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"Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs" in New Jersey

Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Podcast with Liz Jackson (DEP Website)

Liz  Jackson and son fishing New Jersey's "Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs" Program provides a great opportunity to get kids involved in positive recreational activities. Growing up in a big city, my parents saw value in having me spend my summers outdoors enjoying nature. These experiences afforded me the chance to discover that there is more to the world and my role in it than what the concrete jungle has to offer. Likewise, the goal of this program is to introduce youth to the fun and excitement of fishing, and to engage them in meaningful life skills, so that they also can imagine unlimited possibilities for themselves.

Liz Jackson, HOFNOD Coordinator


Fishing is an activity that can be started at any age by any person regardless of gender, physical size or athletic ability. Fishing can also be enjoyed individually or with family and friends. A great way to introduce youth to fishing is through the "Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs" (HOFNOD) Program.

"Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs" is a unique, nationally recognized program created by the Future Fisherman Foundation. In 2012, Governor Christie signed legislation establishing the statewide implementation of the HOFNOD program. The legislation provided initial funding through an appropriation of $200,000 from the state's Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund. (See below for the identical State Assembly and Senate bills.)

The goal of New Jersey's program is to encourage school-aged children to avoid tobacco, drug and alcohol usage by providing alternative activities that involve learning to fish, appreciating aquatic and environmental resources, and developing positive life skills. The program will provide students with access to extracurricular outlets that utilize New Jersey’s incredible outdoor recreational assets
The NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife wants to partner with schools, community- and faith-based youth organizations willing to provide on-going and sustained engagement in HOFNOD activities throughout the year. The "Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs" program is flexible enough to be offered in different ways, such as:
  • a weekly enrichment activity in summer youth programs
  • an on-going educational physical education activity in after school settings
  • integrated into grades 4-12 school curricula
  • as a year-round supplemental activity of community-based youth organizations (e.g. Youth Corps, Boys/Girls Clubs and faith-based entities)

HOFNOD is an excellent way for young people to participate in constructive recreation and to develop a positive sense of self-worth. The program helps:

  • nurture self-esteem and confidence
  • develop higher order critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • reveal alternate activities for young people instead of the pitfalls of drug and alcohol use
  • foster opportunities and build skills to explore freshwater & marine careers
During the program, students learn:

  • freshwater and marine ecosystems
  • proper outdoor ethics and being a good steward of their local environment
  • respect for themselves, others and the world around them
  • how, when and where to fish
  • life skills like preparing and cooking their catch

Participants in the March 2016 Team Leader Training at Princeton Blairstown Center
Participants in the March 2016 Team Leader Training held at the Princeton Blairstown Center, Hardwick, NJ.
Click to enlarge
Adult-led lessons provide students with hands-on, real life experience and incorporate peer teaching and mentoring in the process. Guest experts can be used to teach supplemental sessions like fly tying and casting, spearfishing, introduction to SCUBA diving, kayaking and boating safety. Available funding through the HOFNOD program may be used to offset the cost of staff training & materials, fishing and program gear, and transportation for youth fishing trips.

The core message of the "Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs" program is that you don't need to use tobacco, alcohol or drugs to have fun! It's the type of program that not only will help reduce drug and alcohol use in youth, but will also bring families closer together by giving them an inexpensive outdoor recreation activity they can all participate in.

For more information call 908-637-4125 ext. 122 or e-mail

HOFNOD Group Program Registration Form (pdf, 180kb)
HOFNOD Youth Registration and Photo Release Agreement (pdf, 100kb)


Want to find a local HOFNOD Team? Locate a group near you from the list below:


Atlantic County Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Coalition
4805 Nawakwa Blvd.
Mays Landing, NJ 08330
Adam Erskine -
Cell: 609-675-1385
Sheriff's Dept.: 609-909-7200
Office: 609-625-5590 x1136


60 Huntington Drive
Southampton, NJ 08088
Floyd C Reynolds III -
Jeff Brown -


HOFNOD Gloucester Township
Hazel & Kendrick Aves.
Sicklerville, NJ
Bob Johnston -


Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs - Cumberland County
P.O. Box 181
Heislerville, NJ 08324
Joe Haase -
Cell/text: 856-332-4834

Millville Police Department, PAL
School Resource Officer / Traffic Safety Unit
18 S. High St. PO 609
Millville, NJ 08332
Officer Richard Kott #104 -
Cell: 856-498-3309
Work: 856-825-7010 x7623

Vineland Police Department / Juvenile Unit
111 North 6th Street
Vineland, NJ 08360
Officer Dion Colvin #1830 -
Work: 856-691-4111 x4372
Cell: 856-362-0305


ASPIRA, Inc. of New Jersey
390 Broad Street, 3rd Floor
Newark, NJ 07104
Elena Larranaga -
973-484-7554 x215

Quitman Street Community School
21 Quitman Street
Newark, NJ 07103
Jessica Allen


Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission
37 Hoffman's Crossing Road
Califon, New Jersey 07830
Dennis R. Balodis -
Work: 908-439-4280 x4510
Cell: 908-963-9595


Anna L. Klein School
310 - 68th Street
Guttenberg, NJ 07093
Rosa Bamert -
Megan Cohn -

Marist A+ Summer Camp
1241 Kennedy Boulevard
Bayonne, NJ 07002
DeNere Postell


B3 After School Program, Program Director
21st Community Learning Centers
357 New Brunswick Avenue
Perth Amboy, NJ 08861
James C. Castillo, M.S. -
732-442-3632 x 6700

Scarlet KIDS Camp
Douglass Psychology Child Study Center
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
26 Nichol Avenue, Room 27
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-2882
Jennifer Manuola, Director -


Jersey Devil Kids Camp
Jersey Devil Sportfishing
Captain Brian Rice -


Lacey Township High School Youth Fishing Club
73 Haines Street
Lanoka Harbor, NJ 08734
Jeremy L. Muermann -
Terrance Stuart -

Reel Fun Fishing
Boating Education And Rescue (BEAR)
PO Box 1283
Wall Twp., NJ 07719
Mike & Debbie Bennett -


Byram Intermediate School
3 Highland Ave.
Andover, NJ 07821
Betty Saar, Special Educator

High Point Regional High School
High Point Outdoor Recreation Program HOFNOD
299 Pidgeon Hill Road
Sussex, NJ 07461
Ed Blevins -

Sussex County Charter School for Technology
385 North Church Road
Sparta, NJ 07871
Suzanne Kopycienski, Health/Physical Education Teacher -

Sussex County HOFNOD 4H
35 Newton Avenue
Branchville, NJ 07826
Natalie Burger -
Rory Halpin -


City of Plainfield - Division of Parks & Recreation
510 Watchung Avenue
Plainfield, New Jersey 07060
Veronica Taylor, Superintendent of Parks & Recreation -

Team Linden
Linden, NJ
Rhashonna Cosby-Hurling -
Councilwoman, Ward 5


YMCA Camp Mason
23 Birch Ridge Road
Hardwick, NJ 07825
Keith VanDerzee, CEO

Enabling Legislation:
Assembly Bill 638 1R
Senate Bill 178

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Last Updated: October 20, 2016