For Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Maureen Wren
Thursday, March 4, 2004 (518) 402-8000

Public Input Encouraged to Help Further Protect Fish Populations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner
Erin M. Crotty today announced proposed freshwater fishing regulations for
2004-2006 to help enhance fishing opportunities statewide. DEC will be
accepting public comments on the proposals until April 12, 2004.

"In our continuing effort to provide the best fishing in the nation, DEC is
proposing changes to fishing regulations affecting several waters across the
state," Commissioner Crotty said. "These new regulations will help enhance
available fishing opportunities while protecting New York's precious natural

The proposed regulations are the result of careful observations and studies
by DEC staff and have been discussed with various angling interest groups
over the past year. DEC is now seeking additional feedback from a wider
audience regarding the proposed changes. A listing of the proposed new
freshwater fishing regulation changes is available on DEC's website at . Once finalized, the new
regulations would go into effect October 1, 2004.

All New York anglers are encouraged to visit DEC's website to review and
comment on the proposed regulation changes. To request copies of the
proposals and submit comments by mail, contact: NYSDEC Attn: Shaun Keeler,
625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-4753, or by e-mail to All comments will be reviewed and incorporated
into a "Summary Assessment of Public Comment Regarding Fishing Regulations,"
which will be posted on the DEC website when completed.

The following are some of the highlights of the proposed changes:

* expand trout fishing opportunities in DEC's Region 9 by amending the daily
limit for trout on the waters below to five per day, with no more than two
larger than 12 inches from April 1-October 15, and keeping the stream open
for fishing the remainder of the year under catch-and-release regulations
using only artificial lures on: Clear Creek (Cattaraugus County), Lime Lake
Outlet (Cattaraugus County), McKinstry Creek (Cattaraugus County), Hosmer
(Sardinia) Brook (Erie County) and Clear Creek (Wyoming County);

* change the daily creel limit for trout from "five trout per day" to "five
trout per day with no more than two longer than 12 inches" to better
distribute harvest opportunity for two-year-old hatchery brown trout and to
emphasize the value of larger brown trout for all waters not covered under
special regulations in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Wyoming

* extend the open season for muskellunge and tiger muskellunge on the St.
Lawrence River, Lake Ontario and Lower Niagara River from November 30 to
December 15 to expand trophy muskellunge angling opportunities;

* change the starting date for the black bass season on the St. Lawrence
River and its tributaries (upstream to the first barrier impassable to fish)
to the fourth Saturday in June for consistency with regulations in effect
for the Province of Ontario;

* broaden the current one fish per day creel limit for rainbow trout and
steelhead in Jefferson County to include all waters that are tributaries to
Lake Ontario (from the lowest bridge upstream to the first barrier
impassible by fish);

* adopt new special regulations that will allow for a year-round
catch-and-release trout season, artificial lures only, for Ischua Creek in
the area of Franklinville, Cattaraugus County;

* institute a catch-and-release regulation for American shad in the
Susquehanna River (Tioga and Broome County), Tioughnioga River (Broome
County), Chenango River (Chenango County), and Chemung River and tributaries
(Chemung County) to protect adult American shad from harvest in order to
increase natural reproduction in the Susquehanna River system;

* increase the minimum size from statewide regulations to 18 inches for
walleye and reduce the daily limit from five fish to three fish for
Chautauqua Lake (Chautauqua County), Fern Lake (Clinton County), Harris
Lake, (Essex County), Rainbow Lake (Franklin County), Lake Algonquin
(Hamilton County), Butterfield Lake (Jefferson County), Burden Reservoir
(Rensselaer County), and Horseshoe Lake (St. Lawrence County) to afford
increased protection to walleye to maximize walleye restoration;

* change all "New York City Parks" waters to regulate all species under a
year-round catch-and-release only season, and eliminate the special
regulations for largemouth and smallmouth bass and apply statewide
regulations to all other waters in Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and
Richmond counties to help increase fishing participation and simplify
compliance and law enforcement by providing consistency between the State
and City regulations;

* establish a catch-and-release only section on a number of waters
- Saranac River (Clinton County) from intersection of Sand Pond Road and
State Route 22B in Morrisonville upstream to Kent Falls Dam.
- Saranac River (Clinton County) from North Branch Saranac River upstream
1.4 miles to Stord Brook.
- West Branch of the Ausable River (Essex County) from the Whiteface Ski
Center downstream to the Route 86 bridge.
- West Branch Saint Regis River (St. Lawrence County) from Route 11B to
Allens Falls Reservoir Dam.
- Batten Kill (Washington County) from the Vermont State line to the
covered bridge at Eagleville;

* prohibit all fishing in the Beaver Kill (Delaware County) from the Iron
Bridge at Horton downstream to the first Rt. 17 overpass from July 1-August
31 to protect aggregations of trout that concentrate in this section of
stream during the summer;

* adopt special regulations for a year-round catch-and-release bass season
in Artist and Belmont lakes (Suffolk County) to protect and restore the
quality of the bass populations; and

* expand regulations for Wiscoy Creek (Wyoming County) to include an October
16-March 31 catch-and-release, artificial lures only, trout season.