2021 Trout Season Opens April 1

April 1 Kicks Off Trout Season and Implementation of New York State Trout Stream Management Plan

1.8 Million Catchable-Size Trout to be Stocked in New York Waters

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that trout fishing season in New York State opens on Thursday, April 1. In preparation for opening day, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is stocking 1.8 million catchable trout in waters across the state. In addition to larger size fish being stocked this year, some stream reaches will receive four stockings of trout. 

“Every year, thousands of New Yorkers head outside on the opening day of trout season, and 2021 should be no exception, especially with a new trout management plan in place to improve access for anglers of all ages,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is a longstanding and much-beloved tradition for generations of families, and I encourage New Yorkers to get outside, continue practicing safe behaviors like social distancing, and experience all the great fishing the Empire State has to offer.”

New York State offers a diverse set of fishing opportunities for wild and stocked trout. Under the State’s new Trout Stream Management Plan, DEC has grouped stream fishing opportunities into five distinct categories for improved management and easy-to-understand regulations to help make fishing more accessible and enjoyable for all anglers, from novice to expert.

“This year opening day represents the beginning of a new era in trout stream management for New York,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “After more than two years of committed work with our angling public, DEC will begin implementing the new Trout Stream Management Plan. In addition to new and fewer types of special regulations, we have made significant progress toward achieving our fish production objectives to stock larger yearling fish and seed all stockings with some fish 12 inches or larger. Best of all, anglers can continue to enjoy our trout stream resources through the fall and winter months thanks to the creation of a new catch and release season.” 

This fall, anglers will be able to fish for trout throughout the state due to the creation of a statewide catch and release season that will run from October 16 through March 31. While year-round trout fishing has been enjoyed in many areas of the state, the season will provide an opportunity for anglers who have otherwise had to wait for spring. DEC will select a suite of streams and conduct a three-year study to evaluate the new regulation to ensure that the new season has no negative impact on natural trout production.

To prepare anglers for the 2021 trout season with the new management plan in place, DEC will host virtual outreach events in the coming weeks, including “how to” Facebook Live segments where viewers can learn about beginner trout fishing techniques. To access additional information about how and where anglers can find their preferred type of trout angling opportunities, DEC launched an interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map to provide a one-stop-shop for information about stocking, fishing access, season dates, and regulations on the DECinfo Locator. Links to the Trout Stream Fishing Map and a User Guide are available here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/122444.html.  

New York State is reminding anglers to stay smart when fishing:

  • Socially distance;
  • Mask up when you cannot maintain social distancing, especially in parking lots and along footpaths;
  • Avoid sharing gear when possible;
  • Respect your fellow anglers and the resource by providing space and practicing ethical angling; and
  • Take out what you bring in or place trash in receptacles. 

New York State’s PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL campaign encourages residents to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and DEC recommendations for getting outside safely incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases. PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL encourages New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect for all outdoor adventurers, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. Wear a mask, even when visiting the outdoors. For more information about how to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL, visit DEC’s website.

DEC’s streamlined fishing regulations guide, which includes a summary of the laws and regulations anglers need to know before hitting the water, will soon be available at License Issuing Agents statewide and is available at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7917.html to download and print.