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New York Anglers Encouraged to Get Outside Safely, Practice Social Distancing during COVID-19 Public Health Crisis
State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today reminded New Yorkers that trout and salmon fishing season opens on Wednesday, April 1. New York’s coldwater lakes and streams offer springtime trout anglers the opportunity to pursue trout in a wide array of settings across the state. During the current COVID-19 public health crisis, getting outdoors and connecting with nature while angling in New York’s waters is a great way to help maintain mental and physical health.
Commissioner Seggos said, “Fishing is good for the mind and body. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo continues to invest in ensuring New York’s renowned fisheries remain healthy and productive. While this winter’s mild conditions offered ample opportunities for hardcore or novice trout and salmon anglers to pursue their favorite gamefish on waters open to year-round fishing, springtime remains the main event. Water temperatures are rising, causing trout to feed more aggressively, and present a perfect opportunity for anglers. I encourage all anglers, novice, and expert, to get outside and fish, but act responsibly by practicing social distancing and staying safe.”
New York’s diverse and abundant trout and salmon fishing results in a cumulative five million days spent fishing the state’s freshwater fisheries and contributing economically to local communities. Anglers looking forward to pursuing stocked trout can visit the DEC website to find a complete list of this spring’s planned trout stocking for 2.27 million catchable-size brook, brown, and rainbow trout in 307 lakes and ponds and roughly 2,845 miles of streams across the state.
Spring stockings will include 1.68 million brown trout, 424,860 rainbow trout, and 156,970 brook trout. Approximately 98,000 two-year-old brown trout 13-14 inches in length are included in the brown trout total. Nearly 1.6 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake, and coho salmon will be also be stocked by DEC this spring to provide exciting angling opportunities over the next several years. Almost 307,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in more than 300 Adirondack lakes and ponds this spring and fall to provide unique angling opportunities for future years.
On many waters, due to the constraints imposed by the recent discovery of zebra mussels at Rome Fish Hatchery, anglers can expect to find some species substitutions and changes in trout numbers compared to what was stocked in 2019. Additional information about DEC’s strategic response to the discovery of this aquatic invasive species at the Rome Fish Hatchery and the impact on spring trout stocking is available on DEC’s website. The list of waters stocked with trout in past years is available on the DEC website.
Robust populations of wild trout in waters ranging from small headwater streams to large rivers like the Upper Delaware offer outstanding fishing opportunities for anglers ready to test their skills. Trout fishing is a sport that can be readily combined with a hike or paddle and lead to a truly memorable outdoor experience.
Governor Cuomo created the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in the state.
Under Governor Cuomo’s Adventure NY initiative (PDF, 10.57 MB), DEC is also making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources and boost local economies. This initiative is supporting improvements ranging from enhancements to youth camps and environmental education centers to new boat launches, duck blinds, and hiking trails. To date, a total of $17 million in NY Works funding has been allocated to infrastructure repair and modernization of DEC’s hatchery system.
While enjoying the outdoors, please continue to follow the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:
- Try to keep at least six (6) feet of distance between you and others.
- Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
- Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.
When fishing, DEC recommends avoiding busy waters and following the guidelines on DEC’s website about fishing responsibly in New York State. If an angler arrives at a parking lot and there are several cars, they should consider going to another parking lot. If an angler is fishing upstream, they should fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day. Anglers fishing from boats should be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another. For more information about the benefits of being outdoors safely and responsibly, go to DEC’s website.
To further limit the community spread of COVID-19, DEC is encouraging hunters, trappers, and anglers to purchase sporting licenses online. Sporting licenses may be purchased online at any time, and anglers may use their privileges immediately by simply carrying their transaction number (DEC-LS#) with them while afield. Anglers, hunters, and trappers may also use the HuntFishNY mobile app to display an electronic copy of their license. The HuntFishNY app is available for download through the Apple App or Google Play stores. Back tags and carcass tags must still be mailed, and customers should allow 10-14 days for receipt of their tags. Please visit our website for more information about sporting licenses.