State Plans Regulation Changes for 2014

Article excerpt

Will Elliott: State plans fishing regulation changes for 2014-16

Anglers fishing New York State waters have until Aug. 16 to offer input on a good number of proposed fishing regulations changes for the 2014-16 fishing seasons.

Department of Environmental Conservation fisheries planners established a changed format for fishing regulations every other year; approved and accepted changes begin Oct. 1 of each even year. DEC officials have posted listings for statewide, regional and countywide rules changes designed to standardize regulations and/or adjust to changes in fish populations and harvesting conditions.

Three notable statewide changes apply to area anglers. The muskellunge minimum size limit will be set at 40 inches for all waters and the season opener would be moved to the last Saturday in May, including Chautauqua Lake. The rationale for this musky size change is to have Chautauqua rules consistent with statewide regulations and provide to all anglers earlier fishing opportunities.

Another statewide change of note is a more precise definition of catch-and-release. The new rule would allow removal of game fish from the water for measuring, weighing and photographing, but the fish must be immediately returned to the water unharmed.

Fish caught out of season or species deemed endangered species must be unhooked and released in the water. The regulation change ends with the stipulation: "Intentionally angling for threatened or endangered fish, or for fishing during the closed season for that species, is prohibited." Many fish species are considered in this new ruling, but the deliberate targeting of sturgeon was a major concern.

Ice fishermen statewide will have a seven-line limit per angler for rigs in any combination: Jigging rods, tip-ups, tip-downs, set rods and other devices. Rules for Great Lakes and various inland- lakes waters varied widely across the state; this new rule will provide ice-bound anglers ease in setting up as many as seven lucky lines.

Among regional changes, a minimum 54-inch length limit for muskellunge caught in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and the Niagara River will standardize Great Lakes catches in New York State waters. …