The air is definitely a lot cooler these days, and even more so in the morning if you’re trying to fish along the Erie Canal. However, the die-hards fishermen always find a way to get out there and catch the next ‘big one’.

New York residents can fish for free on Saturday, September 26, which is National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated each year to promote outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and target shooting.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC’s) Places to Fish webpages are a reliable source for those ready to plan their next fishing trip. For beginning anglers interested in getting started, the I FISH NY Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing provides information on everything from rigging up a fishing rod to identifying your catch and understanding fishing regulations. 

New York State continues to encourage people to engage in responsible recreation during the State’s ongoing response to COVID-19. This fall, anglers should be mindful in taking precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 while enjoying the outstanding salmon and trout fishing on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario tributaries, including the Niagara River, among other locations throughout the state. At popular angling destinations, especially the Salmon River in Oswego County, angler density can become high enough to make social distancing difficult. DEC is placing signage at popular locations reminding anglers to be SMART when fishing this year:

  • Socially distance at least six feet apart;
  • Mask – Wear one when you cannot maintain social distancing, especially in parking lots and along footpaths;
  • Avoid sharing gear when possible;
  • Respect your fellow anglers and the resource by providing space and practicing ethical angling; and
  • Take out what you bring in or place trash in receptacles.

Anglers fishing from a boat should make sure it’s large enough so persons on board are at least six feet apart from one another. For more information on boating guidelines and safety, go to State Parks website and for more information about how to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL, visit DEC’s website.