Officials announce black bass fishing season opens June 20

Opportunities abound for New York’s most popular freshwater sportfish


ALBANY, N.Y. (June 11, 2020) – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner (DEC) Basil Seggos announced today that the traditional harvest season for largemouth and smallmouth bass opens June 20 and closes Nov. 30.

In most waters, there is also a catch and release season starting Dec. 1, and continuing until the start of the regular season, during which anglers can fish for bass using artificial lures.

There are special fishing regulations for some waters, and New York anglers should check the current fishing regulations guide at before heading out to fish.

“New York provides some of the best bass fishing in the country, including the St. Lawrence River, which in 2019 was named the top bass ‘lake’ in the country by Bassmaster Magazine,” Seggos said.

Social distance fishing.jpg“As New Yorkers start heading outdoors for the summer season after months of staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there’s nothing better than spending time with family and friends on the water pursuing these exciting sportfish while still recreating responsibly and practicing social distancing,” he added.

Black bass are New York’s No. 1 freshwater sportfish because they are aggressive, typically abundant, and they are found in waters throughout the state. Big bass can be caught in small neighborhood ponds, warm-water rivers and streams, and lakes of all sizes.

Often overlooked and underused by anglers, New York’s inland rivers and streams can provide exceptional bass fishing. Some of the state’s most well-known black bass rivers include the St. Lawrence, Susquehanna, Hudson, Seneca, Allegheny, Chemung, Mohawk, Schoharie and Raquette rivers, but there are many others throughout the state that provide great opportunities.

Anglers are reminded that fishing for black bass (including catch and release) is prohibited outside of the open season in Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Hamilton, and Franklin counties. In these counties, black bass open season is June 20 to Nov. 30.

During the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19, DEC reminds anglers to maintain safe social distancing while fishing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Guidelines include the following:

  • Fish local:  Stay close to home. Keep your fishing trip short. Avoid high-traffic destinations.
  • Be safe:  Avoid crowds and groups. Keep a distance of six feet or more from others. When fishing from a boat, make sure it's large enough so persons on board are at least six feet from one another. If such distance cannot be maintained, acceptable face coverings must be worn at all times by all individuals on the vessel.
  • Stay home:  If you're not feeling well, stay home. Anyone 70 and older or with a compromised immune system should postpone their trip.
  • Be adaptive:  Move quickly through parking lots and paths. If crowded, choose a different fishing location or time to visit.


For more information on boating guidelines and safety, go to the New York State Parks website at and DEC's website at


(New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)