Fisherman alert: the new categorization of DEC trout streams and how they will be stocked this year

(Editor’s note: Last summer, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation released a new 10-year trout stream management plan, which goes into effect this year. , DEC comments on several new fishing regulations associated with it. management, and 2. the new DEC approach and rationale for stocking these watercourses – or not.)

DEC’s new trout stream management plan, which comes into effect this year, includes changes to the categorization of inland streams or stretches of streams, streams stocked with trout – and the size of stocked fish.

Brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout are the only fish covered by the plan. It focuses on inland streams and rivers and excludes lakes, ponds, tidal currents and major tributaries to Finger Lakes, Great Lakes, and Lake Champlain.

The changes will be reflected in this year’s New York Freshwater Fishing Guide, which is scheduled for publication before the April 1 opening of the regular statewide trout fishing season. The categories and proposed changes to the fishing regulations regarding the categories are also currently on the CED website.

Since 1990, the state has placed trout in its hatchery streams using a Catch Rate-Based Trout Stocking Strategy (CROTS). The strategy considers the capacity of a watercourse to support trout, the “carrying capacity” of watercourses for more fish after taking into account the needs of the existing wild trout and the fishing pressure that is required. ‘she receives.

A crucial difference between the old and the new stream management and stocking strategy is that the new plan distinguishes between streams and stretches of seeded and overcast streams. wild trout by dividing them into five management categories based on size, habitat quality and degree of public access.

The 42-page plan also calls for new regulations – different daily catch and size limits – for each management category. Public comments on these regulatory changes are ongoing until January 25. Send your comments by email to [email protected] or by mail to NYSDEC Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754

The new sock categories are CED’s efforts to change and simplify things, while meeting the wide range of demands of fishermen. The overall CED management plan is expected to last 10 years, with categorization revisions based on new survey data, habitat modifications, and loss or addition of public access.

It should also be noted that the plan calls for larger stocked trout. And in some cases, streams that were previously stocked will not receive fish. But on the other hand, other rivers will be supplied more often.

In the past, yearlings stored annually by DEC averaged 6 to 8 inches. Under the new plan, the goal is to store only year-old trout that are at least 9 inches in size. Additionally, 10 percent of stocked fish will include fish that are 12 inches or larger.

Steve Hurst, head of the DEC Hatchery Office, noted that “no fewer (stocked) fish will be coming to the water this year” across the state. He said that currently DEC is “on track” to meet the 9 inch fish target. The target for 12 inch fish is unlikely to be met on all streams / stream sections this year.

“But next year, we hope so,” he added.

The DEC website has a main list of feeds and the categories they now fall under. The categories are:

*Stocked: Stocked streams generally have “significant habitat limitations”, including hot summer water temperatures that are marginal for the survival of trout. However, spring conditions are conducive to stocking and the amount of public access (via public property, easements or willing landowners) and pressure from fishermen justifies a single spring stocking. The stocking date will be published on the DEC website as soon as possible after stocking. Regulations: Anglers will be permitted to catch five fish per day, no two of which more than 12 inches in length.

* Extended stock: These rivers “lack the habitat necessary to consistently support an abundant population of wild trout.” They usually have wild trout, but not enough to qualify as a wild trout stream, according to the new DEC criteria. However, the size and water temperature of these streams can accommodate trout later in the season and can withstand higher fishing pressure. For these reasons, these streams will be stocked at least four times over a two-month period in the spring and early summer “to extend the duration of a quality fishery.” Rules: Anglers will be allowed to keep three trout per day, not more than one over 12 inches.

*Wild category: Streams in this category “provide the greatest amount and diversity of wild trout fishing opportunities in the state. This category includes a wide variety of streams, from small headwaters that support native brook trout at their carrying capacity to larger unproductive stretches that contain trout but whose habitat is and / or access are limited. These streams, particularly in the Catskills and Adirondacks, “appeal to anglers who are motivated by the chance to encounter wild trout while fishing in relative solitude.” These watercourses are defined as “incompatible with the management of stocked trout”, and therefore will not be stocked. Regulations: Anglers will be permitted to keep five fish per day, with no more than two over 12 inches in length.

Wild quality: Streams in this category are more productive than those in the wild category and “support an abundance of wild trout to provide a quality wild trout fishing experience”. These streams tend to be well known to anglers, at least locally, and are unlikely to offer the degree of seclusion available on wild-class streams. Again, these flows will not be provisioned. To maintain this classification, the stream or stretch of stream must maintain a long-term average abundance of wild trout of 40 pounds wild trout per acre or 300 year-old trout and over per mile. data that will be collected by electroshock studies. Rules: Anglers are permitted to keep three trout per day, no more than one over 12 inches in length.

Wild-Premier: This category is the very short list of the most productive large trout streams in the state.. Included in this category are the east and west branches and the main stem of the Delaware River. They are established fishing destinations “and offer exceptionally abundant wild trout populations, adequate public access to handle the pressure of fishing and the opportunity to catch trophy-sized fish.” Again, these streams or stream chunks will not be stored. To maintain this classification, these streams must maintain an abundance of trout greater than 60 pounds per acre or 600 year-old trout and over per mile. Rules: Anglers are only allowed to keep one fish per day or of any size.


Hurst said the management plan will be aimed at a variety of fishermen, ranging from those who want to get out on opening day or soon after, catch a few stocked fish and go home and eat them, to the person who seeks solitude and wants to catch a wild trout. It will keep things simple with regulations that are easy to understand, he said. Currently, the state’s inland waterways have over 25 different regulations, depending on where and when you fish.

DEC plans to have an interactive map on its website by April 1 that will include all of the above information and more, including stocking information (how many and what type of fish) for each course. of water.

Hurst said the total costs associated with implementing this new plan have yet to be determined, but predicted “they won’t be that huge in the grand scheme of things.” DEC is already modernizing its hatcheries, he said, and they won’t have to do any major retooling to implement the plan.

Learn more about the DEC State Trout Creek Management Plan:

What You Need to Know About DEC’s State-Wide Release Trout Fishing Season


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