This year’s trout fishing season in New York opens on Sunday, April 1. Supporting the State’s growing sport fishing industry with an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity each year, DEC will stock 2.26 million catchable-size trout in 315 lakes and ponds and roughly 2,845 miles of streams across the state. Anglers should visit DEC’s website for a list of stocked waters and the 2018 Coldwater Fishing Forecast for recommended trout and salmon fishing locations.
DEC Commissioner Seggos said, “Good stewardship and improved water quality has resulted in an increase wild trout abundance in many waters across the State. Learning the habits and needs of wild trout contributes to angling success and a deeper appreciation of the resource and I encourage anglers to experience these fisheries.”
DEC’s spring stockings will include 1.72 million brown trout, 377,500 rainbow trout, and 158,500 brook trout. Approximately 97,000 two-year-old brown trout 13 to 14 inches in length will also be stocked into lakes and streams across the state. These fish will provide enhanced angling experiences for the estimated 647,000 anglers that fish for trout in New York.
Although fishing conditions can be less than optimal during the early season, conditions will improve as the weather warms. As always, the best early season fishing can be found on Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley, and Western New York, which tend to warm up earlier than other portions of the state.
New York also provides some of the finest backwoods brook trout fishing in the northeast. These opportunities are most abundant in the Adirondacks, where more than 500 waters are managed for brook trout. Fish in these waters can weigh more than three pounds. In 2018, more than 310,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in 345 lakes and ponds in the Adirondacks during the spring and fall to restore or enhance brook trout populations. Anglers new to brook trout fishing should look to the Guide to Brook Trout Fishing in Adirondack Ponds for assistance.
As part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, which is aimed at increasing outdoor recreational opportunities in New York, the State is making significant improvements to DEC’s fish hatchery system and waterway access facilities. Since 2014, $14 million in NY Works funding has been budgeted for hatchery improvements. Under the 2018-19 Executive Budget Proposal, New York’s Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative provides $19.5 million for state land access projects and an additional $4 million for fish and wildlife infrastructure.
NY Open for Fishing and Hunting hatchery improvement projects completed in 2017 include:
- Well rehabilitation projects at both Bath and Adirondack Hatcheries, improving water quality for rearing fish;
- Reconfiguration of the hatchery water outfall at Caledonia Hatchery;
- Installation of secure hydrogen peroxide storage at multiple hatcheries as required by the Department of Homeland Security;
- Purchase of four, one-ton stocking trucks and two sludge trucks to clean hatchery ponds;
- Rehabilitation of the feed storage building at Rome Hatchery; and
- Extensive improvements to the visitor center and grounds at the Salmon River Hatchery.
From stream habitat protection to the maintenance of public access infrastructure, a variety of management strategies are required to protect and enhance the diverse selection of trout and salmon fishing opportunities in New York State. Guided by recent studies on angler behavior and input from trout stream anglers in 16 public meetings held statewide last fall, DEC is revisiting inland trout stream management to identify strategies to support an assortment of trout stream angling experiences. Visit the DEC’s Trout Stream Management in New York web page for more information.
DEC also provides maps of its public fishing rights easements. Anglers are reminded to observe special trout regulations on waters noted in the current fishing guide. Additional information on places to fish for wild and stocked trout is available on DEC’s website.
For beginning or youth anglers, ponds are easiest to fish, particularly during the early season. Information about where and how to fish, including a new highly effective technique for early season trout, can be found on the DEC’s website.
Fishing License Required
Anyone 16 years of age and older must have a current State fishing license to fish in New York. Fishing licenses are now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. More information on purchasing a fishing license can be found on DEC’s website.
License purchasers are reminded that by law, every dollar spent on a fishing license helps fund fish stocking and other programs conducted by the Bureau of Fisheries. Please also consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp which helps fund important access and habitat improvement projects. For more information on the Habitat/Access Stamp program visit DEC’s website.