August 8, 2012
- Go Fishing
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
Summer 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.
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.
DEC maintains several fishing hotlines to let anglers know where the fish are biting.
Types of Fish in New York State
Freshwater Fish (pdf - 783 Kb)
Offshore Sportfish (pdf - 557 Kb)
Nearshore Saltwater Sportfish (pdf - 675 Kb)
Other Resources about Fishing
Spring 2010 Conservationist for Kids
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Upcoming DEC Events
Crab Fishing Clinic
Corey Beach, Bayport
Thursday, August 16
Participants must bring 1-2 uncooked package(s) of boned chicken pieces and a flashlight. Optional items include: kite string, crab net(s), crab trap(s) and a bucket. Limit 50 participants, call I FISH NY at 631-444-0283.
Programs at Stony Kill are now offered by the Stony Kill Foundation; there are no DEC education staff at the site due to fiscal constraints.
Open Barn Tour
Saturdays and Sundays, August 11, 12, 18 and 19 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Family Fun: Smokey Bear's Birthday
Saturday, August 11 at 10:00 AM
Parents and children must accompany each other. Call 518-475-0291 to register by Wednesday, August 8.
Citizen Science: Dragonfly Census
Saturday, August 11 at 2:00 PM
Watchable Wildlife: The Great Egret
Tuesday, August 14 at 7:00 PM
Family Fun: Endangered Animals
Saturday, August 18 at 2:00 PM
Parents and children must accompany each other. Call 518-475-0291 to register by Wednesday, August 15.
Family Fun: Insect Eaters
Tuesday, August 21 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, August 11 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
Call 518-456-0655, or go the Albany Pine Bush website to register. Cost: $3.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free.
Central New York
Programs at Rogers are now offered by the Friends of Rogers; there are no DEC education staff at the site due to fiscal constraints.
Kids Drop-In Program
Saturday, August 18 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Join the fun as kids enjoy a variety of activities! Dress ready for the weather. Parents, please come prepared to stay with your child for the duration of their participation.
Western New York
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Saturday, August 11 at 10:00 AM
Educator Workshop: Project WILD
Tuesday, August 14 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Project WILD is an award-winning, interdisciplinary environmental education program for teachers and youth leaders. Participants receive a Project WILD Curriculum and Activity Guide with more than 100 lesson plans. For educators of students in grades K-12. Registration required; call 716-683-5959 to sign up.
Educator Workshop: Project Learning Tree
Thursday, August 16 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Project Learning Tree is an award-winning environmental education program featuring an interdisciplinary, hands-on curriculum that uses the forest as a window on the world. The activity guide includes 96 lesson plans, correlated to national and state learning standards. For educators of students in grades K-8. Registration required; call 716-683-5959 to sign up.
Fungi with a Fun Gal
Friday, August 17 at 6:00 PM
Knee-High Naturalists: Butterflies
Saturday, August 18 at 10:30 AM
For children ages 3 to 5. Materials fee = $4.00 per child; $2.00 per child for Friends of Reinstein members.