2012 Freshwater Fishing Season Kicks Into High Gear for The Great Sacandaga Lake

With catch and release Bass season already underway in some waters, freshwater fishing kicks into high gear on May 5 2012 for the Great Sacandaga Lake and New York state with the opening of the fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish!

The fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish, including Walleye, Northern Pike, Pickerel and Tiger Muskellunge, opens Saturday, May 5 2012 and with this, most of New York’s sportfish seasons will be open, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. This includes catch and release fishing for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) in many waters across the state and the special trophy black bass season on Lake Erie where anglers can take one 20-inch or longer fish per day.

Bass anglers should check the New York State Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide to ensure that the water they desire to fish is open to catch and release angling.  Muskellunge fishing season and the regular (harvest) season for black bass open on the 3rd Saturday in June (June 16).

“New York provides exceptional warm-water fishing opportunities,” said Commissioner Martens. “In fact, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society recently ranked three of New York’s lakes in the top 14 on their list of the 100 best bass lakes in the country. We hope all anglers find the time to enjoy these outstanding fishing opportunities in 2012 and encourage them to share their experience by introducing someone new to the sport.”

Walleye are very popular springtime targets, and fishing opportunities now exist in more than 100 waters throughout the state. As part of ongoing management and research programs, DEC has stocked 56 waters with walleye fry or fingerlings over the last five years in almost all regions of the state. Spring also provides outstanding fishing opportunities for yellow perch, sunfish and crappie. These species are common throughout the state and provide easy fishing for even novice anglers. A popular sportfish in southern and Midwestern states, channel catfish also flourish in many of New York’s larger lakes and rivers, provide a very tasty meal, and are state underutilized by anglers.

Check out some tips and locations for catching big channel catfish and a complete listing of 2012 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found on the DEC website.

DEC will continue a number of bass studies in 2012. These studies include an effort to assess black bass populations statewide, the investigation of black bass movements following bass tournaments on Lake Champlain and a tournament monitoring program on Oneida Lake. Participation from bass anglers will be requested for both tournament studies.

Use Baitfish Wisely

Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. In most cases, these fish must also be certified as disease free. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List“ is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected, and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle except within one of three defined overland transportation corridors. Please review the baitfish regulations for details.

Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases

Anglers are also reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found on the DEC website.

License requirements

Anglers 16 years of age and older must have a New York State fishing license available on the DEC website or by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS. Fishing licenses can also be purchased from the 1,500 license issuing agents located throughout the state (town and county clerks, some major discount stores and many tackle and sporting goods stores). By law, every dollar spent on a fishing license helps fund programs conducted by the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, including the fish stocking program.

Photo courtesy of Jan Tik’s on Flickr