Fishing Regulations

Fishing Regulations

Friday, October 21st, 2011

New York State fishing regulations can be obtained in paper form from numerous locations and it can also be found on their website at The regulations are broken between two main categories; freshwater and saltwater.  The freshwater regulations are further broken down into general guidelines and specific guidelines for particular bodies of water.

General Rules

The general rules are mostly straightforward, common sense rules.  Here is a brief summary of some of the more important rules

  • Most of the species of fish in New York State have a closed season.  This means there are certain times of the year that people cannot pursue these fish.
  • During open season each species of fish has a minimum size, and sometime maximum size, that is allowed for the angler to keep.
  • There are maximum numbers of fish that each angler can catch each day.
  • After catching the daily limit an angler can continue to fish if he/she practices catch and release.

Special Rules for Certain Waterways

The following water ways have a few additional rules in addition to the general New York state fishing regulations.  Most of these rules deal with gaff hooks, foul hooked fish and very specific fishing dates.  Before fishing on any of these waters it is a good idea to get familiar with their specific rules.

  • Finger Lakes
  • Great Lakes and Tributaries
  • Tidal Hudson River
  • Lake Champlain
  • New York City reservoir



People are allowed to use a compound bow or recurve to capture carp during the special season from May 15 to September 30.  Bowfishing is allowed by New York State fishing regulations on any body of water where fishing is legal and where use of the bow is legal.


For most of the state, snatching is not allowed.  However, there are certain water ways where snatching may take place beginning on January 1st and ending on May 15th.   The general regulations list the various counties and waters that allow snatching, but most of it is limited to catching suckers, whitefish, and burbot.

Ice Fishing

Anglers are allowed to ice fish in any non-trout water.  In addition, there are several trout waterways such as Niagara River, Lake Champlain and Lake Erie that permit ice fishing.  Each county has specific rules concerning ice fishing.  Anglers should become familiar with the open seasons, creel limits and minimum size limits before going ice fishing.  When going ice fishing for trout it is important to make sure you are fishing in waters clearly identified as legal areas for trout.

Cleaning of Fish

New York state fishing regulations prohibit any angler to have a brook trout, walleye, lake trout, Atlantic salmon or black bass that has been dismembered, skinned, cut, filleted or altered in any other way that prevents the length of the fish from being accurately measured.  These actions that are practiced by people attempting to evade the minimum size limit rule will not be tolerated by game wardens and other officers of the law.



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