The Rockaway River, located in Northern New Jersey, is
just 30 to 40 miles outside of New York City. It is a
true example of a restoration project success story,
thanks to several groups' ongoing efforts to clean up
the river. Good hatches and abundant numbers of trout
can be found throughout some 30 miles of the river.
The upper portion of the Rockaway River is medium-sized,
with good pools, pockets, and runs. Here, it averages
30- to 40-feet wide, and flows through the Berkshire
Valley, Wharton, and Dover areas. Routes 699, 15, and
46 all aid in accessing the river. The most productive
stretch of the Rockaway is the Wharton to Dover area.
You'll find an abundant supply of trout throughout
The middle section of the river runs through the towns
of Denville, Mountain Lakes, and Boonton. This is another
good part of the river, offering anglers some very deep
pools, and even a couple of areas with waterfalls and
large pockets. In the area around Boonton, there's some
excellent water where trout can holdover in the deep,
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Ultimately, the Rockaway flows into the Jersey City Reservoir.
Below the reservoir, the trout fishing is not as productive.
The lack of sufficient holding water and warm temperatures
keep most trout anglers in the upper stretches of the
Access to the river can be difficult in some areas.
There are a few parks along the way--in Wharton, Denville,
and Boonton--where you'll find parks and places to
park as well as fish. There are other access points,
too; just follow the secondary roads along the river
and look for areas to park. Hatches on the Rockaway
are fairly good and are getting better every year.
A variety of different Mayflies, Caddis, and Stoneflies
hatch at given times. Small Midges, Terrestrials, and
all-purpose nymphs also work well. In high water conditions,
fishing with nymphs and streamers is your best bet.
The best fishing on this river usually is early in
the season, although the summer can be productive depending
upon weather conditions.
The Rockaway is an excellent New Jersey river, with
much potential. The next time you're around New York
City, why not take a ride to the Rockaway River?