NJDEP to hold Pequest Open House March 31 – April 1

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is pleased to announce it will hold its 25th annual Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center Open House on Saturday and Sunday March 31 and April 1. Hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Admission and parking are free.

The Open House is one of Fish and Wildlife's premier events and is annually held just prior to the opening day of trout season, which falls on April 7 this year. Open House has become a rite of spring for anglers anxious for the opening of trout season as well as people of all ages interested in the outdoors and our fish and wildlife resource.

The Open House is more than an opportunity to showcase the state of the art trout rearing facility at Pequest. There are many exciting things to see and do during the two day event. Making a return appearance this year as a feature attraction is the Hog Trough; a gigantic mobile fishing tank holding thousands of gallons of water and loaded with monster trout and warmwater game fish from the Pequest and Hackettstown hatcheries. Professional fishing demonstrations in the Trough are scheduled throughout the day, where visitors will see casting methods, learn effective fishing techniques and see how various lures work in the water. As an added bonus the youngster with the closest weight estimate of Bubba Trout will take home a donated trout rod and reel combo! This is a fascinating exhibit for everyone, anglers and non-anglers alike.

Kids between the ages of 8 and 16 can try their hand at trout fishing a week before the season opens in the Fishing Education Pond. They will be given expert instruction by staff, Wildlife Conservation Corps volunteers and volunteers from Trout Unlimited. Kids under 8 can try catching trout in the "Kiddie Fishing Tank". All fishing equipment will be provided.

Beginner archery and shotgun ranges will be set up in the fields near the hatchery for those wanting to try their hand at one of the shooting sports. Certified Hunter Education Instructors will be on hand to provide instruction, and ensure a safe program. Equipment will be provided. For experienced archers, a 3-D course will be set up in the woods, but you will need to bring your own archery equipment for this course.

Inside the Natural Resource Education Center, Fish and Wildlife staff and representatives from various conservation organizations will be on hand with exhibits and information on how they are helping to protect our natural resources. There will also be fly tying demonstrations and wildlife artists, carvers and taxidermists exhibiting their artwork and offering many items for sale.

Outside the main building, a Fishermen's Flea Market will be in full swing where great deals on new and used equipment, lures, gear and so much more can be found!! If you're looking to upgrade your fishing equipment, or if you're just starting out, you'll definitely want to check out the vendors here.

Food vendors will be available at the Open House, or you can bring your own lunch and enjoy one of the 3 picnic areas located on the 4,800-acre Pequest Wildlife Management Area.

The Open House is a fabulous way for people of all ages to celebrate spring's arrival, and families, friends, scout troops, church groups, fishing clubs and anyone else who enjoys the outdoors are encouraged to spend the day at this event in beautiful Warren County!

For more information call 908-637-4125 or view the on-line schedule of events at http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2012/peq_opnhse12_sched.pdf (pdf, 20kb).

The Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center is located 9 miles west of Hackettstown on Route 46 in scenic Warren County.

This message is also on the NJDFW website at http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2012/peqoh12.htm.

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