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Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program in New Jersey


Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Team Leader Training in May
    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, former 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

High school team on beach at Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament
Division Director Larry Herrighty, IBSP Superintendent Jen Clayton and HOFNOD Coordinator Liz Jackson (back row from left), and DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe (center), join a high school team at the Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament on May 20, 2018.
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.

Another activity HOFNOD teams can participate in is the Youth Fishing Challenge, held each year on New Jersey's first (of two) Free Fishing Days. Registered youth participants are eligible to receive prizes for the fish they catch during the event.

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 Team Registration Form (pdf, 210kb)
HOFNOD Youth Registration and Photo Release Agreement (pdf, 100kb)

The HOFNOD program is organized in community teams found throughout the state. Teams are led by Team Leaders who dedicate their time, skills and energy conducting the program for local youths. 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

Adam Witcraft, Atlantic County Parks and Rec Manager
109 State Hwy 50 South
Mays Landing, NJ 08330
Adam Witcraft -
609-625-7000 x5400
Fax: 609-645-5868


Hackensack River Junior Stewardship
Hackensack Riverkeeper
231 Main St.
Hackensack, NJ 07047
Jodi Jamieson -


60 Huntington Drive
Southampton, NJ 08088
Heather Milloy -
Vic Gorin -


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


Commercial Twp. Recreation Department
69 East Avenue
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Kevin Young -

Compass Academy Hooked on Fishing 4-H Club
Downe Township Hooked on Fishing 4-H Club
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cumberland County
291 Morton Avenue
Millville, NJ 08332
Donna Griebau, 4-H Program Assistant -
856-451-2800 x3

Cumberland County HOFNOD 4H
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 Box 609
Millville, NJ 08332
Officer Richard Kott #104 -
Cell: 856-498-3309
Work: 856-825-7010 x7623


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

East Orange Department of Recreation
1 Fellowship Circle
East Orange, NJ 07017
Stanley Edwards -

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


Jersey Devil Kids Camp
Jersey Devil Sportfishing
Captain Brian Rice -


Reel Fun Fishing
Boating Education And Rescue (BEAR)
Mike & Debbie Bennett -


Silk City Anglers
City of Paterson/DHHS- Municipal Alliance Prevention Program
125 Ellison St.
Paterson, NJ 07505
Tenee Joyner -
W. Raheem Smallwood -

Compete For Life (21st Century Community Learning Centers)
New Jersey Community Development Corporation
61-127 Preakness Ave. - Room 105A
Paterson, NJ 07522
Lynn Yakimik -


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


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

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


Spring Valley Sunnies
Ridge and Valley Conservancy
White Lake Natural Resource Area
120 Stillwater Rd.
Hardwick, NJ 07825
James Watling -

Click photos to enlarge

Boy with big bass

Youths fishing at pond

Girl with fish

Boy with sunfish

Group fishing on lake dock

HOFNOD Team Linden

Girl and dad with fish

Fishing Education
Teacher/Education Resources (Fun things to do with kids in NJ)

Enabling Legislation
To view the enabling legislation (Assembly Bill 638 and Senate Bill 178) use the Bill Search feature on the State Legislature's site as follows:

1) Go to the Legislature's Homepage
2) In the Bill Search section enter A638 or S178 in the Bill Number(s) box.
3) Select the 2012-2013 Legislative Session
4) Click 'Search'
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Last Updated: October 10, 2018