In light of increased wild production, the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative (NY, VT, USFWS) is reducing lake trout stocking by 33 percent (~27,060 fish). This decision is based on data that indicates increased catches ofild lake trout in annual standardized nettings used to monitor the contribution of wild vs. stocked fish to the lake trout population. Biologists and researchers deem the stocking reduction an essential management action that must be taken to ensure a healthy balance between salmonine (trout and salmon) sport fish and prey so a quality fishery can be maintained. The stocking reduction will be achieved initially by eliminating lake trout stocked by DEC.
The observations of increasing wild lake trout production in Lake Champlain is exciting news and a testament to the progress that has been made toward the restoration of a self sustaining lake trout population over the past 60 years.
NYS DEC has announced that there is still time to comment on the potential fishing regulations for inland trout streams in New York State. Those interested in posting comment can find the text of regulations proposed, as well as instructions for submitting comments on the DEC’s website. Public comments on proposed rule changes will be accepted until January 25.
If you need a quick reminder, the DEC is proposing an amendment to Trout Stream Sportfishing Regulations by creating new statewide regulations, 4 regulation categories, and a catch and release season from October 15th through March 31st.
I was a thirteen or fourteen-year-old boy in the early 80’s when I started fly-fishing for trout. I’m not sure if I instinctively understood to keep my favorite trout streams to myself, or if I was taught to keep them to myself by the old-timers who made me a fly-fisher. But I was imperfect. I shared my favorite trout streams with some high school buddies. I know some of those guys were not my closest friends. So there’s no telling with whom they talked after we fished together. I’m sure word got around to some degree.
A watershed association made up of key groups and individuals formed on my favorite trout stream in the 1990’s and I became secretary. I had since learned that trout streams need friends, not button-lipped fly fishers. The minds of the old-timers who wanted to keep the stream’s secrets to themselves were flawed; all those who enjoyed or profited from the resource needed to come together to discuss and tackle issues related to the health of the watershed.
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.
The New York State Department of Enviornmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos Announced in a DEC Newsletter that the statewide fishing season for Lake Erie, Upper Niagara River, Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River opens on the third Saturday in June (June 20th) this year. The statewide muskellunge season opener falls on May 30th as well in all locations excluding the ones mentioned above.
At sometimes 50 pounds are more, Muskies are the largest freshwater fish in NYS, with a minimum size limit of 40 inches (or 54 inches in Great Lakes waters). Anglers should review the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide on the DEC’s website before heading out on the water.
Muskellunge’s have always proved a challenge due to their size and their tenacity once hooked, earning them the nick name “the fish of 10,000 casts”. Their unpredictable nature has proven to be an irresistible challenge to many anglers come the summer season, and population management in New York entails habitat protection and enhancement, research, monitoring, stocking, and regulating as a consequence. At least 13 lakes and 19 rivers in New York State have muskellunge populations.
The DEC also wants to remind anglers that we are in fact still in a quarantine status, even though we have began reopening in phases. It is important to maintain a safe social distance while fishing. Remember to fish local, keep your trips short and avoid high traffic locations. When fishing on a boat, make sure it is large enough so persons on board can maintain 6 feet of space. If you don’t feel well, stay home, and be adaptive. Move quickly through parking lots and paths, and if a path is crowded, choose a different one.
Starting today (Saturday, May 2), it’s open season for cool water fish like walleye, northern pike, pickerel, and the tiger muskellunge.
Historically, walleye only inhabited waters in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Allegheny River watersheds in New York. Today, primarily due to stocking and other DEC management efforts, walleye occur in more than 140 waters from all of the major watersheds of the state.
Visit the DEC’s website here to find prime fishing locations, and check out the feature article “Prized ‘Eyes,” in DEC’s Freshwater Fishing Digest, where the DEC reveals how they manage walleye, and where to catch them.
Kristyn Hanna proudly holds a walleye she caught from Oneida Lake in February 2019. DEC photo
April 1 marked the beginning of trout season, and while getting fresh air and exercise outside is essential to your health and happiness, it’s important to remain proactive in preventing the spread of COVID-19 among your fellow anglers. The DEC has these recommendations:
First, make sure to get your fishing license. Due to the closure of locations where a license would normally be available, you can order one online by visiting this link, or over the phone by calling 1-866-933-2257.
Once you have your license, make sure you follow the fishing regulations. Requests for hardcopies are currently delayed due closures of the town clerk offices, but a PDF version of the 2020/2021 regulations is available for download from the DEC’s website. If you want to receive a hardcopy, just email [email protected] and include your physical mailing address.
Remember to socially distance yourself, and to avoid crowded fishing spots!
On a picture-perfect winter morning last year, 20 Saint Michael’s College students and I visited Vermont Fish and Wildlife scientists for ice fishing at Knight’s Point on Lake Champlain. We drilled holes, baited hooks, learned about ice safety, identified fish – and even caught a few. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the release of a draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) for the Croghan Tract Conservation Easement in Lewis County in the Western Adirondacks.
DEC is now inviting the public to share comments and ask questions about the draft plan at a public meeting and/or to submit comments on the draft RMP during the 30-day public comment period. » Continue Reading.
Chazy Lake is approximately 1,800 acres in size, runs 3.5 miles in length, and has a maximum depth of 72 feet. Chazy Lake is managed under the Chazy Highlands Wild Forest and is set in the valley between Lyon and Ellenburg Mountain providing excellent mountain views and great fishing opportunities.
Ice fishing is permitted on Chazy Lake which holds lake trout and landlocked salmon. The best fishing is said to be concentrated in the center of the lake over the deepest water. » Continue Reading.
DEC has surveyed New York’s licensed freshwater anglers once every decade since 1973. The latest data is from a survey conducted in 2018 and summarizes the input provided by approximately 11,000 anglers that fished the freshwaters of New York State during the 2017 calendar year.
Results of the survey revealed significant increases in angler effort for a number of waters when compared to a 2007 survey. The Saranac River experienced the greatest increase, 150 percent, as more visited to fish primarily for smallmouth bass and brown trout. Lake Champlain saw a 72% increase. » Continue Reading.
The Champlain Basin Education Initiative has announced a free International Year of the Salmon Workshop for K-12 teachers, set for Saturday, January 25, 2020 in Grand Isle, Vermont.
Teachers will work with a fisheries biologist to learn about salmon life cycle, habitat needs, and restoration efforts in the Champlain watershed, with a Trout Unlimited angler to learn about Salmon and Trout in the classroom programs, and have a chance to dissect fish as well. The history of salmon and their importance as a food source to early inhabitants of the Champlain Valley will also be featured. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has encouraged anglers to get out and safely enjoy ice fishing, a great way to spend time with family and friends outdoors during the winter months.
Four inches of solid clear ice is usually safe for anglers accessing ice on foot. Ice thickness can vary on waterbodies and even within the same waterbody. Anglers should be particularly cautious of areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice from forming. Testing the ice can easily be done with an auger or spud bar at various spots. Fishing with a family member or a friend is also encouraged for safety. » Continue Reading.
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