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The 2014 New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Guide is now available!
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Below is content from the 2013 guide.

Great Lakes and Tributary Regulations

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These regulations apply to New York waters of Lake Erie, the Upper and Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and designated areas of the tributaries to these waters. Areas of the tributaries which are subject to these regulations are generally defined as the bridge closest to the mouth upstream to the first barrier impassable to fish. Tributaries with different boundaries and exemptions are listed separately below. Note that there are also seasonal tackle restrictions and restrictions on night fishing in the tributaries. Statewide angling regulations apply for species not listed.

Lake Erie and Tributaries

Species

Open Season

Minimum Length

Daily Limit

Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout (including Steelhead), Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Pink Salmon

All year

12″

3 in any combination

Lake Trout

All year

12″

1

Northern Pike

1st Sat. In May through March 15

22″

5

Walleye

1st Sat. In May through March 15

15″

6

Muskellunge, Tiger Muskellunge

3rd Sat. in June through Nov 30

54″

1

Yellow Perch, Sunfish

All year

Any size

50 of each

Black Bass

1st Sat. in May through the Friday preceding the 3rd Sat. in June

20″

1

3rd Sat. in June through Nov 30

12″

5

Dec. 1 through the Friday preceding the 1st Sat. in May

Catch and release only

Artificial lures only

Lake Sturgeon

Closed

Possession Prohibited

Upper Niagara River and Tributaries

Species

Open Season

Minimum Length

Daily Limit

Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout (Including Steelhead), Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Pink Salmon

All year

Any size

3 in any combination

Lake Trout

All year

12″

1

Northern Pike

1st Sat. In May through March 15

22″

5

Walleye

1st Sat. In May through March 15

15″

6

Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge

3rd Sat. in June through Nov 30

48″

1

Yellow Perch, Sunfish

All year

Any size

50 of each

Black Bass (north of the Peace Bridge)

Statewide angling regulations apply

Lake Sturgeon

Closed

Possession Prohibited

Lower Niagara River and Tributaries

Species

Open Season

Minimum Length

Daily Limit

Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout (including Steelhead), Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Pink Salmon

All year

15″, except 21″
for Rainbow Trout

3 (Trout & Salmon) in any combination not to include more than 1 Atlantic Salmon or 2 Lake Trout

Lake Trout

Jan. 1 through Sept. 30

None, except only 1 Lake Trout may be between 25″ and 30″

Atlantic Salmon

All year

25″

Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge

3rd Sat. in June through Dec. 15

48″

1

Northern Pike

1st Sat. in May through March 15

22″

5

Black Bass

Statewide angling regulations apply

Walleye

1st Sat. in May through Dec. 31

18″

3

Jan. 1 through March 15

18″

1

Yellow Perch, Sunfish

All year

Any size

50 of each

Lake Sturgeon, American Eel

Closed

Possession Prohibited

Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River and Tributaries

Species

Open Season

Minimum Length

Daily Limit

Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout (including Steelhead), Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Pink Salmon

All year

15″, except 21″ for Rainbow Trout or Steelhead

3 in any combination not to include more than 1 Rainbow Trout (or Steelhead) in the tributaries

Except 9″ in Irondequoit Creek (entire), Lindsey Creek and Skinner Creek (Oswego and Jefferson Counties), and the Black River (Jefferson County)

Lake Trout

Jan. 1 through Sept. 30

None (except no more than 1 shall be between 25″ and 30″)

2

Atlantic Salmon

All year

25″

1

Northern Pike

1st Sat. in May through March 15

22″

5

Black Bass (Lake Ontario & tributaries except in Jefferson County)

Statewide angling regulations apply

Black Bass (Lake Ontario and tributaries in Jefferson County & St. Lawrence River and tributaries)

3rd Sat. in June through Nov 30

12″

5

Fishing for black bass (including catch & release) is prohibited outside of the open season.

Walleye

1st Sat. in May through March 15

18″

3

Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge

3rd Sat. in June through Dec. 15

48″

1

Lake Sturgeon, American Eel

Closed

Possession Prohibited

Yellow Perch, Sunfish

All year

Any size

50
Except Yellow Perch and Sunfish may be taken in any number in Jefferson County

12NYFW-ReasearchUnits.jpg

 

Special Regulations for Great Lakes & Tributaries

Regulations for all Great Lakes waters including Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Upper and Lower Niagara River, St. Lawrence River and tributaries to these waters.

At all times:

  • Snatching and attempting to snatch is prohibited. See definition of snatching .
  • All foul-hooked fish must be immediately released without unnecessary injury.
  • Use or possession of gaff hooks is prohibited except when ice fishing.
  • Any action to frighten fish and move them from concealment, including herding, driving, kicking or stoning is prohibited.

