Top-quality bass fishing opportunities throughout New York
Submitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the open (harvest) season for largemouth and smallmouth bass, collectively known as black bass, begins June 15 and runs through Nov. 30.
For most of the state, a catch-and-release season exists from Dec. 1 through June 14. Special fishing regulations exist for some waters, so anglers should check the current fishing regulations before heading out to fish.
“New York is home to some of the world's best fishing destinations, especially for largemouth and smallmouth bass,” Seggos said. “I encourage anglers of all abilities to get outside and explore the many special bass fishing opportunities our state has to offer.”
Many New York waters consistently rank among the best bass angling destinations in the country. In September 2022, Bassmaster Magazine ranked the St. Lawrence River (Thousand Islands) as the best bass “lake” in the nation, with Lake Erie/upper Niagara River coming in at No. 8. Other New York waters that made their list of the top 100 bass waters included Lake Champlain and Cayuga, Oneida and Chautauqua lakes. All of these waters provide the opportunity to catch trophy bass, but anglers don’t have to venture far from home to catch New York's top sportfish. Both species are widespread across the state and thrive in waters of all sizes.
Be sure to check out DEC’s “Places to Fish” and “Warmwater Fishing” webpages for more information on where to go bass fishing. Bass anglers are also encouraged to check out DEC's “Tackle Box” feature in the HuntFishNY app, which provides anglers one-stop shopping for waterbody-specific information on fishing regulations, stocking, and fishing/boating access sites.
Bass can be readily caught both from shore and by boat and there are many simple, yet effective, techniques like wacky rigging, which can be used to catch them. If you’re new to fishing, check out the “I FISH NY Beginners Guide to Fishing,” which has all the information you need to get started. There’s also a “how-to” video series on DEC’s YouTube channel.
DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries recognizes catches of big sportfish, including state records, through the Angler Achievement Awards program. Largemouth bass 20 inches and over, and smallmouth bass 18 inches and over qualify for awards. Last year, 79 largemouth bass and smallmouth bass qualified for the Catch and Release Category, with the longest measuring 22.5 inches.
If anglers catch a big bass this year, please advise DEC.