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Draft New York Sunfish and Crappie Management Plan

Draft New York Sunfish and Crappie Management Plan Update
We are currently reviewing the 180 comments we received on the plan and will develop an "Assessment of Public Comments" document, which will be available here upon completion.

Sunfish and Crappie Management Plan cover

Sunfish (bluegill, pumpkinseed, and redbreast sunfish) and crappie (black crappie and white crappie) are widespread and abundant throughout New York and are very popular with anglers. These species generally provide harvest-based fisheries and there is concern that current harvest regulations could result in overharvest and lead to less than ideal size structures and lower quality fishing. DEC Bureau of Fisheries has developed a draft Sunfish and Crappie Management Plan that seeks to balance conservation and fishing opportunities for more sustainable fisheries in waters across the State. The draft plan also proposes development of destination fisheries for larger size sunfish and crappie through the "Big Panfish Initiative."

The draft plan takes into consideration both the current science on sunfish and crappie management and the opinions of New York anglers to set management objectives. Results from an online angler survey indicated support for more conservative sunfish fishing regulations. Recent research on the impacts of sunfish and crappie harvest regulations indicates that lowering daily harvest limits or increasing minimum size limits can result in improvements to population size structure which is likely to improve fishing sustainability and quality for these species.

Draft Plan Highlights

  • Reducing the sunfish statewide daily harvest limit from 50 to 25 fish.
  • Increasing the crappie statewide minimum size limit from 9 to 10 inches.
  • Establishing the Big Panfish Initiative, which includes:
    • Implementing an 8-inch minimum size limit and a daily harvest limit of 15 for sunfish in the following waters: Blydenburgh Lake (DEC Region 1), Lake Welch (Region 3), Canadarago Lake and Goodyear Lake (Region 4), Saratoga Lake (Region 5), Sixtown Pond and Red Lake (Region 6), Cazenovia Lake and Otisco Lake (Region 7), Honeoye Lake (Region 8), and Silver Lake (Region 9)
    • Implementing a 12-inch minimum size limit and a daily harvest limit of 10 for crappie in the following waters: Blydenburgh Lake (DEC Region 1), Muscoot Reservoir (Region 3), Saratoga Lake (Region 5), Delta Lake (Region 6), Cazenovia Lake and Otisco Lake (Region 7), Waneta/Lamoka lakes and Honeoye Lake (Region 8), and Bear Lake (Region 9)
  • Evaluating the impacts of these fishing regulation changes to sunfish and crappie population structure and through periodic checks of angler satisfaction.

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  • NYSDEC
    Bureau of Fisheries
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4753
    518-402-8924
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