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Private Pond Stocking

Landowners and public groups/organizations may wish to stock their ponds or other waters for recreational fishing purposes or for managing nuisance plants, fish, or insects. To do so, the following steps are required before fish are stocked into fresh waters of New York State.

1. Apply for a Stocking Permit

An individual must apply for and receive an appropriate special license/permit to stock fish in their private waters. Details on the types of stocking permits for private waters is available in the table below.

2. Acquire Certified/Disease-Free Fish from a Licensed Commercial Hatchery

Fish cannot be collected from the wild and stocked into another waterbody as there is the potential for spreading diseases. Getting fish from a licensed commercial fish hatchery facility ensures fish being released into the water are certified disease-free from harmful pathogens.

A list of commercial fish hatcheries with inspected and disease free 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 from the hatchery when you purchase your fish. This should accompany the fish when they are transported from the point of purchase to your stocking location.

Types of Stocking Permits for Private Waters

One of the following DEC issued permits is required based on the needs for stocking fish into your pond or water.

Fish Stocking Permit Types
(each page linked below provides details on qualifications, requirements, and how to apply)
Farm Pond Fish Management Permit for stocking fish within privately owned or leased ponds that meet specific qualifications; typically in smaller waters that are 10 acres or less; usually for recreational purposes or for managing control of undesirable fish, vegetation, or insects. Learn more about Farm Pond Fish Management, including properly using fish to manage pond vegetation or fish production.
General Stocking Permit for stocking freshwater fish in any lake, river, pond, stream or water that is either publicly or privately owned; can apply to waters larger than 10 acres.
Grass Carp Stocking Permit for stocking grass carp to control aquatic plant growth in privately owned ponds that are 5 acres or less in size. Learn more about Grass Carp Stocking for Pond Management, including specific policies and procedures for using these fish to control aquatic vegetation.


Contact your local DEC Fisheries Office for additional questions or concerns regarding stocking fish in New York's fresh waters.

More about Private Pond Stocking:

  • Commercial Fish Hatcheries - A list of commercial fish hatchery facilities that have been licensed or permitted by DEC to rear or sell select fish species to the public for stocking their pond or other privately or publicly owned water.
  • Triploid Grass Carp in New York Ponds - Triploid grass carp can be used to control aquatic weed growth and are an alternative to the use of pesticides.
  • Farm Pond Fish Management - Information about farm pond fish management.
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    Albany, NY 12233-4753
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