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Part 18: Taking Bait

[Last Amended April 1, 2015]



§18.0 Definition

For the purposes of this Part, bait fish shall mean species listed in section 19.2 of this Chapter.

§18.1 Possession and use of minnow nets and traps for personal use

(a) Nets, traps and other devices, the use of which without a license is provided for in section 11-1315 of the Fish and Wildlife Law, may be possessed at any time except on certain units of State land or waters as provided in Part 10 of this Title where the use and possession of fish as bait is prohibited.

(b) Such nets, traps and other devices when used to take bait fish for personal use and not for sale, may be operated between sunset and sunrise:

(1) for taking bait fish in Lakes Ontario and Erie, except in the bays, inlets and outlets thereof; the Niagara River; and the Hudson River south of the barrier dam at Troy;

(2) gill nets measuring not more than 25 feet in length or 200 square feet, have a bar mesh not larger than one inch for taking alewives (sawbellies) only in Canadice, Canandaigua, Cayuga, Hemlock, Keuka, Otisco, Owasco and Seneca Lakes;

(3) for taking of anadromous river herring in the Hudson River as defined in Part 10 of this Title.

§18.2 Taking bait fish for sale as bait

(a) Licensed minnow traps of either metallic or nonmetallic mesh operated in privately owned or leased ponds, may be used at any time for taking bait fish.

(b) Licensed nets for taking such bait fish, except for anadromous river herring, may be operated between sunset and sunrise in the following waters: Lakes Ontario and Erie except in the bays, inlets and outlets thereof; Niagara River; Cattaraugus Creek from its mouth to Route 5; Hudson River south of barrier dam at Troy; Sylvan Lake in Dutchess County; Canandaigua, Cayuga, Keuka and Seneca Lakes.

(c) No person shall operate more than 15 licensed traps from September 1st through December 31st in Lake Erie and the Niagara River west of the falls at Niagara Falls. Dimensions for traps are specified in section 11-1315 of the Environmental Conservation Law.

(d) It is unlawful for any person to take smelt for bait from Lake Champlain, Upper Saranac Lake, Lake Clear (Franklin County), Chazy Lake, Upper Chateaugay Lake and their tributaries upstream to the first barrier and the Hudson River and the Hudson River below the Federal Dam at Troy, except by angling.

§18.3 Taking aquatic insects for bait

No person shall take aquatic insects for sale as bait nor sell aquatic insects for bait without first obtaining a license from the department to do so.