmon may migrate into the inlets and outlets and attempt to spawn, it is unlikely that natural reproduction would produce enough fish to sustain the fisheries.

Both Lake Wawayanda, which is 80 feet deep, and the 101-foot-deep Lake Aeroflex (also known as New Wawayanda Lake), currently are stocked with brown trout and rainbow trout and managed to provide good trout fisheries through the holdover trout lakes regulation.

Landlocked salmon are closely related to brown trout, and anglers may have difficulty telling them apart. Because size and creel limits differ for salmon and trout, anglers should know how to identify them and, to comply with regulations, quickly release salmon smaller than 12 inches.

The most obvious differences between salmon and brown trout can be seen in the head and tail. A salmon's tail is forked, for example, and a brown trout's tail is square. Posters detailing the characteristics are prominently displayed at each lake, and fliers are available in the park offices.

Both state parks have boat ramps and ample parking. Boat rentals are also available seasonally at Lake Wawayanda. Only electric motors are permitted at both lakes. A park entrance fee is charged at Wawayanda State Park from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. There is no fee to launch boats at Lake Aeroflex. Lake Wawayanda is open to fishing from dawn to dusk, and fishing is allowed on Lake Aeroflex 24 hours per day.

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~Henry David Thoreau
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