DEC - New Freshwater Fishing Regulations

New Freshwater Fishing Regulation Changes for 2022

Steve Wong holding up brook troutRecently adopted freshwater fishing regulations will take effect on April 1. Following a public comment period on the draft proposals earlier this year, the new regulations reflect the input received and the support of the angling community in DEC’s efforts to make fishing New York’s waters less complicated and easier to understand.
 
DEC is implementing changes to reduce the number of special regulations while still providing the protections necessary to ensure sustainable fisheries, including changing some statewide regulations for certain species and eliminating special regulations that are no longer necessary. Some of the new statewide regulations were already broadly applied via special regulations. Various special regulations are still necessary, particularly for waters that require unique management strategies to achieve desired fisheries outcomes, but DEC has significantly reduced the volume of regulations on individual waters.
 
Blue Gill Sun FishDEC also adopted more conservative harvest regulations for sunfish to protect populations from overharvest and increased the minimum size limit for crappie to 10 inches to improve the stability and size structure of populations. Experimental regulations on 11 waters have been enacted to determine if larger sunfish can be produced under a 15-fish-per-day harvest limit and an eight-inch minimum size limit.

Notable regulation changes include:  

  • New statewide regulation for rainbow, brown trout, and splake in lakes and ponds. The season will now be open year-round, with a five-fish daily limit, any size, with a “no more than two longer than 12 inches” harvest rule.
  • Statewide Atlantic salmon regulations will now allow for a year-round open season
  • Ice fishing is permitted on all waters in New York unless specifically prohibited, with the exception of Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties where previous rules remain.
  • New specific dates replaced floating dates for statewide season openers to include:
    - May 1 - Walleye, Northern Pike, Pickerel and Tiger Muskellunge
    - June 1 – Muskellunge. Note that in 2022, DEC will allow for the fishing of muskellunge beginning the last Saturday in May to accommodate previously planned fishing trips.
    - June 15 - Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass
  • A five-fish daily walleye limit in Oneida Lake
  • A new regulation to limit the growth of the walleye population in Skaneateles Lake. No daily possession limit; 12-inch minimum size limit, open year-round
  • The statewide sunfish daily harvest limit has been reduced from 50 to 25 fish.
  • The statewide minimum size limit for crappie has been increased from 9 inches to 10 inches.

A complete compilation of changes and an assessment of public comment associated with the final rulemaking is available on DEC's website.


New 2022 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide

The new guide will be posted on DEC's website to download or print later this month. Hard copies of the guides should be available at License Issuing Agents by the second week of April. Hard copies can also be requested by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..