New Fishing Regulations, Focused on Conservation
With the ice rapidly melting on our local lakes, fishermen are beginning to prepare for an open water season full of new regulations focused on the conservation of our fisheries. With the emergence of Covid, there has never been a greater need for people to get outside and begin trying new outdoor activities like fishing. With that being said, fisheries are delicate, and the department of Environmental Conservation is doing everything they can to increase fishing opportunities, while preserving these precious aquatic resources. It is our duty as fishermen to read and understand these regulations to avoid being ticketed and to ensure the continuation of these fisheries for future generations.
Although most have come to know April 1st as April’s Fools Day, it has been a special day to fishermen for the last 30 years for another reason. It marks the opening day of trout fishing here in New York, where you can legally harvest and target trout. April 1st continues to be the first day every year that you can keep trout, but new regulations put into effect by the Department of Environmental Conservation have changed size and harvest limits, as well as opened up trout fishing opportunities all year now.
After October 15th, our local trout streams used to be closed to trout fishing, but now remain open all winter for a Catch and Release season where you can target them using artificials only (no live bait). These regulations come as an effort to support the objectives of their Trout Stream Management Plan, while increasing angler opportunities during the winter months. For all regulations you can visit the DEC website, which now has a DEC info Locator, which is an interactive map that lets you access documents, public data about the environment, and outdoor recreation information. It even has specific options for fishermen, where you can view public trout areas, stocking information, and even every public boat launch in the state.
Listed below are the remaining regulations that are now in place for trout.
Daily creel limit of five trout per day with no more than two longer than 12 inches statewide and for reaches categorized as Wild or Stocked in effect from April 1 through Oct. 15;
Daily creel limit of three trout per day with no more than one longer than 12 inches for reaches designated as Wild-Quality or Stocked-Extended in effect from April 1 through Oct. 15;
Daily creel limit of one trout per day, any size, for reaches designated as Wild-Premier in effect from April 1 through October 15; and
Creation of a statewide catch-and-release trout season in effect from Oct. 16 to March 31. During this period anglers are restricted to artificial lures only and must promptly release all trout caught.
Along with these trout regulations, come new regulations for a few other species that one should also take note of. Bass season for Large and Smallmouth has been changed from the third Saturday in June to June 15th and the statewide season opener for Walleye, Northern Pike, Pickerel and Tiger Muskellunge is now May 1st instead of the first Saturday in May. As far as panfish goes, the statewide sunfish daily harvest limit has been reduced from 50 to 25 fish; and the statewide minimum size limit for crappie has been increased from nine inches to 10 inches.
Overall, these regulations were created with New York’s fisheries in mind and the public opinions of the angling community. In years past they were listed in a large, bulky magazine so the DEC also redesigned the annual fishing regulations guide to be a lot smaller and more convenient. All local bait shops and outdoor retailers will have these available in the coming weeks. For more information, below there are the links to the DEC website and the DEC info Locator