The fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish, including walleye, northern pike, pickerel and tiger muskellunge, opened Saturday, May 5 and with this, most of New York’s sportfish seasons will be open. This includes catch and release fishing for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) in many waters across the state.
Bass anglers should check the New York State Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide, www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7917.html to ensure that the water they desire to fish is open to catch and release angling. Muskellunge fishing season and the harvest season for bass opens on June 16.
Recently the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society ranked three of New York’s lakes in the top 14 on their list of the 100 best bass lakes in the country. Can you guess which three? Check in next week’s column for the answer.
The 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.
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 webpage for details at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/47282.html.
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 at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/50121.html.