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Stocking Privately Held Waters

Land owners are often interested in stocking fish into waters on their property. Even though a pond or section of stream is privately owned, there are two important requirements that must be met before stocking occurs:

  1. Get a stocking permit: Under Environmental Conservation Law a fish stocking permit must be obtained from DEC before fish or fish eggs may be placed into any waters of the state. These permits are required to help protect the state's natural resources from possible harm due to stocking of undesirable or potentially troublesome fish species. For example some fish species are capable of disrupting plant, fish, or other animal communities and escapement of fish from one water to another due to events such as dam failure or flooding is frequently possible. By reviewing stocking permit applications, DEC fisheries personnel can also help you select fish species that are most likely to do well in the water you wish to stock.
  2. Get a Fish Health Inspection Report: To limit the risk of harm to the state's fisheries resources caused by fish diseases, DEC has enacted regulations that require fish health inspections for fish that are to be stocked into waters of the state, even privately owned waters. Depending upon fish species, inspections must certify that fish are free of up to 8 different pathogens (disease causing organisms). Private hatcheries or vendors that either raise or import fish for stocking in New York must have annual inspections. If you purchase fish for stocking, you should ask for (and must be provided with) a copy of the fish health certificate covering the fish species you are buying. This certificate must accompany the fish from point of purchase to stocking location.

How do I obtain a stocking permit?

DEC issues several permits that authorizes fish stocking, including the following:

Permit application can either be obtained by contacting your local DEC Regional Office or by going to one of the pages listed above. Fill out the form and return it to the appropriate DEC office (as specified on the form).

How much do stocking permits cost?

They are free.

Who sells inspected fish?

A list of private hatcheries with inspected fish for sale is available on DEC's website, or you may obtain a list from the DEC office handling your stocking permit application. Remember to get a Fish Health Inspection Report when you purchase your fish.

Can I stock fish that I caught from another water into my pond?

No. It is illegal to move fish from one body of water to another. You may unknowingly stock fish that are carrying a disease.

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