New from Fish & Wildlife: The Wildlife Habitat Supporter Program

As I mentioned in my 2022 Goals post, I want to make sure to advocate for our open spaces. The NJ Fish and Wildlife has announced a new program to do just that; The Wildlife Habitat Supporter Program.

Wildlife Habitat Program

When I first saw this posted on social media, I was immediately excited to find a new way to help support our wildlife, open spaces, and native species. However, it didn’t take long for the cynic in me to wonder about a few things. Let’s face it. There isn’t a politician in New Jersey that doesn’t love the idea of a new fund to raid. It’s like breaking the piggy bank. I also wondered if there is a plan to share how the funds are used.

So I went straight to the source. I contacted New Jersey Fish and Wildlife directly and raised my concerns. Their answers:

“Funds donated to the Wildlife Habitat Supporter Program are deposited into a dedicated account used by the Division of Fish and Wildlife specifically for the management of New Jersey’s wildlife resources and enforcement of fish and wildlife regulations. As the program moves forward, we will definitely feature projects on the Division’s website and social media that benefit from the program”

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have another way to support our open spaces, native species, and regulation enforcement. I am definitely going to donate and I hope you will too!

Planning on Fishing? Make sure to Get a License

Fishing season opens this weekend in New Jersey; a wonderful time of year! My husband and I just love getting out to the awesome open spaces all around New Jersey and fly fishing different fresh water locations. There is one important step many people skip, however. Buying a New Jersey fishing license.

Rockaway Borough

I can’t believe the number of anglers I see out fishing without a license. I also see plenty of people with their chum buckets taking tons of fish that shouldn’t be removed. Sadly, many of these anglers (and I use that term loosely) do not know the regulations, take whatever they like, and often, leave trash behind. When these locations are over-fished, it takes a long time for them to come back and get healthy again.

Every year my husband and I make sure to purchase our fishing licenses and display them properly as required by law when we are out fishing. We even purchase the trout stamp, even though we don’t harvest fish. Why you might ask? Let me explain.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife works hard to protect our open spaces, which includes stocking fish, checking licenses during hunting and fishing seasons, and offering education programs for adults and children. Fees collected from licenses help to continue the various programs conducted by Fish and Wildlife.

Conservation Officers are spread very thin throughout the state. It is on us to be caretakers of the resources in New Jersey.  If you see someone taking part in illegal behavior, such as poaching or other “wildlife crimes,” contact Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-855-OGT-TIPS. If you see any ENVIRONMENTAL emergencies, call the 24 hr. DEP HOTLINE at 1-877-WARN-DEP.

And if you are going to go fishing, spend the money and get your license. Fish legally. If you see trash when you are out, pick it up and carry it out. Try and help out where you can and leave the space better than how you found it. Be a good steward of our open spaces.

Get Outdoors this Weekend!

In case you haven’t noticed, I love the outdoors of New Jersey! There are hundreds of different opportunities to enjoy nature in this state. Well, this weekend there are two events that you should get out and enjoy!

First, this weekend is “free fishing weekend” in New Jersey. That’s right – no license or trout stamp required to fish New Jersey’s waters this weekend, June 14 & 15. It’s a perfect time for families and friends to discover the simple pleasures of fishing and enjoying time together in the outdoors.

For information on where to go and the great variety of fish available, visit the Division of Fish and Wildlife Web site, http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/fishing_fresh.htm. There you’ll find links to a wealth of information on fishing in New Jersey, with very specific information on where to fish for trout and the various warmwater fish stocked throughout the state. There are three regional brochures available to help you find lakes and ponds with the fish you seek just a short drive away. The regional brochures contain information on each water’s acreage, the nearest town, site amenities, boat and shoreline fishing, the fish available and fishing tips for each species.

Take advantage of these special days to introduce someone to fishing in New Jersey – chances are they’ll be thanking you for the rest of their lives.  Visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ffd.htm for more information.

OK, so you want to go fishing, but maybe you aren’t sure how to get started. There’s a great open house taking place on Saturday, June 14th at White Water Flies on Rt 15 in Lafayette. You can try out different rods, enjoy some wine tasting, and pick up everything you need to have a successful weekend of fishing! I will be there with my husbanding representing Shu-Fly rods, providing fly casting instruction. We will also have our fly tying book on hand, Ten Flies, Simple Ties.

So that sounds like a perfect weekend to me. Make sure to stop by and say hi before you head out fishing!