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For Release: Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 7 Marks the Season Opener for Popular Warmwater Sportfishing

State Highlights new resources to find fishing locations

Anglers encouraged to help curb the spread of invasive species

Statewide Muskellunge Fishing Season Opens May 28, Regular Season for Black Bass Opens June 18

Freshwater fishing in New York State kicks off May 7 with the opening of the fishing seasons for walleye, northern pike, pickerel and tiger muskellunge New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

"Fishing is a proud tradition in New York, and through Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, we are making important investments to ensure anglers of all ages and abilities can enjoy the wonderful opportunities that exist across the state," said Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "I encourage all New Yorkers and visitors to take advantage of the great fishing opportunities our state provides and celebrate the success of our efforts to sustain our popular and economically important recreational fisheries."

May 7 also marks the opening of the special trophy black bass season on Lake Erie, where an angler can keep one 20-inch or longer fish per day thru June 17. Anglers can also take advantage of the black bass catch-and-release season now underway in many waters throughout the state. Bass anglers should check the New York State Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide to ensure that the water they desire to fish is open to catch and release angling. The regular season for black bass opens June 18.

Muskellunge anglers are reminded that the statewide opening day for muskellunge was changed last year on most waters to the last Saturday in May (May 28, 2016). The statewide minimum size limit was also increased to 40 inches. These regulations apply to most NY muskellunge waters, with the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and the St. Lawrence River being noteworthy exceptions. On these waters the minimum size limit is 54 inches and the season opens on the 3rd Saturday of June (June 18, 2016). Additional exceptions to the statewide regulations for muskellunge and other species exist, so anglers should be sure to pick up a copy of the 2016-17 Freshwater Fishing Regulations guide to ensure that they are aware of the current regulations for the water they are fishing. Regulations guides are available at all DEC offices and sporting license vendors.

A complete listing of 2016 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found on the DEC website.

Where to Fish

Anglers searching for places to fish should visit the DEC's fishing site on its website. Maps of public fishing locations and boat launches can also be found on DEC's website.

The New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App gives both novice and seasoned outdoorsmen and women essential information to plan and prepare for their fishing trips with up-to-date access information on fishing, hunting and wildlife watching sites. The App also provides immediate access to species profiles, rules and regulations, and important permits and licensing details. The New York Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife App is available on the Apple App Store or Google Play store, or by going to the Pocket Ranger website. (links leave DEC's website)

Help Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species and Fish Diseases

Anglers and boaters can help the state prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by taking appropriate measures before and after their boating or fishing trip. Anglers and boaters should be sure to clean, dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. Boaters should be particularly conscious of plant materials that can attach to boats and trailers and should be sure to drain all water holding compartments before leaving a water body. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species and fish diseases. Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found on DEC's website.

License Requirements

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, which are now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. 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 their license and print them for immediate use on their home computer via the NY License Center. (link leaves DEC's website) 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 NY Driver's License and provides a free fishing themed license plate.

NY's Open for Fishing and Hunting

As part of Governor 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, a total of $8 million in NY Works 3 and 4 funding was budgeted for hatchery improvements, and the 2016/2017 budget has at least $3 million of NY Works 5 money budgeted for fisheries management.

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 by early - mid summer. More than $6 million has been invested in boating and fishing access facilities over the past 5 years.

New York Angler Achievement Awards Program

Each year, New York State's lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams produce large numbers of trophy-sized fish. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Angler Achievement Awards Program recognizes exceptional catches in several categories, including the Annual Award recognizing anglers who caught the three heaviest fish of the year for 43 different species, the Catch-and-Release awards for 21 major gamefish species, and the State Record award that recognizes anglers who break current New York State records for any of the 45 eligible fish species.

For more specific information on the rules, see Rules for Entry. Download the Entry Form (PDF, 60 KB) here or you can obtain one from any DEC Regional Fisheries Office, or by writing to: NYSDEC, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4753.

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