The 2020 season for Largemouth and Smallmouth bass opens this Saturday, June 20 and runs through Nov.30. Most waters also allow a catch and release season which starts Dec. 1 and continues until regular fishing season opens.
Anglers can use artificial lures during the regular season. Some waters have regulations particular to them, and New York State anglers should be sure to check out the DEC’s fishing regulations guide before heading out to the water.
Black bass are abundant, aggressive, come in a variety of sizes and are found all over New York from neighborhood ponds to warmwater rivers and streams. These factors all contribute to the black bass being New York’s No. 1 sport fish. New York’s inland rivers and streams can be exceptional locations to catch these fish, as they are often overlooked by most anglers.
The DEC would like to remind anglers that fishing for black bass (including catch and release) is prohibited outside of the open season in Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Hamilton, and Franklin counties. In these counties black bass season is June 20-Nov. 30 only.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos has the following to say about the opening of Black Bass season: “New York provides some of the best bass fishing in the country, including the St. Lawrence River, which in 2019 was named the top bass ‘lake’ in the country by Bassmaster Magazine. As New Yorkers start heading outdoors for the summer season after months of staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there’s nothing better than spending time with family and friends on the water pursuing these exciting sportfish while still recreating responsibly and practicing social distancing.”
Remember to follow local social distancing and COVID prevention guidelines while fishing:
- Fish local:Stay close to home. Keep your fishing trip short. Avoid high-traffic destinations.
- Be safe:Avoid crowds and groups. Keep a distance of six feet or more from others. When fishing from a boat, make sure it’s large enough so persons on board are at least six feet from one another. If such distance cannot be maintained, acceptable face coverings must be worn at all times by all individuals on the vessel.
- Stay home:If you’re not feeling well, stay home. Anyone 70 and older or with a compromised immune system should postpone their trip.
- Be adaptive:Move quickly through parking lots and paths. If crowded, choose a different fishing location, or time to visit.
Photo: Lake Champlain bass tournament, courtesy of ROOST/Almanack archive