May 5, 2010
- Fishing Basics
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
- Hudson Valley - Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center
- Capital District - Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center
- Adirondacks - Adirondack Park Agency Visitors Interpretive Centers at Newcomb and Paul Smiths
- Central New York - Rogers Environmental Education Center
- Western New York - Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center
Spring is a great time to go fishing, and it's a lot easier to get started than you might think. With more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 50,000 miles of rivers and streams and hundreds of miles of coastline, New York State has some of the finest fishing in the country. You probably don't live very far from a popular fishing spot.
Five Simple Steps to Begin Fishing
Prepare your rod and reel: Be sure your reel has line, then press the button of your spin-cast reel or open the bail (if you have a spinning reel) to release line from the reel. Pull enough line out to thread it through all of the guides of your rod.
Attach a hook: Hooks come in different sizes and shapes. A #6 or #8 hook with a long, straight edge is a good size to try. Circle hooks are best to use if you plan to release the fish you catch. Use an improved clinch knot to tie the hook onto the line.
Attach a bobber: To attach a bobber, thread the line around the top and bottom hooks. To expose the bottom hook, press the top button on the bobber. For the top hook, press the button while holding the bottom hook in. Attach the bobber so the fish hook hangs just above any weeds or logs on the bottom. The bobber will jerk or "bob" when a fish has taken your bait.
Attach bait: Place bait on the hook. If you are using a worm, pierce the worm with the hook, wrap the worm around the hook and pierce it again, making sure it is securely fastened.
Cast and retrieve: Cast your bait out. Next, turn the reel crank forward until it clicks to prevent more line from coming out. To take up any slack in your line, reel the line in until the bobber begins to move. When a fish bites, the bobber will either move along the water's surface or go underwater. When this happens, give the line a quick jerk that's hard enough to move the bobber and set the hook in the fish's mouth, but not so hard that the hook, bait and/or fish go flying over your shoulder. Now, reel in the line until you can pick up the fish with your hand.
Now you need to decide what to do with the fish. Is it large enough to keep? Will it be used for food? First, check the state's freshwater fishing regulations or saltwater regulations to be certain the fish is of legal size to keep. If it's not, carefully release the fish back into the water, being sure to handle it with wet hands and as little as possible. A fish that you catch and release carefully can be caught again someday when it is bigger. To take a fish off the line, hold it firmly around the body. Watch out for sharp spines on the fish's fins. To remove the hook, push it down and turn it so it comes out the way it went in.
For more information, visit DEC's Fishing Basics page.
Looking for an adventure this summer for your teenager? Check out DEC's Environmental Education Camps.
Send us an e-mail and tell us what you think about Outdoor Discovery.
Subscribe to Conservationist magazine-New York's award-winning publication with astonishingly beautiful photography and captivating articles.
Learn the best places to view wildlife at DEC's Watchable Wildlife pages.
Tackling the Task
Now that you know the basics of fishing, it is time to get your tackle box organized. To begin freshwater fishing, you generally need the following items:
-Fishing license (required for both fresh and saltwater fishing for adults and children above the age of 16)
-Fishing rod and reel
-Monofilament fishing line (4- to 8-pound test)
-Hooks (size numbers 6-10)
-Good-quality plastic or wood bobber or float
-Live bait or lures
Visit a sporting goods store or fishing tackle shop; they can help you get everything you need, including a license.
Ready, Set, Fish
While excellent fishing is found across New York State, certain waters are anglers' favorites for various species. Check out New York's Top Fishing Waters or Places to Fish for a sample of popular waters. Beginners might want to start at one of the hundreds of smaller, yet exceptionally good lakes, ponds or streams scattered across the state. In addition, those near saltwater can find good places to fish from the beach or a boat.
You can attend one of DEC's free fishing days held throughout the state during the last weekend in June. You don't need a fishing license for this event.
DEC maintains several fishing hotlines to let anglers know where the fish are biting.
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Nature Discovery After-School Program
Thursday, May 6 and 13 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM
As spring arrives in the northern hemisphere, the days grow longer, and each brings something new. Buds begin to open, and leaves unfurl, migratory birds return, and animal babies show their faces to the world. For school-aged children and their caregivers.
