New DEC Fishing Regulations will go into effect as of April 1, 2015. Listed below is the summary of changes, edited to apply to fly fishing the Southern Tier. Changes that effected bait or lure fishing as well as the netting of fish, for example, were not included. There are a few changes of note for those who like to fish the Great Lakes tribs along with a few more that apply to certain species of fish and waters in the local area.
A review of the summary will help inform before heading out to fish on April 1st and after. However, it’s very important that anglers review the regulations in detail for the waters and species being fished. Ultimately, you, the angler, are responsible should a DEC Conservation Officer approach and question your angling.
New or Modified Regulations Pertaining to Sportfish Species:
- Modifying the statewide regulation for muskellunge by increasing the minimum size limit to 40 inches and adjusting the season opener from the third Saturday in June to the last Saturday in May.
- Initiating a catch and release season for trout for sections of the Salmon River (Franklin County) and Ninemile Creek (Onondaga County), and extend the catch and release season at Fall Creek (Cayuga Lake).
- Establishing a special trout regulation of a daily creel limit of five fish with no more than two fish longer than 12 inches, for some waters in Oriskany Creek (Oneida County).
- Establishing a 15-inch minimum size limit for lake trout and clarify that the statewide regulations apply for other species for Owasco Outlet (Cayuga County).
- Clarifying, in regulation, a definition for “catch and release fishing” and defining how incidental catches of untargeted fish are to be handled.
Elimination of special regulations that are no longer warranted. Statewide fishing regulations now apply:
- Deleting the special minimum size and daily creel limit walleye regulation for Tully Lake (Cortland and Onondaga Counties).
- Eliminating the special regulations (examples being minimum size limit, daily creel limit, season length and/or method of take) for trout, landlocked salmon and/or lake trout, at several waters including Schoharie Reservoir, Susquehanna River (between Otsego and Goodyear Lakes), Launt Pond (Delaware County).
- Eliminate the “all year – any size” special regulation for black bass at Cayuta Creek in Tioga County.
Regulations Pertaining to Gear and Angling Methods:
- Clarifying that the current regulation for the Great Lake tributaries restricting the use of hooks with added weight was not intended to ban the use of small jigs.
- Expanding the prohibition of weight added to the line, leader, swivels, artificial fly or lures to all Lake Ontario tributaries (i.e. beyond a limited group of tributaries) from September 1 through March 31 of the following year.
- Clarifying the use of multiple hooks with multiple hook points on Lake Erie tributaries is legal, as well as clarify that the use of flies with up to two hook points is legal on all Great Lake tributaries.
- Reinstating the prohibition on large landing nets (nets larger than 50 inches around the frame or with a handle longer than 20 inches) for Finger Lakes tributaries except for those sections that are specifically identified.
The DEC is focusing on improvement. According to the DEC website, several changes were also made to properly establish or clarify an earlier regulation change, better define an existing regulation (by rewording), or address regulations that have not changed but are now redundant and covered elsewhere in the regulations including as a result of consolidation.
Know the rules. Take time now to review the regulations. It will help you fish with more confidence.