Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Upper Hudson River Catch-and-Release Fishing

Map detailing the Upper Hudson River
Map detailing the area of the upper Hudson River

The upper Hudson River is open to sportfishing on a catch-and-release basis only. This includes the river section between the Federal Dam at Troy and Bakers Falls in the Village of Hudson Falls and all tributaries in this section up to the first barrier impassable by fish, such as a dam or waterfall.

Rules to Know

All fish caught within the upper Hudson River must be immediately returned to the water unharmed. Follow the Special Fishing Regulations and adhere to the open seasons for all fish species.

New York State fishing license requirements apply to all anglers age 16 and older.

Fines for violation carry a maximum penalty of $250 per violation.

Why Catch and Release Only

For Your Health- In 1976, the Upper Hudson River was closed to fishing due to extremely high amounts of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish. These levels posed a high risk of possible harmful health effects in humans.

Since 1976, the manufacture of PCBs has been banned and their use phased out. However, PCB levels in fish from these waters still remain well above acceptable levels for human consumption. Since very little, if any, PCBs are transmitted to people through the handling of fish, catch and release allows people to enjoy fishing without getting the elevated PCB exposures they would have if they ate these fish.

Health Risks - PCBs build up in your body over time, and may be harmful to your health. Studies have shown that PCBs can cause cancer and reproductive and developmental problems with animals. We don't know whether PCBs cause cancer in humans, but some studies suggest that PCBs may cause developmental effects in infants whose mothers were exposed to PCBs and other contaminants. Therefore, women of childbearing age need to be especially careful not to eat contaminated fish from the upper Hudson. During pregnancy and when breast feeding, women could pass contaminants on to their babies. Children under the age of 15 should not eat contaminated fish since they are still growing and developing, and are at a higher risk from PCB exposure.

For the Fishery - During the time the upper Hudson River was closed to fishing, the fish populations had the opportunity to improve in numbers and quality. Large fish are common. Besides minimizing the eating of PCB contaminated fish, catch and release will help maintain high quality sportfishing opportunities.

More Information

Releasing Fish - Best Practices - Review guidelines on the best way to release fish to ensure their survival.

Environmental Monitoring of Aquatic Toxicants - find details and reports on monitoring contaminants like PCBs in fish.

Removal of PCBs in the Hudson - To find out about PCB remediation efforts, contact DEC's Division of Environmental Remediation at (800) 342-9296

Remember: Do not take home or eat fish from the upper Hudson River between Hudson Falls and the Federal Dam at Troy. Your cooperation with the catch-and-release regulation is necessary for the state to continue to allow fishing in these waters. We ask you to inform others who may be fishing the river so that they too can avoid the adverse health effects of PCBs while enjoying fishing through catch and release.

  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-8924.
  • Contact for this Page
    Bureau of Fisheries
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4753
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to Hudson River region