Updated Proposed Bass New York State Bass Season Changes

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This information complied by Bill Hilts Jr.
provided  for you from Outdoors Niagara

New Bass Proposal in Final Phase   POSTED: JULY 26 2005

      The move to create a year-round bass season is now closer to reality. And for those of you worried that the change in the regulations was going to affect your competition fishing on Lake Erie during the special early trophy season, the final recommendation handed over to the Department of State for the Official Comment Period exempted Lake Erie from the first Saturday in May through the third Saturday in June. However, there are some changes that everyone needs to be aware of. "We've taken as far as we can as far of the Bureau of Fisheries is concerned," said Bureau Chief Doug Stang. "The final step is the State Administrative Procedures process that's the Official Comment Period for these type of regulations changes. After reaching out to the stakeholders, we feel that this package is the most amenable to the anglers, while still providing enough resource protection for the fishery." The public comment period will take place some time this fall.

      In the meantime, the final proposal is this: A catch-and-release bass season would be put into place from December 1 through the Friday before the third Saturday, the date of the regular season opener as we've come to know it. Artificial lures only can be used during the catch-and-release season. Exempt waters for the catch-and-release season (meaning that these waters are not part of the special regulation and anglers cannot target bass) include the St. Lawrence River; Lake Ontario east of Stony Point; the tidal portion of the Hudson River and tributaries; Black Lake; and any body of water in Franklin and Hamilton Counties. Lake Erie will also be an exemption, but in a different sort of way. It will be part of the early catch-and-release regulation until the first Saturday in May, when the early trophy season will kick back into effect. However, rather than a minimum size of 15 inches and one fish that is currently in effect for the early bassers, the minimum size will increase to 20 inches - making it a true trophy fishery. Live bait can be used during the early season on Lake Erie. It will continue until the state's regular bass season falls into place.

         You can see why the state handles these fishing regulations changes every two years now. With all these hoops to jump through and stakeholders to account for, these proposals - should they pass the final state process - won't go into effect until October 1, 2006.

Posted July 26 2005

      There are a few other proposals that will also be advanced forward to the Department of State. They include: A change in the lake trout regulation for Lake Ontario. Currently, anglers are allowed to keep three lake trout per person. However, a slot limit exists that forces anglers to release all fish between 25 and 30 inches inclusive. The new proposal, put forward by DEC in response to complaints from the Eastern Basin of the lake, would allow anglers to keep one fish inside the slot and one fish outside the slot - maintaining the current 25 to 30 inch window of protection. That window was designed to protect the prime spawners.

Posted July 26 2005

         A lower Niagara River proposal to reopen the winter walleye fishery is back on the table. Last year, the lower river was closed from January 1 to March 15 to protect huge females that have been extremely susceptible to angling pressure. Proponents of the closure were amenable to a slight modification that would allow the season to be kept open, but only allow for a one fish daily creel with a minimum size of 18-inches. This would allow for someone to keep a fish for a meal or a trophy for mounting, while still protecting the resource. Studies are underway to determine what strains of fish the lower Niagara River walleye are. The results could create another modification in the future.


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