Guided Nature Walk
Saturday, May 8 and 15 at 10:00 AM
Spring is here! Migrating birds are returning from the south. Flowers are starting to bloom. Come join us as we walk a leisurely trail and celebrate their return.
Love Your Mother Earth
Saturday, May 8 at 2:00 PM
Join us as we gear up for Mother's Day and celebrate Mother Earth in sustainable ways by making recycled crafts for the holiday and by learning to live green. Activities will include paper-making, decorating compost buckets and other recycled crafts. Materials will be provided; however, feel free to bring your own recyclable and reusable items.
Take a Walk on the Wild(flower) Side
Saturday, May 15 at 2:00 PM
Get your camera ready as we take an interpretive walk in search of wildflowers and learn how we can help protect these naturally beautiful plants. Please wear appropriate hiking gear.
Friday, May 7 at 7:00 PM A search for the noisy singers of the night! We'll acquaint you with the sounds of local frogs and view some captive live animals, then go outdoors to listen for calls. Bring flashlights and wear old shoes-no nets, please.
Cheep Thrills: Birding by Ear
Saturday, May 8 at 9:00 AM Come celebrate International Migratory Bird Day on an auditory tour of the grounds as we engage in "sound science" at the height of the annual spring migration.
Birding for Kids
Saturday, May 8 at 2:00 PM Join us for an elementary approach to bird life as we study birds at the feeder and beyond. This program will cover concepts in bird anatomy, behavior, identification and conservation to build upon in your own yard or park. Parent and child must accompany each other. Call the center at 518-475-0291 by May 5 to register.
I Went to the Meadow
Saturday, May 15 at 10:00 AM This program is limited to troops of Brownies and Daisy Girl Scouts. We will explore what lives in different habitats and create a craft that help s the environment. Registration for this program is through the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York at www.gsneny.org or by calling 518-489-8110. A materials fee applies.
Saturday, May 15 at 2:00 PM A bird guide and a pair of binoculars are all you need to get started on this popular hobby. Join us, and learn how to use these basic tools and some helpful tips for identifying birds. A limited number of guides and binoculars are available for loan.
Go For a Walk with Mom!
Sunday, May 9 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Bring your mom for an extraordinary journey into the Albany Pine Bush, the best remaining example in the world of an inland pine barrens. Our experts will guide you through this one mile hike over rolling sand dunes where you will discover Pine Bush natural history, seasonal surprises and transformations. Wear sturdy walking shoes, long pants and bring drinking water. Please plan to arrive ten minutes early to purchase your ticket. Call 518-456-0655 to register. Cost: $2.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free.
Adirondack Park Agency Newcomb Visitors Center
Birds of Prey
Saturday, May 15 at 1:00 PM
Join us for a live bird-on-hand program featuring some of our non-releasable education birds. Get a close- up look at the special adaptations of these Adirondack raptors; learn about their habitats and human impact on bird populations.
Adirondack Park Agency Paul Smiths Visitors Center
Exploring Nature with Little People Thursday, May 6 from 10:00 AM to Noon A unique program with a hands-on approach that introduces the natural environment to young children. Every other Thursday until June for preschoolers ages 3-5 years. Call 518-327-3000 to register. Cost: $4/child ($2/child for Adirondack Park Institute members).
Wildflowers at Cush Hill
Saturday, May 8 at 10:00 AM
Wander the hillside forest of Cush Hill and admire nature's beauty. Don't miss the short-lived display of wildflowers from squirrel corn to blue cohosh.
Friday, May 14 at 8:00 PM
Some animals become more active and vocal as the sun sets. Take a walk along the trails at Rogers Center to see which animals are active at this hour.
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Thursdays, May 6 and 13 at 4:30 PM
Enjoy a one-hour program for kids featuring a different, fun, outdoor activity each week. For children in grades K-5. No registration is required.
New Moon Walk
Friday, May 14 at 8:30 PM
Enjoy an evening in the woods without the aid of the full moon.
Birding for Beginners
Saturday, May 15 at 9:30 AM
Learn how to identify some common local birds and how to use binoculars properly. Bring binoculars if you have them. For adults and children age 8 and older.