Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass Season Kicks-off June 17 through November 30
Supports $1.8 Billion Sport Fishing Industry in New York
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the harvest season for black bass, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, opens June 17. As New York's most popular freshwater sportfish, black bass season supports the state's growing sport fishing industry and an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity each year.
"New York is home to some of the country's most pristine waters and world-class fishing that can be found at every corner of the state," Governor Cuomo said. "With the start of black bass fishing season on June 17, I encourage everyone to cast a line and experience all that New York's great outdoors has to offer to this year."
In 2016, Bassmaster Magazine listed six New York waters in the top 25 Best Bass Lakes in the Northeast, including Lake Erie (#1), Thousand Islands (#4), Lake Champlain (#8), Oneida Lake (#11), Cayuga Lake (#12) and Chautauqua Lake (#20). Also in 2016, Lake Erie was ranked as the nation’s fourth best bass lake.
New York's traditional bass season opens each year on the third Saturday in June and runs until November 30, but a catch-and-release season exists for most of the state from December 1 through the third Friday in June. Variations in minimum length and daily limits exist for some waters, so anglers are encouraged to check the current fishing regulations guide before heading out to fish.
"Regardless of size, black bass are some of the most acrobatic fish and challenging sportfish to land," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Bass fishing is some of the most fun you can have on New York's waters and Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Hunting and Fishing initiative is improving access and increasing outdoor recreational opportunities across the state."
DEC fisheries biologists have conducted numerous bass population assessment surveys across the state since 2012, and quality size bass between three and five pounds have been collected from waters large and small. New Yorkers and visitors are encouraged to experience fishing in every region of the state, including New York City where 3-pound bass can be found in the 55 acre Prospect Park Lake.
Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are widely distributed across the state and there are plenty of great places to fish. For more information on the more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, and 70,000 miles of rivers across New York State, as well as a full list of fishing opportunities in each region, click here.
Smallmouth bass are famous for their fighting ability when hooked and have the reputation for being the best sporting fish around. Smallmouth bass prefer cool, clear water areas of lakes and flowing streams with a gravelly or rocky bottom and moderate vegetation. Adult smallmouths are usually found near the protection of rocks or near submerged logs. To learn more about smallmouth bass, click here.
While not known to put up as much of a fight as their cousins, largemouth bass can be just as challenging because of the fish’s preferred habitat. Largemouths thrive best in warm, shallow, well-vegetated areas of ponds and sluggish streams. Largemouth bass prefer to stay among dense aquatic vegetation or close to submerged cover, such as stumps, logs, or dock pilings. To learn more about largemouth bass, clickhere.
Visit DEC's recent bass surveys for a list of waters where three to five pound bass were recently collected by DEC biologists.
Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Boaters are reminded that new regulations require boats, trailers, and associated equipment to be cleaned of visible plant and animal material and drained prior to launching on any public waterbody. Additional regulations at DEC launch locations require boaters to clean and drain their boat and associated equipment before leaving the launch site following their boating trip. Anglers and boaters can unknowingly spread aquatic invasive species unless they take these basic steps before and after their boating or fishing trips. 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 Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species webpage on DEC's website.
Fishing License Requirements
Before heading out to fish, make sure you have a current fishing license. Anyone 16 years of age and older who desires to fish in New York must have a state fishing license. Fishing licenses are also now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase, so please be sure to check that it has not expired.
New York reduced license fees in 2014 for both resident and nonresident anglers, making fishing in New York more affordable than ever. Buying a license has also been made more convenient. Anglers can purchase their license and print them for immediate use on their home computer via the NY License Center website. Anglers can also purchase their license by phone by calling 1-866-933-2257, or from the numerous license issuing agents across the state. Those purchasing over the phone will receive a confirmation number allowing them to fish immediately.
Those interested in purchasing a lifetime fishing license should consider a New York State Adventure license, which is incorporated on their NY Driver's License and provides a free fishing themed license plate.
As part of Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, which is aimed at increasing outdoor recreational opportunities in New York, the state is making significant improvements to DEC’s fish hatchery system and waterway access facilities. Since 2014, $14 million in NY Works funding has been budgeted for hatchery improvements. Projects completed in 2016 included the installation of fish-rearing raceways at Chateaugay Hatchery, pond renovations and a new emergency generator at the South Otselic Hatchery, cleaning of the major water supply line by "pigging" at Salmon River Hatchery, and new water and wastewater piping and valves at Rome Hatchery.