New York DEC stresses safety as ice fishing begins across state
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding ice anglers to use caution and common sense as the ice fishing season begins across much of the state.
As part of the Governor’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, Feb. 18-19 have been designated as a free fishing weekend. The requirement for a fishing license is waived during this period.
The use of fish for bait is popular when ice fishing, and bait fish may be used in most, but not all, waters open to ice fishing. Visit the DEC website for a list of Special Regulations by County to find out where bait fish can and cannot be used, and for other regulations that apply to baitfish.
Anglers are reminded to take these important steps when using baitfish while ice fishing:
- Follow the bait fish regulations to prevent the spread of harmful fish diseases and invasive species (Special Regulations by County).
- Use only certified disease-free bait fish purchased at a local tackle store, or use only personally collected bait fish for use in the same water body in which they were caught.
- Do not reuse baitfish in another water-body if the water the fish were purchased in has not been replaced.
- Dump unused baitfish and water in an appropriate location on dry land.
Anglers are reminded to make sure that they have a valid fishing license before heading out on the ice during non-free fishing weekends. Fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. To learn more, visit the DEC’s Sporting Licenses webpage.