Catch and release season already open on most waters
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the regular harvest season for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) will open this Saturday, June 18.
Anglers who previously were required to release all bass caught in most of New York state during the catch and release season will now be able to keep five bass with a minimum size of 12 inches on most waters.
"New York state is home to some of the world's best fishing destinations, especially for bass," Seggos said. "Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors, as well as major tournaments, flock to our waters for the unparalleled experience of catching a bass in New York state. Whether you are at a small pond hidden in a state park, fishing offshore in Lake Erie, or somewhere else entirely, I encourage all anglers to give bass fishing in New York their one and only stop for fishing this summer."
With the opening of the regular black bass season, all New York fishing seasons are now open. Special regulations exist on some waters, so anglers are encouraged to check the 2016-17 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide before heading out to fish. Anglers looking for additional information on fishing in New York should look to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's website:
Additionally, DEC's NY Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife app is available on the Apple App Store or Google Play store, or by going to the Pocket Ranger website. It provides up-to-date information on regulations and fishing locations on tablets and smartphones.
"Bass are among the most popular game fish in New York and can be found in nearly all of the state's major fishing destinations," Seggos said. "Through our app, fishing guides, and new investments in fishing access sites, we are creating new opportunities for more New Yorkers to enjoy this proud tradition."
NY's Open for Fishing and Hunting
As part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's NY "Open for Fishing and Hunting" initiative aimed at increasing outdoor recreational opportunities in New York, significant improvements to DEC's fish hatchery system and waterway access facilities have been made.
In 2014 and 2015, New York invested a total of $8 million to improve hatcheries throughout the state. Improvements completed to date include:
Projects to replace fish rearing raceways at Chateaugay hatchery and to renovate ponds and replace the emergency generator at South Otselic hatchery are expected to be completed this year.
Anglers will find new or upgraded boat launches at Forge Pond (Peconic River) in Suffolk County, Upper and Lower Saranac Lake in Franklin County, and Lake George (Lake George Beach) in Warren County. Reconstruction of the fishing pier on Lake Erie at Dunkirk and construction of a new boat launch on Meacham Lake should also be completed later this summer. More than $6 million have been invested in boating and fishing access facilities over the past five years.
Prevent Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species, Fish Diseases
Boaters are reminded new regulations are now in place that require boats, trailers and associated equipment to be cleaned of visible plant and animal material and drained prior to launching on any public waterbody. Additional regulations at DEC launch locations also require boaters to clean and drain their boat and associated equipment before leaving the launch site following their boating trip.
Anglers and boaters can unknowingly spread aquatic invasive species unless they take these basic steps before and after their boating or fishing trips. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (viral hemorrhagic septicemia and whirling disease).
Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found here.
Before heading out to fish, make sure you have a current fishing license. Anyone 16 years of age and older who desires to fish in New York must have a state fishing license. Fishing licenses are also now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase, so be sure to check that it has not expired.
New York reduced license fees in 2014 for both resident and nonresident anglers, making fishing in New York more affordable than ever. Buying a license has also been made more convenient. Anglers can purchase a license and print it for immediate use via the NY license center. Anglers can also purchase their license by phone by calling 1-866-933-2257, or from the numerous license-issuing agents across the state. Those purchasing over the phone will receive a confirmation number allowing them to fish immediately.
Those interested in purchasing a lifetime fishing license should consider a New York state "Adventure" license, which is incorporated on their New York driver's license and provides a free fishing-themed license plate.