DEC: Another successful year for DEC's Angler Achievement Awards Programby jmaloni
New record set for brook trout
As part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "NY Open for Fishing and Hunting" initiative, the Angler Achievement Awards Program established a new state record for brook trout, New York State Department of Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced.
"Almost 200 entries were submitted into the program in 2013 with more than 75 percent of those qualified under the Catch and Release Category, indicating the sound stewardship ethic of New York's anglers," Martens said. "Not only does the Angler Achievement Awards Program provide deserved recognition to those anglers catching trophy fish, it also provides a useful snapshot of the quality of the state's freshwater fishery."
Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch, including a distinctive lapel pin commemorating their achievement. The three categories that make up the program are: Catch & Release, Annual Award (kept fish) and State Record.
One new state record was established for New York's state fish when Richard Beauchamp of Silver Lake (Hamilton County) caught a 6 lb. brook trout using a Lake Clear Wabbler on May 16, 2013. Beauchamp's catch surpassed the previous state record by two ounces. It is the fourth time a new state record brook trout was broken in the past five years.
New York's most popular sportfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, comprised almost half of the entries received. Among those was an impressive 251/2-inch largemouth bass caught and released from a private lake in Sullivan County, and a 24-inch smallmouth bass caught and released from the Niagara River. Additional noteworthy catches from other eligible species included: a 42-inch common carp caught and released from Keuka Lake in Yates County; a 42-inch northern pike caught and released from the Allegheny River in Cattaraugus County; and a 12 lb., 3 oz. walleye caught from Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County.
Cuomo's "NY Open for Fishing and Hunting" initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of fishing and hunting licensing and reducing license fees; improved access for fishing at various sites across the state; stocking as much as 900,000 pounds of fish; expanding fishing clinics and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.
In support of this initiative, Cuomo this year has proposed creating 50 new land access projects, which will connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the governor's budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries.
Further information about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form and photo slideshow of fish entered, can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7727.html. Full program details and an entry form can also be found in DEC's current Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide. A summary of noteworthy catches from 2013 and earlier can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7980.html. For additional information on the Angler Achievement Awards Program, call 518-402-8891 or email [email protected].