 

Seasonal Regulations for Great Lakes Tributaries

Great Lakes Tributaries with Seasonal Closures

Water

County

Closed Period

Spooner Creek and tributaries

Erie

Fishing prohibited from Jan. 1 through March 31

North Branch Clear Creek and tributaries from Taylor Hollow Road upstream to outflow of Clear Lake

Erie

Fishing prohibited from Jan. 1 through March 31

Little Sandy Creek in Oswego County from the State Route 3 bridge downstream 850 feet to the intersection of the channelized area and upstream 1.0 mile from the bridge to the Public Fishing Rights section

Oswego

Fishing prohibited from March 16 through the first Saturday in May.

Great Lakes Tributaries with Seasonal Regulations
Portion of each tributary subject to seasonal regulations listed below.

Water

County

Portion of Tributary Subject to Special Regulations

Cattaraugus Creek

Erie & Cattaraugus

From the Aldrich Street Extension Bridge in Gowanda upstream to Springville Dam

Eighteenmile Creek

Niagara

From the Route 18 bridge upstream to Burt Dam

Oak Orchard Creek

Orleans

From the power lines that are 1.9 miles upstream (south) of Route 18 bridge upstream to Waterport Dam

Sterling Creek

Cayuga

From Old State Road to impassable barrier upstream of Route 104A

Sterling Valley Creek

Cayuga

From McIntyre Road to impassable barrier upstream of Route 104A

Oswego River

Oswego

From the Utica Street bridge upstream to the Varick Dam

Catfish Creek

Oswego

From the mouth upstream to dam at County Route 1

Salmon River

Oswego

From the upstream most navigation buoy located between the breakwalls at the mouth upstream to the County Route 52 bridge in Altmar. See special regulations for the Salmon River (Oswego County) fly fishing catch-and-release areas, which are listed separately below .

Black River

Jefferson

From the upstream tip of the lowermost island to Mill Street dam in Watertown

Buffalo River and Tributaries to the Buffalo River

Erie

From the I-90 (NYS Thruway) bridge upstream to first barrier impassable by fish

All other tributaries

All

From the bridge closest to the mouth upstream to first barrier impassable by fish

Effective Dates

Seasonal tributary regulations are effective SEPTEMBER 1 THROUGH MARCH 31 for all waters listed in the table above, except the Salmon River in Oswego County where the effective dates are AUGUST 15 THROUGH APRIL 14.

Fishing Hours

Fishing at night (one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise) is prohibited, except in the Black River (Jefferson County) from Lake Ontario upstream to the Route 180 bridge in Dexter, where fishing is permitted at all times, and in the Salmon River in Oswego County, where fishing at night is permitted from Lake Ontario to the Route 3 bridge from April 1 through August 14.

Hooks

  • Hooks attached to any lure, except an artificial fly, must be free-swinging.
  • Hooks may have a gap (distance between the shank and the point) of no more than one-half inch except for floating lure bead chain configurations on the Salmon River as permitted below.
  • Use of hooks with added weight is prohibited, except that artificial flies with no more than one-eighth ounce of added weight may be used. For the purposes of this regulation, the method by which weight is added to a hook does not affect classification as an “artificial fly,” provided the conditions of the definition of an “artificial fly” are otherwise met.
  • Only one hook with a single hook point is permitted, except on floating lures, as outlined below, or in Lake Erie tributaries where multiple hook points are permitted.

Floating Lures

  • A “floating lure” is a lure that floats while at rest in water regardless of any weight attached to the line, leader or lure.
  • Any hooks on a floating lure must be attached to the lure by a ring or swivel.
  • The distance between the body of a floating lure and the points of any attached hooks shall not exceed one-and-one-half inches.

Restrictions on the use of multiple hooks and hooks with multiple points on floating lures are as follows:

Water

County

Regulation

All Lake Ontario tributaries in Cayuga & Oswego counties except the Oswego and Salmon rivers

Restricted to 1 hook with a single hook point September 1 through March 31

Salmon River

Oswego

Restricted to 1 hook with a single hook point August 15 through October 31

Genesee River

Monroe

Restricted to 1 hook with a single hook point from the Driving Park bridge upstream to the lower falls September 1 through November 30

All other tributaries and the Oswego River

All

Multiple single, double, or treble hooks are permitted at all times

Additional regulations on Floating Lures in the Salmon River

Where floating lures are allowed to be used on the Salmon River, the following additional regulations apply:

  • From August 15th through October 31st, a bead chain may be attached to the floating lure with a ring.
  • The bead chain configuration may not exceed a distance of three-and-one-half inches between the body of the floating lure and the hook point.
  • The hook in the bead chain configuration shall not have a hook gap greater than five-eighths inch.

