More Than 1.8 Million Trout Being Stocked Statewide

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the upcoming start of the spring trout fishing season, which provides excellent angling opportunities statewide thanks to the State’s extensive stocking program and considerable number of wild trout fisheries. DEC’s spring trout stocking begins in March and runs through early June, and includes more than 1.8 million trout stocked in waters statewide.

“Fishing in New York State is a highly anticipated, world-class experience that brings seasoned and amateur anglers to our waters in every corner of the State every spring,” Commissioner Seggos said. “DEC’s extensive fish stocking efforts throughout the State are certain to complement our existing healthy fisheries and make the upcoming harvest season a success.”

Trout Fishing

For decades, April 1 was the traditional “opening day” of trout fishing season. This year, the date marks the opening of the harvest season for trout because year-round fishing was made available on most streams with the implementation of an Oct. 16 – March 31 artificial lures-only catch-and-release season.

Trout Stocking

DEC stocking trucks have already begun hitting the roadways and trout stocking is in full swing with 1,872,105 catchable brown, rainbow, and brook trout stocked in ponds and streams across the State this spring. Stocked-Extended streams (listed in the Trout Streams section of the regulations guide) will receive fish every other week for two months to enhance season-long opportunities for angler success. Most streams will also receive a seeding of larger stocked trout. Spring trout stocking lists, including the week of stocking for trout streams, can be found at DEC’s website. Additionally, DEC recognizes some fisheries rely on stocked fish to reach a certain size before they can be harvested. Visit DEC’s website to find locations where these put-grow-and-take stockings of brook trout, lake trout, and Atlantic salmon take place.

New Fishing Regulations

DEC recently announced the adoption of new freshwater fishing regulations that will take effect on April 1. Following a public comment period on draft proposals earlier this year, the new regulations reflect the input and support of the angling community in DEC’s efforts to make fishing New York’s waters less complicated. Of particular interest to trout anglers is a new statewide regulation for rainbow trout, brown trout, and splake. The regulation creates consistency with inland trout regulations and expands opportunities for year-round fishing. A complete compilation of changes and an assessment of public comment associated with the rulemaking can be found at DEC’s website.

New Trout Stream Signage

As part of DEC’s efforts to make fishing more enjoyable, DEC has posted “Management Category” signs on most of the State’s 1,500 miles of public fishing rights. Management categories make a sharp distinction between wild trout management (wild, wild quality, wild premier) and stocked trout management (stocked, stocked-extended) – more details (PDF) can be found at DEC’s website. These signs convey not only the management category for a particular stream reach, but also the regulations associated with the reach. Anglers are advised to look for the white and green signs with a trout when fishing trout streams with public fishing rights.

Trout Stream Fishing Opportunities

Last year DEC launched an interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map to provide anglers with one-stop-shopping for information about stocking, fishing access, season dates, and regulations on DECinfo Locator. Anglers will be able to view trout stream reaches color-coded by management category and fishing access associated with those reaches. These layers will allow trout stream anglers to plan their trips and find their preferred trout stream fishing experiences. The Trout Stream Fishing Map and a User Guide are available on DEC’s website. Anglers are encouraged to check out this valuable resource when planning their next fishing trip.

2022 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide

The new guide with recently adopted regulations changes is posted on the DEC website. Hard copies of the guide are currently being produced and guides are anticipated to be available at License Issuing Agents by the second week of April. Hard copies can also be requested by emailing FWFish@dec.ny.gov. In 2021, DEC removed advertisements and articles from the annual fishing regulations guide to make it easier to use. This approach and larger print size continues this year, along with more improvements to facilitate finding regulations. Measuring 5 ½ x 8 ½ inches, the new guide allows anglers to keep a copy in their glovebox or tacklebox.