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Commissioner’s Message


Welcome to a new season of outstanding freshwater fishing in New York State! New York offers fishing opportunities that are unmatched in the northeast for a wide variety of freshwater fish species.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass remain our most popular sportfish. Recently, “BASSMASTER” magazine ranked Lake Champlain, Lake Erie and Oneida Lake as 3 of the top 14 bass lakes in their list of the Top 100 Bass Waters in the United States. The Chinook and Coho salmon fishery in Lake Ontario has never been better and steelhead spawning runs into the tributaries of these waters add new excitement to the fishing experience. Many anglers rank hiking into a wilderness Adirondack pond in search of Brook Trout, our official state fish, as the top fishing experience in New York. Just ask William Altman, who set a new state record this spring with a brookie caught from a wilderness pond in Hamilton County that weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces!

Coldwater stream anglers concerned about the impact of last year’s tropical storm floods should know that trout populations are quite resilient and are already recovering. DEC is working to ensure that flood recovery and stream restoration activities protect important coldwater aquatic habitats. We are also developing new guidance and training to help communities respond to future flood events in an environmentally sound manner.

DEC is committed to promoting fishing and improving access for anglers in New York State. Some highlights over the past year are:

  • Construction of a new boat launch on Lake Ontario’s Chaumont Bay (Jefferson County) and on Cuba Lake (Allegany County).
  • Completion of the I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State fishing map that includes information on over 320 lakes and ponds and 110 rivers and streams in New York.
  • Hiring 11 new staff members to support DEC’s fish hatchery system which maintains annual production of over 900,000 pounds of warm and coldwater fish species for stocking in New York waters.
  • Continuation of studies to improve our statewide trout stocking program and management of black bass in Lake Champlain.

For more information on DEC’s fishing programs, license requirements and water access locations visit

So grab your rod and reel, gather family and friends, and experience New York’s extraordinary fishing. Have a great season!

Joe Martens, Commissioner

New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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