If you’re a seafood lover in New Jersey, you might be wondering where you can catch shrimp.
Luckily, the Garden State has a variety of habitats where these tasty crustaceans can be found. From lagoons to creeks to irrigation ditches, there are plenty of places to cast your line and reel in some fresh shrimp.
But before you head out, it’s important to know the different types of shrimp that call New Jersey home and the regulations surrounding their harvest.
In this article, we’ll explore the best places to catch shrimp in New Jersey and what you need to know before you go. So grab your fishing gear and let’s dive in!
Where To Catch Shrimp In New Jersey?
New Jersey is home to a variety of shrimp species, including the tiny Shore Shrimp or Grass Shrimp, which are the most numerous in inshore waters. These shrimp can be found clinging to pilings and rocks, or in eelgrass and seaweed. Sand Shrimps also occur in small numbers among the much more common Shore Shrimps, and they can be easily differentiated by their blunt heads. They are generally found in the same areas as Shore Shrimps.
If you’re looking for larger shrimp, you might want to try catching Fluke, also known as summer flounder. These flatfish are responsible for getting more of the state’s saltwater anglers casting their lines than any other fish. They can be caught in near-shore coastal waters and bays, including Sandy Hook, Raritan Bay, Delaware Bay, Princess Bay, and Barnegat Bay. They are most commonly caught during the summer months, but commercial fishermen catch them from May through October.
Types Of Shrimp Found In New Jersey
New Jersey is home to several species of native and introduced shrimp. The Common Crayfish, Devil Crayfish, Spinycheek Crayfish, and White River Crawfish are the four documented native species found in the state. However, there are many populations of introduced crayfish in New Jersey, including Rusty Crayfish, Virile Crayfish, and Red Swamp Crayfish.
In addition to crayfish, New Jersey is also home to three documented species of Fairy Shrimp. The Eastern Fairy Shrimp is listed as a species of Special Concern, while the unlisted/common species include Springtime Fairy Shrimp and Spinytail Fairy Shrimp. These tiny crustaceans live in small vernal pools and ponds, ditches, and other aquatic habitats.
The most numerous shrimp in New Jersey’s inshore waters are the tiny Shore Shrimp or Grass Shrimp, which grow up to 2 inches long and are transparent or largely so. They are commonly found clinging to pilings and rocks, or in eelgrass and seaweed. Sand Shrimps also occur in small numbers among the much more common Shore Shrimps, and they can be easily differentiated by their blunt heads. They also have much more flattened bodies and grow up to 2 3/4 inches long.
Lastly, Northern Shrimp can be found in the western North Atlantic from Maine to Massachusetts, but the bulk of the harvest comes from Maine. They are also found and harvested on the West Coast and in Alaska, as well as in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and Norway.
Regulations For Shrimp Harvesting In New Jersey
If you’re interested in harvesting shrimp in New Jersey, there are a few regulations that you should be aware of. First and foremost, you need to have a valid fishing license and a saltwater fishing stamp endorsement if you plan to take shrimp for personal use. It’s important to note that shrimp taken for personal use cannot be sold.
Additionally, there are regulations in place for commercial shrimp harvesting. Currently, no new permits are being issued to prevent an increase in the number of boats participating in the fishery. Electronic logbooks must also be installed, and selected fishermen must submit trip reports for each fishing trip.
It’s also worth noting that the white shrimp population in the South Atlantic can be periodically decimated by severe winter cold, especially offshore of Georgia and South Carolina. Fishery closures may be implemented to help protect the remaining adult population so they can spawn. Federal waters close if cold weather reduces the shrimp population by 80 percent or more, or if water temperatures fall below a critical level.
Best Places To Catch Shrimp In New Jersey
If you’re interested in catching shrimp in New Jersey, there are several places where you can try your luck. Lagoons, creeks, and irrigation ditches are all great spots to gather grass shrimp. These areas provide plenty of vegetation for the shrimp to cling to and are often teeming with other aquatic life.
For those looking to catch Fluke, fishing near-shore coastal waters and bays is your best bet. Sandy Hook, Raritan Bay, Delaware Bay, Princess Bay, and Barnegat Bay are all popular spots for catching Fluke. Charter boats and party boats often go out specifically for summer flounder, making it a popular recreational target.
It’s important to note that commercial fishing for northern shrimp is prohibited due to its extremely depleted state. However, if you’re interested in catching other species of shrimp, there are plenty of opportunities in New Jersey’s coastal waters and bays. Just be sure to check local regulations and obtain any necessary permits before you head out.
Tips For A Successful Shrimp Fishing Trip In New Jersey
If you’re planning a shrimp fishing trip in New Jersey, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Firstly, it’s important to know the season and size limits for catching shrimp. The season for catching tautog, a popular bait for shrimp, runs from April 1 to 30, and there is a size limit of 4 fish, 15 inches or greater.
When it comes to bait, fresh clams and soft-bodied baits like shrimp are great options for catching shrimp. These baits offer easily digestible sources of nutrition that are attractive to shrimp. When fishing from a jetty or shoreline, try working the rocks, walls, and crevices where shrimp tend to hide. Boat anglers can also target inshore wrecks and structures where shrimp are known to feed.
It’s important to note that the availability of shrimp can vary depending on the time of year and location. While Shore Shrimp are the most common species found in inshore waters, larger shrimp like Fluke can be found in near-shore coastal waters and bays during the summer months. It’s always a good idea to do some research on the specific area you plan to fish in order to increase your chances of success.