Leaders and weights

  • The distance between the hook, artificial fly or lure and any weight attached to the line or leader, whether fixed or sliding, shall not exceed four feet.
  • In addition, when the above special tributary regulations are in effect for Lake Ontario tributaries in Oswego and Cayuga counties, and the Genesee River (Monroe County) from the Driving Park Bridge upstream to the Lower Falls: weight shall not be added to the line, leader, swivels, artificial fly or lure in any manner such that the weight hangs lower than the attached hook, artificial fly or lure when the line or leader is suspended vertically from the rod.

Great Lakes Waters Exempted from Seasonal Tributary Regulations

Water

County

Applicable Regulations

Niagara River

Erie & Niagara

Upper Niagara River or Lower Niagara River regulations apply

Round Pond, Buck Pond, Long Pond, Cranberry Pond, and Irondequoit Bay

Monroe

Lake Ontario regulations apply

Sodus Bay

Wayne

Lake Ontario regulations apply

South Sandy Pond

Oswego

Lake Ontario regulations apply

Tributaries to the St. Lawrence River

All tributaries in Clinton and Franklin

Statewide regulations apply

 

Special Regulations for the Salmon River (Oswego County) Fly Fishing Catch-And-Release Areas

Fishing Hours, Season Dates and Locations:

  • Angling Permitted: From one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Lower Fly Section: Open September 15 through May 15, from County Route 52 Bridge in Altmar upstream 0.25 mile to the marked boundary at Beaverdam Brook.
  • Upper Fly Section: Open April 1 through November 30 from a marked boundary upstream of the New York State Fish Hatchery property to a marked boundary 0.6 mile upstream at the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir tailrace.
  • Fishing is prohibited outside the open season.

Regulations:

  • Catch & Release: All fish must be immediately released without unnecessary injury.
  • Tackle Restrictions: Tackle is restricted to a traditional fly rod, fly reel, fly line, and artificial fly. (As permitted below)

Restrictions on fly lines, flies, attractors, leaders and supplemental weight:

Fly Lines:

  • Use of less than 20 feet of floating, sinking, or combination floating/sinking fly line or shooting head immediately behind the leader and in front of any running line or other backing is prohibited.
  • Between May 1 and August 31: Floating Fly Lines Only.
  • Between September 1 and April 30: Floating, Sinking, and Sinktip fly lines are permitted.

Flies:

  • Between May 1 and August 31: a single unweighted artificial fly having one hook point with a one-half inch maximum gap only permitted.
  • Between September 1 and April 30: a single unweighted or weighted artificial fly with no more than 1/8 oz. added weight, having one hook point with a one-half-inch maximum gap only permitted.

Attractors:

  • The use of added baits or attractors such as, but not limited to, fish eggs, insects, beads, spoons, spinners, plugs, or similar devices on the line above the artificial fly is prohibited.

Leaders:

  • The total length of the leader including the tippet shall not exceed 15 feet.
  • Between May 1 and August 31: sinking and metal leaders are prohibited.

Additional Weight:

  • Between May 1 and August 31: the use of supplemental weight such as split shot, sinkers, metal leaders, twistons, or swivels attached to the leader, tippet, fly line or fly is prohibited.
  • Between September 1 and April 30: the use of supplemental weight is permitted with the following restrictions.
    • The combined weight of any supplemental weight and fly may not exceed one-eighth of an ounce.
    • The maximum distance between the artificial fly and any added weight to the line, leader or tippet shall not exceed four feet.
    • Weight added to the line, leader, swivels, or artificial fly in any manner such that the weight hangs lower than the attached fly is prohibited.

 

Special Year-Round Catch-and-Release Regulations for Chautauqua Creek and Eighteen Mile Creek

Locations

  • Chautauqua Creek (Chautauqua County) from the bridge on South Gale Street upstream 1.3 miles to the upper dam used by the Village of Westfield for water intake.
  • Main Branch of Eighteen Mile Creek (Erie County), excluding S. Branch, contained within the Eighteen Mile Creek County Park.

Regulations

  • Catch and release only (trout and salmon)
  • Artificial flies or artificial lures only
  • Seasonal regulations regarding leaders and weights for Great Lakes tributaries shall apply.
  • Single, double or treble hooks may be used with a one-half-inch maximum gap.
12NYFW-GreatLakeTribRem.jpg

 

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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