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New York

Fishing

Methods of Taking Fish

Angling

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. Snatching, lifting, hooking, and use of tip-ups are not angling.

  • Anglers must be in immediate attendance when their lines are in the water.
    • The use of set lines where the angler is not in immediate attendance is prohibited.
  • An angler may operate no more than 3 lines with or without a rod.
    • Each line is limited to not more than 5 lures or baits or a combination of both.
    • Each line shall not exceed 15 hook points in any combination of single, double or treble hooks.

Ice Fishing

  • General Ice Fishing Regulations
    • Ice fishing is permitted for most waters in New York, except for those waters where Special Regulations specifically prohibit this activity and for waters within Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties.
    • Ice fishing may be permitted in prohibited counties within certain inland trout stream waters - see inland trout stream regulations
  • Ice-Fishing Line Regulations
    See definition of ice-fishing line
    • No more than 7 ice-fishing lines in any combination of devices may be used, unless otherwise noted in Special Regulations.
    • No person shall operate an ice fishing line that has more than 5 lures or baits in total or has more than 15 hook points in total.
    • The operator must be in immediate attendance when ice-fishing lines are in the water.
    • Between May 1 and November 14, only hand lines (including rod and reels) may be used while ice fishing.
  • Ice Shanties Regulations
    Note: for the purposes of this regulation, portable shelters used and removed from the ice on a daily basis are not considered ice shanties.
    • Ice shanties must be marked on the outside with the owner's name and address in letters at least 3 inches high.
    • Shanties must be removed from all waters by March 15 to prevent them from falling through the ice and becoming hazards to navigation.

Bowfishing

  • Carp may be taken by a longbow (recurve or compound) in any number or size from May 15-September 30 from any water where fishing and the discharge of a bow is permitted.
  • A person must have either a fishing license, a hunting license, or is entitled to fish without a fishing license to take carp with a longbow.
  • No other fish may be taken with a bow.
  • Taking fish by a crossbow is prohibited at all times.
  • The Fish Carcass Disposal Law must be followed.

Taking Baitfish

See Baitfish Regulations

Use of Fish Traps

Fish (minnow) traps may only be used to take baitfish. See Baitfish Regulations for minnow trap specifications.

Use of Nets

Nets may only be used to take fish as follows:

  • The use of a landing net to complete the catch while angling is permitted.
  • Personally harvested baitfish may be collected with the various nets as described within the Baitfish Regulations.
  • Smelt, suckers, alewives, and blueback herring may be collected by dip nets as described below.
  • No other use of nets to collect fish is permitted.

Dip Nets

Any person who has a fishing license, or is entitled to fish without a license, may operate one dip net as specified in the tables below. These are the only circumstances where dip-netting is permitted unless a commercial license has been obtained. Smelt, suckers, alewives, and blueback herring are the only fish that may be taken with a dip net.

  • Statewide dip net regulations for smelt and suckers can be found in the tables below.
  • For dip net regulations on alewife and blueback herring, see Tidal Hudson River Regulations.

Smelt may be taken in any size dip net as follows:

WatersTributariesOpen SeasonDaily Limit
Lake Ontario
Lake Erie
Niagara River
within all tributaries from lake upstream to first barrier impassable by fishAll Year8 Quarts

Smelt may be taken in a dip net not exceeding 14 inches in diameter, or 13x13 inches if square, as follows:

WatersTributariesOpen SeasonDaily Hours & Limit
Tupper LakeLake and Bog River upstream to Rte. 421All yearAnytime
8 Quarts
Canandaigua Lake
Canadice Lake
Hemlock Lake
Keuka Lake
Seneca Lake
Cayuga Lake
Owasco Lake
All tributaries from lake upstream to first barrier impassable by fish, except for in Catharine Creek and L'Hommedieu Diversion channel (Seneca Lake) and upstream of old Lehigh Valley Railroad bridge at Naples Creek (Canandaigua Lake)All yearAnytime
8 Quarts
Indian Lake
Fulton Chain (except Seventh Lake)
East Caroga Lake
West Caroga Lake
All tributaries from lake upstream to first barrier impassable by fish, except for in Mead Creek from mouth upstream to State Rte. 29AApril 1-May 155 AM to 10 PM
8 quarts
Hudson River from Mario M. Cuomo Bridge upstream to the Troy DamAll tributaries from river upstream to first barrier impassable by fishAll yearAnytime
Any number