Every year the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center opens to the public for its annual Open House, which usually takes place the weekend before Trout Season opens. This year, the Open House will be two weeks before the Opening Day of Trout Season, on March 23 and 24, due to the Easter holiday.
The Open House allows the Division of Fish and Wildlife to show off the trout they raise at their state of the art Pequest Trout Hatchery and it also serves as a reminder that spring is just around the corner. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of trout production at Pequest. The newly renovated Exhibit Hall will be reopened for the event.
Each year, thousands of people come to the hatchery and the Division of Fish and Wildlife strives to make this a bigger event than the year before. This year is no different, and instead of just focusing on fish, they will be inviting many different outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists.
This event is great for people of all ages and there are so many things to see and do throughout the day. The 2013 Open House will be held March 23 & 24 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily to celebrate the beginning of trout season and spring.
Kids between the ages of 8 and 16 can try their hand at trout fishing before the season opens in the Fishing Education Pond. They will be given expert instruction by the staff, Wildlife Conservation Corps volunteers and volunteers from Trout Unlimited. Kids under 8 can try catching one of the trout in the "Kiddie Fishing Tank". All equipment is supplied. Displays will be set up about fisheries management, aquatic insects and much more.
In the fields along the roadway, beginner archery and shotgun ranges will be set up. There will also be running shotgun and archery field sessions during the event so students can work on their Hunter Education Course.
Inside the Natural Resource Education Center, visit with representatives from various conservation groups and learn how they are helping to protect our natural resources. There will also be ongoing fly tying demonstrations and many different wildlife artists, carvers and taxidermists will be here with their artwork and equipment for sale. Don't forget to look inside the newly renovated Exhibit Hall which will reopen on the Open House weekend and learn about the history of Pequest and what they do there. For even more information about the hatchery, don't forget to take the self-guided tour of the facility, where everything will be in full swing in anticipation of the upcoming trout season.
Just outside the main building, the Fishing Flea Market is sure to offer some good deals on both new and used equipment, lures, gear and much more! So if you're looking to upgrade your fishing equipment or if you're just starting out, you'll want to check out the vendors here. Be sure you stop by the giant mobile aquarium located just outside the main building for a look at some of New Jersey's fish.
There will be food vendors on hand at the event or you can bring your own lunch and enjoy one of the 3 picnic areas nestled in the heart of the Pequest Valley.
The Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center is located 9 miles west of Hackettstown on Route 46 in Warren County. Come for a family or group outing during the Open House or anytime throughout the year. For more information on public or group visitation/programs call 908-637-4125 or see the on-line schedule of public programs.