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Great Lakes and Tributary Regulations

These regulations apply to New York waters of Lake Erie, the Upper and Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and designated sections of the tributaries to these waters. Tributary sections subject to these regulations are generally defined as the bridge closest to the mouth upstream to the first barrier impassable to fish. Tributaries with different boundaries and exemptions are listed separately below. Note that there are also seasonal tackle restrictions and restrictions on night fishing in the tributaries. Statewide angling regulations apply for species not listed.

Regulations for All Great Lakes & Tributaries

Regulations for all Great Lakes waters, including Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Upper and Lower Niagara River, St. Lawrence River and tributaries to these waters:

  • Snatching and attempting to snatch is prohibited. See definition of snatching in General Angling Definitions.
  • All foul-hooked fish must be immediately released without unnecessary injury.
  • Use or possession of gaff hooks is prohibited except when ice fishing.
  • Any action to frighten fish and move them from concealment, including herding, driving, kicking or stoning, is prohibited.
  • The use of eggs for chumming is prohibited.

Special Regulations by Great Lakes water

Review the following pages for exceptions to the Statewide Angling Regulations:

More about Great Lakes and Tributary Regulations:

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