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Black bass are New York’s number one freshwater sportfish.

By NYDEC  |  June 15, 2020
Some Long Island lakes like Lake Ronkonkoma are best fished from a kayak or electric powered small boat.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reminds anglers that the traditional harvest season for largemouth and smallmouth bass for most of the state opens on June 20 and closes November 30. In most waters, there is also a catch and release season starting on December 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, including Long Island. In Suffolk County, the season runs from the first Saturday in June through November 30 with a 12-inch size limit and five fish bag limit for most waters. You can catch and release from December 1 through April 30. Black bass cannot be targeted from May 1 until the season opens in June. Several bodies of water have different regulations. Blydenburgh is catch and release only with a season running from December 1 through the Friday before the first Saturday in June. Belmont Lake, Artist Lake and Randall Pond are catch and release only all year. Nassau County’s regulations are much simpler. Nassau is all catch and release with a season of the first Saturday in June through April 30. It would be nice to see all of the Island’s waters made catch and release only given the potential of them being fished out due to their small size.

“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,” according to DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. Black bass are New York’s number one freshwater sportfish because they are aggressive, typically abundant, and are found in waters throughout New York. Big bass can be caught in small neighborhood ponds, warmwater rivers and streams, and lakes of all sizes.

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:

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.

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