In New York, fishing season for many popular gamefish opens May 6

Fishing heats up on May 6 with the opening of the walleye, pike, pickerel, and tiger muskellunge seasons, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation‘s 2017 Warmwater Fishing Forecast can help guide anglers to recommended waters to fish for these species.

There are more than 140 walleye fisheries in the state. Many of these are a result of DEC management efforts to restore and create walleye fisheries. This year, the state plans to stock 46 waters with walleye, including nine waters where they are being introduced to establish new fisheries. Walleye are stocked at a small size and typically grow to legal size in four years. The New York waters of Lake Erie boast a premier walleye fishery. Excellent fisheries can also be found in Oneida LakeChautauqua Lake, and Whitney Point Reservoir, just to name a few. Tips for Fishing for Walleye are available on DEC’s website.

May 6 is also the opening day for several of New York’s toothy fish: northern pike, tiger muskellunge, and chain pickerel. The explosive strike of these fish provides for an exciting fishing encounter for anglers that target these sleek ambush predators.

New York is a destination for trophy pike anglers. Great Sacandaga Lake has produced a number of 20-plus-pound pike in recent years. Other destination waters include St. Lawrence River, Cranberry Lake and Conesus Lake.

Tiger muskellunge, a hybrid between northern pike and muskellunge, grow to a large size and are stocked in 35 waters across the state. DEC stocks these fish to provide anglers with the opportunity for a trophy fishing experience where historically none were available. Otisco Lake, a small Finger Lake, is perhaps New York’s premier tiger muskellunge water. Seneca RiverLake Durant, and Middle Branch Reservoir are also notable tiger musky fisheries.

Chain pickerel typically inhabit shallower and weedy waters and can be great species to target for anglers that desire lots of action. Saratoga Lake can offer fantastic chain pickerel fishing, but anglers shouldn’t overlook local ponds for these gamefish. Madison Reservoir, Harriman Park Lakes, and Peconic River are good bets for fast pickerel action.

When considering places to fish, New York’s medium to large warmwater rivers are also good locations. Often overlooked, rivers such as the AlleghenyBlackOswegoChemungSusquehannaTioughniogaUnadilla, Oswegatchie and the Mohawk offer good fishing for one or more of these species.

Special fishing regulations apply on selected waters for all of these species. As always, anglers should check the Freshwater Fishing Regulations for the water they intend to fish before heading out to the water and remember their fishing pliers.

Under the 2017-18 Budget, Governor Cuomo’s Adventure NY provides $50 million for State land access projects, including $4 million for fishing hatcheries and the pheasant farm.

Providing better information to anglers is also an important component of the state’s I FISH NY program. For a listing of free fishing events, visit the Free Fishing Clinics web page on DEC’s website. The public is advised to check back regularly as new events are regularly added to the list.

— New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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