Anglers rejoice: Trout season opens in Central New York

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Time for anglers to dust off their tackle boxes and rig their fishing rods because Wednesday marks the opening of trout season in Central New York.

For weeks, many New Yorkers have been cooped up in their homes trying to stop the spread of coronavirus, but anglers can finally rejoice as they have an opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors. 

It’s April Fools’ Day, but for some anglers April 1 is like Christmas morning.

“Bass have become very popular, but trout still have a big following within a large percentage of the angling community,” David Lemon, Region VII Fisheries Manager, said. “It’s a much-awaited for date for a lot of people.”

This season could be particularly rewarding for anglers as the Department of Environmental Conservation announced more than 2.2 million catchable-size trout have been stocked in New York’s waters.

“We have a lot of good fishing opportunities in Central New York and around the state,” Lemon said. “There’s no particular concern [with population].”

The per day bag limit for trout across the state remains at five. In most of Central New York you are permitted to keep five trout per day, but you can only keep up to two trout over 12 inches in length.

However, the regulations for trout can vary for each body of water depending on the species of trout you are fishing, so you are encouraged to check the specific regulations for the lake/stream you want to fish before heading out.

In regards to only allowing anglers to keep two trout over a foot in length, Lemon said, “It puts some more value on our larger fish… Anything bigger than a 12 inch trout is really a quality-sized fish, so we’re trying to give them a little more protection.”

The best time to fish can vary depending on personal opinion, but for some species of trout the earlier the better. 

“If you wanted to catch a Finger Lakes Rainbow Trout, earlier in the season is better because they come up and spawn, and then they head back to the lakes, and they’re not in the tributaries very long after they spawn,” Lemon said. 

For other species of trout, like Brown or Brook, the April 1 opening date could be a little early depending on the water temperatures. Lemon said most people think trout bite the best from mid-April until early May. 

The continued spread of COVID-19 has impacted everyone, and the fishing world is no exception. 

While many anglers can enjoy fishing and abide by social distancing guidelines at the same time, the DEC urges anglers to continue to follow the CDC and New York State Health Department’s guidelines when participating in the sport they love. 

Lemon said, “This year I would say it’s all about keeping safe, and making good choices in terms of how close you are to other people and avoiding those situations that the health department is saying don’t put yourself into.”

While fishing, the DEC recommends avoiding busy waters. If a parking lot has several cars in it, anglers should try and fish at a different location. If an angler is fishing upstream, people should fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day.

Also, Anglers fishing from boats should be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another. To try and limit the spread of COVID-19 between communities, the DEC also recommends people recreate as close to home as possible. 

For a full list of regulations the DEC has implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

Anglers can apply or renew their fishing licenses online at any time, by clicking here.


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