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Part 10, Sections 10.2, 10.3, 10.7 and 10.9 - Sportfishing (freshwater) and Associated Activities Summary of Express Terms - Adopted January 17, 2017

The purpose of this rule making is to amend the Department of Environmental Conservation's (department) general regulations governing sportfishing (6 NYCRR Part 10). Following biennial review of the department's fishing regulations, department staff have determined that the proposed amendments are necessary to maintain or improve the quality of the State's fisheries resources. Changes to sportfishing regulations are intended to promote optimum opportunity for public use consistent with resource conservation. The following is a summary of the amendments that the department is proposing. Proposed changes include:

Great Lakes related proposals:

  • Clarify that St. Lawrence River tributaries in Franklin and Clinton counties are exempt from Great Lakes regulations.
  • Define the portion of Cattaraugus Creek subject to Lake Erie and tributary fishing regulations from Lake Erie upstream to the Springville Dam.
  • Expand the Lake Erie and tributaries 20 inch minimum size limit 1 fish daily limit black bass regulation to December 1 through the Friday before the third Saturday in June.
  • Improved language for interpreting combined trout and salmon creel limit in Lake Ontario.
    Reduce the daily limit from 5 to 3 northern pike for St. Lawrence River and define boundary between Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
  • Clarification of boundary between Lake Ontario and the Salmon River.
  • Provide an exception allowing access for fishing to the closed section of the Salmon River on Salmon River Hatchery property by permit.

Walleye, black bass and northern pike related proposals:

  • Establish an 18 inch minimum size limit and daily creel limit of 3 walleye for Titicus Reservoir (Westchester County); Sacandaga Lake and tributaries and outlet and Lake Pleasant and tributaries (Hamilton County); Kiwassa Lake, St. Regis Falls Impoundment, and Little Wolf Pond (Franklin County); Putnam Pond (Essex County); Cazenovia and DeRuyter lakes (Madison County); Waterport Reservoir (Orleans County); Rio Reservoir (Orange and Sullivan counties); East Sidney Reservoir (Delaware County); Taghkanic Lake (Columbia County); Canadarago Lake (Otsego County); and additional portions of the Seneca River (Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca and Wayne counties).
  • Eliminate 18 inch minimum size limit and daily creel limit of 3 walleye in Chautauqua Lake (Chautauqua County) and Franklin Falls Flow (Essex County).
  • Clarify that the 22 inch minimum size 5 fish daily limit for northern pike regulation applies to the Wayne County portion of the Seneca River.
  • Clarify that statewide black bass regulations apply to the Hamilton County portion of Fourth Lake.
  • Eliminate the special regulation for black bass in the Hamilton County portion of the Hudson River.

Trout and salmon related proposals:

  • Decrease the minimum size limit for trout at Colgate Lake (Greene County) from 12 to 9 inches.
  • Eliminate special trout regulation on Whey Pond (Franklin County).
  • Eliminate the special regulation for landlocked salmon for Piseco Lake (Hamilton County).
  • Decrease the minimum size length for lake trout in Woodhull Lake (Herkimer County) from 21 to 18 inches.
  • Change the end time anglers are allowed to fish Spring Creek on the Caledonia State Fish Hatchery property from 4:00 PM to 3:30 PM.
  • Eliminate the 9 inch minimum size limit for trout in the Carmans River (Suffolk County) in Southaven County Park as well as the catch and release section of the Carmans River for brown and rainbow trout.
  • Reduce the number of brown trout and rainbow trout that can be kept as part of a 5 fish daily limit in Skaneateles Lake to no more than 3 of either species.
  • Reduce the allowable daily harvest of brown trout and rainbow trout from 5 of each to 3 of each and increase the allowable daily harvest of lake trout from 3 to 5 as part of the 5 in any combination daily limit regulation for trout, lake trout, and landlocked salmon at Cayuga and Owasco lakes.
  • Increase the minimum size limit for rainbow trout from 9 to 15 inches at Owasco, Skaneateles and Otisco Lake tributaries.

Gear and use of gear related proposals:

  • Eliminate the allowance for spearing bullheads and suckers in all Cayuga, Oswego and Wayne county tributaries to Lake Ontario.
  • Allow for the taking of suckers by snatching (but not blind snatching) from January 1 through March 15 in specific portions of the Otselic and Tioughnioga rivers in Cortland County.
    Eliminate the allowance for lake whitefish snatching and blind snatching at Piseco Lake in Hamilton County.
  • Continue to restrict the number of devices allowed for ice fishing on Bigsby and Copperas ponds (Essex County), Upper Saranac Lake (Franklin County), and Fawn Lake (Hamilton County).
  • Allow for ice fishing in Rushford Lake in Allegany County.
  • Re-open Crane Pond (Essex County) to ice fishing.

Baitfish and non-game fish related proposals:

  • Remove the prohibition on the use or possession of smelt in Lake George and allow for harvest of smelt by angling.
  • Clarify that taking and possessing sauger and mooneye is prohibited in Lake Champlain.

Fishing prohibited related proposals:

  • Prohibit fishing at any time on Buttermilk Creek from mouth to Fox Valley Road Bridge.
    Close two short sections of Fish Creek and Indian River in St. Lawrence County to fishing from March 16th until the opening of walleye season.
  • Close a section of the Grasse River in St. Lawrence County to all fishing from March 16th until the opening of walleye season.
  • Clarify the portion of the Bouquet River that is closed to fishing at any time.
  • Eliminate the angling and dipnetting prohibited regulation on Dutch Hollow Brook in Cayuga County.

Several additional amendments are included, not as substantive regulation modifications, but as removal of duplicate regulations or making structural changes to make the regulations easier to modify in the future:

  • The redundant statewide black bass regulation was removed from Otisco Lake.
  • The duplicate listing of landlocked salmon was removed from the Lake George and tributaries regulation in Essex County.
  • Seven Finger Lakes were specifically listed instead of listing them as "All Finger Lakes except…"
  • The Fishing Regulations for Finger Lakes table were broken up into clauses for each row to add structure to the table.
  • The Special regulations for Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and St. Lawrence River table was broken up into clauses for each water body in the table to add structure to the table.

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