New York is a state of immense natural beauty that provides numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. With a multitude of lakes including Lake Placid, Black Lake, Lake George, portions of Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain, and with rivers aplenty, it is hardly surprising that one of the most popular recreational sports in the state is fishing. In New York fishing is permitted by angling, hooking, spear fishing, and even use with a longbow. Ice fishing is also practiced on many lakes in winter, such as Lake Champlain and Lake George.
Salmon are one of, if not the, most sought after of New York’s recreational fishing options. They populate the Finger Lakes region, Lake George, Schroon Lake, and many other Adirondack lakes and ponds. The king salmon, or Chinook, is only found in Lake Erie and Ontario due to being a non-native species brought in by stock fishing decades ago. The coho variety of salmon averages in at ten pounds, and is also stocked – presently the state Department Of Environmental Conservation introduces thousands of coho salmon into Lake Ontario. The kokanee, or red salmon, is the smallest found in New York state.
New York has several varieties of trout angle for. The state fish, which is found throughout the state, is the brook trout. Rainbow and brown trout are also popular to fish for. Another option, the lake trout, is a gorgeous long-lived creature found within the Great Lakes. Anglers will be pleased to hear that lake trout can easily achieve 15 pounds within New York! The Schoharie River and Batavia Kill River are splendid for fly fishing, especially for trout.
Reservoirs provide excellent fishing opportunities within the state. Whitney Point Reservoir, part of the Otselic River, is once such spot that is enjoyed by fisherman of bass, crappies, and walleyes. Whitney Point Reservoir is a popular New York state fishing location due to its speed restrictions, northeastern drop off point, and its prime spawning location.
One can enjoy catching both true bass and black bass. New York boasts beautiful striped bass fishing along the Hudson River’s tidal potion and among Long Island waters. White Perch can be caught from the Hudson River, Oneida Lake, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and even the St. Lawrence River. Additionally, the Adirondack region is filled with both large and small mouth bass.
Crappies are found in both black and white varieties in lakes and streams. They are known to inhabit Whitney Point Reservoir, Cayuga Lake, and Black Lake to name a few locations.
Fishing law within New York State extends to boundaries of all rivers and tributaries, but not the coast which requires a separate, cost-free, marine fishing license. All fishermen and fisher women over the age of sixteen are to own a license for recreational fishing. Various exemptions include fishing on your own land or residents of Veteran’s Administration hospitals fishing on VA land but as such exemptions are of little use to the sporting fisherman, a license is almost always necessary.
Fishing licenses are available for a time period of one day, seven days, a yearly option, and a special lifetime option. Licenses are available for the same time periods to vacationers, too (except for the lifetime license), but fees are cheaper for residents. The lifetime license is a special resident-only option that is also available to be given as a gift.
To qualify for the state-resident rates you must be living in a home within New York state for over thirty days before applying for a license. Additionally, members of the U.S Armed Forces serving within New York, or college students attending a school within the state, qualify for residential license.
Don’t have a license? Don’t fret! Maybe you can make one of the many open fishing events sponsored by the DEC. Also, one weekend within the summer is a state-wide license-free event; The final full weekend of June is considered open to every individual whether they own a license or not! This is the perfect opportunity to introduce that visiting relative or out-of-state friend to your favorite hobby!
Note: Fishing is by state law prohibited on preserves, and for some oceanic fish migrating through the state.
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.