A Legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
With summer well under way, many have had the chance to enjoy a summer sport or activity and for many Central and Northern New Yorkers, the sport of choice is fishing.
This region contains many lakes, rivers, streams and ponds to cast a lure and enjoy the outdoors with some time away from home or the office.
Besides providing a great way to enjoy nature and have fun, fishing is also beneficial to the local and state economy.
Officials at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation estimate that the overall economic impact of sport fishing in New York is $2.26 billion and those in the tourism industry believe this number is on the rise.
The Department of Environmental Conservation’s website features many ways anglers and aspiring anglers can find out more about the sport including the best spots to fish nearby or general information on fishing conditions and stocking information.
While there’s nothing better than seeing the fish in the wild, technology has enabled anyone with a computer to download a detailed guide that teaches the basics about fishing and the some 165 fish species in New York’s lakes, streams and rivers.
The guide called “I Fish NY, a Beginner’s Guide to Freshwater Fishing,” teaches beginners how to identify some of the many fish anglers can find from Chinook salmon to bullhead.
Pictures of every kind are listed along with which types of waterways they prefer and their diets.
That guide can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/98506.html.
In addition to their website that contains many maps and brochures about fishing, in 2014 the state released a New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App called the Pocket Ranger.
This app can be downloaded by most smart phone users.
It provides map information, has a built-in compass, provides information on current fishing conditions, gives information on fish species, and can let you keep track of where your friends are hunting or fishing.
The state also offers free fishing clinics throughout the year in an attempt to expose more people to the sport who do not have a license.
In fact, during the last weekend in June, the state opened the sport up to anyone to try fishing during a free fishing weekend.
Another free clinic is scheduled for Aug. 13 at Fair Haven State Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the park’s upcoming Paddle Festival.
Fishing licenses are not required for this clinic.
On Nov. 11, 2016, residents can fish anywhere again without a license during one of many free fishing days.
Increasing access to fishing and including more free fishing dates throughout the year allows more people the opportunity to have some free fun with their families and friends.
The state has invested in its hatcheries in recent years, to make the sport more enjoyable and provide more opportunities to New Yorkers and more tourists.
According to the DEC, this year about 2.3 million brook, brown and rainbow trout were stocked in lakes, ponds and streams across the state.
Nearly 2 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake, Chinook salmon and coho salmon were also stocked.
Information on stockings is available by county here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html.
Central New York Public Fishing rights maps can be found here, http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/44869.html and here is a link to the Northern New York Public Fishing rights maps: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/44864.html.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.