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Great Lakes and Tributary Regulations

These regulations apply to New York waters of Lake Erie, the Upper and Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and designated areas of the tributaries to these waters. Areas of the tributaries which are subject to these regulations are generally defined as the bridge closest to the mouth upstream to the first barrier impassable to fish. Tributaries with different boundaries and exemptions are listed separately under Great Lakes Tributaries Regulations. Note that there are also seasonal tackle restrictions and restrictions on night fishing in the tributaries. Statewide angling regulations apply for species not listed.

Special Regulations for Great Lakes & Tributaries

The following regulations apply to all Great Lakes waters, including Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Upper and Lower Niagara River, St. Lawrence River and tributaries:

  • Snatching and attempting to snatch is prohibited. See definition of snatching on page 12.
  • All foul-hooked fish must be immediately released without unnecessary injury.
  • Use or possession of gaff hooks is prohibited except when ice fishing.
  • Any action to frighten fish and move them from concealment, including herding, driving, kicking or stoning is prohibited.

Review the following pages for exceptions to the statewide angling regulations:

Review Great Lakes Tributaries Regulations for special fishing regulations on Great Lakes tribuaries.

More about Great Lakes and Tributary Regulations:

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