New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the finalization of new trout stream regulations that will take effect on April 1, 2021, and help improve the management of inland trout streams across the state. The new regulations support the objectives of the five management categories of DEC’s Trout Stream Management Plan and significantly increase trout stream angling opportunities by allowing fishing year-round. In addition, DEC launched a new interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map to provide anglers with information about how and where to find their preferred type of trout angling opportunities.

“These newly finalized trout stream regulations will help DEC implement our ongoing approach to trout stream management, which is based in science and developed transparently with public input,” Commissioner Seggos said. “These regulations not only extend fishing opportunities but also balance the desires of New York State’s diverse trout stream anglers with our responsibility to manage these resources to their fullest ecological and recreational potential. And the new interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map launched today adds to the incredible resources available on the DECInfo Locator, making it easier than ever before to access information about New York’s outdoor resources.”

The Trout Stream Management Plan’s categories, objectives, and strategies were developed to achieve outcomes identified by a diverse audience of anglers that participated in more than 20 public meetings held across the state. These changes also reflect DEC’s continuing efforts to simplify regulations whenever possible to make fishing more accessible and enjoyable. The rulemaking eliminates more than 20 types of special regulations associated with trout stream reaches, reducing 26 regulations to four, while sustaining a consistent level of resource protection.

The new regulations are:

  • Daily creel limit of five trout per day with no more than two longer than 12 inches statewide and for reaches categorized as Wild or Stocked in effect from April 1 through Oct. 15;
  • Daily creel limit of three trout per day with no more than one longer than 12 inches for reaches designated as Wild-Quality or Stocked-Extended in effect from April 1 through Oct. 15;
  • Daily creel limit of one trout per day, any size, for reaches designated as Wild-Premier in effect from April 1 through October 15; and
  • Creation of a statewide catch-and-release trout season in effect from Oct. 16 to March 31. During this period anglers are restricted to artificial lures only and must promptly release all trout caught.

Some exceptions apply for certain stream reaches. The new 2021 fishing regulations guide lists the new regulations with descriptions of the applicable stream reaches. A listing of how publicly accessible trout stream reaches are categorized is also available in DEC’s Categorization of New York State Trout Stream Reaches (PDF), available at DEC’s website.

New Interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map

To provide additional information about how and where anglers can find their preferred type of trout angling opportunities, DEC is launching an interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map to provide a one-stop-shop for information about stocking, fishing access, season dates, and regulations on the DECinfo Locator. All Wild-Quality, Wild-Premier, Stocked, and Stocked-Extended reaches are mapped, and DEC will complete the mapping of Wild categorized reaches later this year. Links to the Trout Stream Fishing Map and a User Guide are available at DEC’s website.

With more than 65 interactive data layers, DECinfo Locator lets users see and download permits, former industrial site cleanup plans, water quality reports, and more based on where they live, work, or play. DECinfo Locator’s outdoor activity data lets hikers, campers, hunters, and other adventurers plan forays into New York’s natural wonders, whether that be locating a fire tower and planning a route, setting up a weekend of fishing, or just browsing the activities allowed on nearby state lands. Multiple information layers can be activated at the same time, allowing users to see the many ways DEC is working to protect and enhance the state’s environment and recreational opportunities.

New 2021 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide

New for 2021, DEC streamlined its annual fishing regulations guide. With few exceptions, contents in the new guide are limited to only a summary of the laws and regulations anglers need to know before hitting the water. Taking a no-frills approach, ads and articles have been omitted, allowing for a better formatting and simpler lookup. Waterbodies are now listed alphabetically by region to make looking up regulations easier. The simpler approach also allowed DEC to significantly increase the size of print for easier reading. Lastly, the guide now measures 5 ½” x 8 ½” allowing anglers to easily keep a copy in their glove box or tackle box.

The new guide can be found at DEC’s website for downloading and printing at home. Production of hard copies is underway and DEC expects to have guides at License Issuing Agents no later than the second week of April. Hard copies can be requested by emailing FWFish@dec.ny.gov.