Trout Season Opens Thursday With New Regulations

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced March 29 that trout fishing season in New York state opens on Thursday, April 1. In preparation for opening day, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is stocking 1.8 million catchable trout in waters across the state. In addition to larger size fish being stocked this year, some stream reaches will receive four stockings of trout.

New York state offers a diverse set of fishing opportunities for wild and stocked trout. Under the State’s new Trout Stream Management Plan, DEC has grouped stream fishing opportunities into five distinct categories for improved management and easy-to-understand regulations to help make fishing more accessible and enjoyable for all anglers, from novice to expert.

The plan includes the following regulations for the Delaware River, which can be found on the Friends of the Upper Delaware River’s website:

• The East Branch, West Branch, and Main Stem of the UDR tailwaters are now categorized as a “Wild Premier” New York trout fishery and receive the highest levels of protection. Publicly accessible UDR tailwater tributaries are categorized as either “Wild” or “Wild Quality” fisheries. The Beaverkill, Willowemoc, and Oquaga Creek are categorized as “stocked” fisheries.

• The existing catch and release sections of the West Branch, Beaverkill, and Willowemoc remain in place and have not been modified by the new regulations.

• The new harvest rate for the UDR Wild Premier stretches is 1 trout per day, any size, for the entire tailwater system. This new management approach appropriately recognizes the UDR tailwaters as one river system, not three. Harvest rates for other UDR stream categories remain unchanged.

• The introduction of stocked fish to UDR Wild Premier stretches has been eliminated in New York waters.

• The stretch of UDR Main Stem from Lordville to Callicoon will not be designated as “Wild Premier” but will receive Wild Premier protections because of the high quality characteristics of this section of the UDR.

• The entire UDR tailwaters, including their tributaries, are now open for fishing on a year-round basis with catch and release/artificials only restrictions from Oct. 15 through April 1. The NYSDEC, FUDR, Trout Unlimited, and members of the UDR angling community are working together to develop a 3-year impact study in two reaches of the UDR tailwaters to determine if the expanded year round angling will have detrimental impacts on the fishery.

• For the PA/NY UDR border waters, there are ongoing discussions between the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the UDR angling community about the need to harmonize UDR fishing regulations. This is most important for harvest rates on the West Branch border waters (2 fish limit in Pennsylvania versus 1 fish limit in New York) and size restrictions on the West Branch and Main Stem (Minimum 14 inches in Pennsylvania versus any size in New York).

For more information, visit dec.ny.gov/outdoor/111015.html.

This fall, anglers will be able to fish for trout throughout the state due to the creation of a statewide catch and release season that will run from Oct. 16 through March 31. While year-round trout fishing has been enjoyed in many areas of the state, the season will provide an opportunity for anglers who have otherwise had to wait for spring. DEC will select a suite of streams and conduct a three-year study to evaluate the new regulation to ensure that the new season has no negative impact on natural trout production.

To prepare anglers for the 2021 trout season with the new management plan in place, DEC will host virtual outreach events in the coming weeks, including “how to” Facebook Live segments where viewers can learn about beginner trout fishing techniques. To access additional information about how and where anglers can find their preferred type of trout angling opportunities, DEC launched 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, dec.ny.gov/pubs/109457.html. Links to the Trout Stream Fishing Map and a User Guide are available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/122444.html. 

New York state is reminding anglers to stay smart when fishing:

• Socially distance;

• Mask up 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.

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