Although I’ve lived in the Trenton area since the late ’90s, I still consider myself a transplanted Trentonian. I can still be pleasantly surprised by all that my adopted city has to offer.

An early riser, I returned from grocery shopping one morning to run into a neighbor carrying, of all things, a fishing net and tackle! Having spent my adult years in Boston and New York City, the rare sight of a bus or subway passenger with a fishing pole would stand out in my mind for the rest of the day. Yet here was my neighbor, a native Trentonian, on his way to a favorite fishing spot “near the ballpark”! Accustomed to reports and rumors of polluted city streams and creeks, I asked him if you could eat the fish you caught.

“You can”, he assured me.

“Do you catch much?” I asked, skeptically.

“Sure. It’s good to be out on a nice day like today!”

I thought of pre-dawn summer mornings in my childhood in the New Jersey suburbs, when my hard-working widower dad would grab his fishing pole and the tackle box I gave him for his birthday for a relaxing few hours of fishing with a neighbor. It was a chance to relax; a great way to rewind and shake off crushing family and work responsibilities for a little while, Even most of our family vacations included at least one day of fishing. Like it or not. Were you hoping to take a wild ride on a roller coaster at the amusement park? Nope. Hoping to see the bright lights of New York City? Forget about it! Think again. My Pittsburgh-born dad had had enough of city life in his childhood. Our vacations would be spent watching Daddy fish.

But age really does bring wisdom. The beautiful scenes of fly fishing in the classic movie, “A River Runs Through It” haunt me with the poetry and skill of casting a line in the water, and I’ve sometimes considered learning to fish myself.

Trentonians know they can fish the Delaware and Raritan Canal, Mercer County Park, Lardner Park, and, yes, near Trenton Thunder Park. You can catch rainbow, brown, and lake trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish. (Go online to check the fishing rules and regulations in New Jersey, which are subject to change throughout the year. Find out when you can fish, and the maximum size of and number of fish you can keep, Take a minute to read reviews of local fishing spots to try out until you find your favorite).

Looking for something to do with your kids, or a place to take friends visiting Trenton? Spend some time fishing in the city. Whether you were a suburban kid like me or a city kid like my Dad and my Trenton-born neighbor, you’ll discover one of the many hidden joys of living in Trenton. Tell your friends!

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