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Black Bass Management in New York

Fisheries technician holding a largemouth bass.
DEC fisheries biologists conduct surveys to assess
black bass populations throughout the state.

Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) are New York State's two black bass species. They are the largest members of the sunfish family, Centrarchidae, are ecologically important as top level predators, and are the most sought after freshwater sportfish in the state. New York is renowned for its bass fishing opportunities; some of the best bass fishing in the country can be found here. Lake Erie, the St. Lawrence River/Thousand Islands, Chaumont Bay (Lake Ontario), Lake Champlain, Oneida Lake, Chautauqua Lake and Cayuga Lake have all recently been selected as national top 100 bass lakes by the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS), and there are many other outstanding fisheries throughout the state.

Management Efforts

Over the last several decades, bass fisheries and habitats have undergone significant changes. Bass angling is now primarily a catch and release activity and tournament fishing has become much more prevalent. A statewide fishing regulation for black bass allows catch and release angling through the winter and spring in most waters. Also, invasive species like zebra mussels and round gobies have had dramatic impacts on bass habitats and populations. The DEC Bureau of Fisheries tracks the impacts of these changes and monitors the status of black bass fisheries through a combination of fish population and angler surveys, and special studies. Management of the fisheries are based primarily on the information derived from these efforts. Review the reports below to get in depth information about black bass management activities in New York State.

Statewide Reports

Evaluation of the Black Bass 10-inch Minimum Size Limit in New York Rivers (2020) (PDF)
Black Bass Angler's Experiences and Views on Tournaments and Fisheries Management (2013) (PDF)
Characterizing the Status of Black Bass Populations (2014) (PDF)
A Review of River and Stream Black Bass Data from the Statewide Fisheries Database, 2004-2013 (2015) (PDF)

Reports by Water

For reports of largemouth and smallmouth bass surveys conducted on individual waters, visit the appropriate Regional Fisheries Management Reports webpage.

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