Fishing Regulations Icon New York Fishing

Angling means taking fish by hook and line. This includes bait and fly fishing, casting, trolling and the use of landing nets to complete the catch. Anglers must be in immediate attendance when their lines are in the water. An angler may operate no more than three lines with or without a rod, and each line is limited to not more than five lures or baits or a combination of both, and in addition, each line shall not exceed fifteen hook points in any combination of single, double or treble hooks. Snatching, lifting, hooking and use of tip-ups are not angling.

Artificial lures or bait means artificial imitations of natural bait, man-made flies, spinners, spoons, plugs, jigs and other lures, including those that may contain some natural substances such as deer hair and feathers.

Artificial fly means a hook with no more than two points dressed with feathers, hair, thread, tinsel or any similar material to which no additional hooks, spinners, spoons or similar devices have been added.

Black bass means both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Blind snatching means the taking of fish by snatching when the fish is not visible to the angler.

Catch and release means catching and immediately releasing the caught fish without harm. Measuring, weighing and photographing of the fish are permitted as long as the fish is not removed from the water for an extended period or handled in a manner that could cause it harm. Fish may not be placed in a bucket, tub, livewell, on a string or any other holding device. Catch and release angling is only permitted during the open season for a particular fish species. Catch and release angling during the closed season, or for endangered or threatened fish species is prohibited.

Chumming means depositing in the water any substance, not attached to a hook, which may attract fish.

Fishing means the taking, killing, netting, capturing or withdrawal of fish by any means. This includes every attempt to take fish, plus assisting another person in taking or attempting to take fish.

Foul-hooked means not hooked in the mouth.

Hook gap means the distance from the shank to the point of the hook.

Ice fishing means fishing through the ice on frozen waters.

Ice-fishing line means any device used for fishing through the ice, including but not limited to hand line, tip-up, tip down, etc.

LL Salmon means landlocked salmon or Atlantic salmon.

Marine and Coastal District includes waters of the Atlantic Ocean within 3 miles of the coastline and all other tidal waters, including the Hudson River upstream to the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

Minimum length means the greatest possible length measured from the tip of the fish’s snout to the tip of the tail. The mouth may be open or closed and the tail may be spread or compressed in order to achieve the greatest length.

Natural bait means all baits which entice or might be ingested or swallowed by fish including, but not limited to, fish (dead or alive), fish eggs, worms, shellfish, crustacea, amphibians (frogs and toads), insects (including all stages of development such as larvae, pupae, etc.), pork rinds, liver, meat, corn or other vegetable matter, tapioca, candy, cheese, bread and putty or dough-like scented baits.

Night means ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise.

Snatching means taking fish not attracted by bait or artificial lure with hooks, gangs or similar devices whether or not baited. Snagging, lifting, and single hook snagging are types of snatching. Snatching is indicated by repeated or exaggerated jerking motions of the fishing rod.

Spearfishing or “spear” means taking a fish with a hand-propelled single or multiple pronged pike, blade or harpoon. It does not include the mechanically propelled device commonly called a spear gun.

Sunfish means bluegill, pumpkinseed and redbreast sunfish.

Trout means brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and hybrids of these species including splake.

Water body, as referenced in DEC baitfish and fish health regulations, shall mean any lake, river, pond, stream or any other distinct mass of water existing in the State of New York, whether publicly or privately owned, including the banks and shores thereof. A water body shall also include all tributaries upstream to the first barrier impassable to fish, including the banks and shores thereof. For the purposes of this definition, locks and dams shall be considered impassable barriers. In addition, each of the following 12 combined water bodies, including all tributaries up to the first impassable barrier, shall be considered the same water body except that border waters shall only include the portion inside New York:

  • Lake Ontario in combination with the Lower Niagara River and the St. Lawrence River;
  • Lake Erie in combination with the Upper Niagara River, Black Rock Canal, and waters of the Erie Barge Canal from the Upper Niagara River to Lock E-35 in Lockport;
  • Oswego River from Lock 7 to junction with Oneida River and Seneca River at Three Rivers;
  • Oneida River downstream of Caughdenoy Dam and Erie Barge Canal from Lock E23 to the junction with Oswego and Seneca Rivers;
  • Oneida Lake and Erie Barge Canal downstream to Lock E23 and upstream to Lock E22, and the Oneida River downstream to Caughdenoy Dam;
  • Mohawk River from Barge Canal in Rome upstream to Delta Dam;
  • Erie Barge Canal from Lock E22 east to Lock E6;
  • Lake Champlain, including the Champlain Canal north of Lock 12;
  • Hudson River from the Federal Dam at Troy to Bakers Falls in the City of Hudson Falls, and the Champlain Canal up to but not above Lock 7 in Fort Edward, and the Erie Barge Canal up to but not above Lock E6 in Waterford;
  • Hudson River downstream from the Federal Dam at Troy to the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan Island.
  • Susquehanna River downstream of dam in Oakland, Pennsylvania and the Chenango River.
  • Saranac Chain of Lakes from Lake Flower upstream to Barlett Carry Dam.

“Ice Fishing Permitted”

Where it appears in this guide, “Ice Fishing Permitted” means that any species, during its open season, may be taken from November 15th through April 30th by ice fishing. Persons required to have a fishing license must have a current license. No other DEC special permit is required. With few exceptions (as noted in the regional regulations sections), no more than 7 ice fishing lines may be used.


Note: Periodically, DEC or its designated agent(s) may use contact information from license holders to communicate with license holders and to conduct surveys and research involving New York State fish and wildlife. The information obtained will provide public input on fish and wildlife management actions and human interactions with New York’s fish and wildlife resources.