Officials announce fishing season opens May 4
for many cool water fish species in New York


ALBANY, N.Y. – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that the first Saturday in May marks the beginning of the fishing season for several popular cool water sportfish species, including walleye, northern pike, pickerel, and tiger muskellunge.

The cool water conditions of early spring can render walleye and northern pike fishing particularly good, and anglers are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities New York has to offer. 

“Exceptional fishing opportunities can be found across New York, with many lakes and rivers renowned for abundant walleye and aggressive pike and pickerel,” Seggos said. “I encourage all anglers to find the time to enjoy, and share with others, the great fishing that can be found here.”

From Long Island to Lake Erie, walleye occur in every major watershed and more than 140 waters throughout New York state. Three of the state’s top walleye fisheries – Lake Erie, Oneida Lake, and Chautauqua Lake – are projected to provide very good fishing again in 2019. A complete listing of Fishing Hotspots recommendations can be found on the DEC website at


Where to fish

Anglers searching for places to fish should visit the Places to Fish page on the DEC website. A variety of helpful fishing information also can be requested via the website.

The New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App is another tool available that gives both novice and seasoned outdoorsmen and women essential information to plan and prepare for fishing trips with up-to-date access information on fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching sites. The app also provides immediate access to species profiles, rules and regulations, and important permits and licensing details.


License requirements

Before heading out to fish, anglers must have a current fishing license. Anyone 16 or older who desires to fish in New York is required to have a state fishing license, which is valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.

Anglers can purchase a license and print it for immediate use on their home computer via the NY License Center at Anglers also can purchase their license by phone by calling 1-866-933-2257, or from the numerous license issuing agents across the state.

Those purchasing over the phone will receive a confirmation number allowing them to fish immediately. Those interested in purchasing a lifetime fishing license should consider a New York State Adventure license, which is incorporated on their New York State Driver's License and provides a free fishing themed license plate.

Every dollar spent on a fishing license helps to fund fish stocking and other programs conducted by the state's Bureau of Fisheries. DEC also encourages anglers to consider purchasing a Habitat / Access Stamp, which helps to fund important access and habitat improvement projects.


Help to prevent spread of aquatic invasive species and fish diseases

Anglers and boaters can help the state prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by taking appropriate measures before and after boating and fishing trips. Be sure to clean, dry, or disinfect fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water.

Boaters should be particularly conscious of plant materials that can attach to boats and trailers and should be sure to drain all water holding compartments before leaving a water body. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species and fish diseases. Methods to clean and disinfect fishing and boating gear can be found on DEC's website.


(New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)