The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released the State’s final Trout Stream Management Plan that will improve the management of trout streams across the state. The final plan is the product of extensive public engagement and sound science that embraces simplicity, encourages angler participation, and recognizes the value of managing trout streams for self-sustaining populations of wild trout. In addition, to support implementation of the Trout Stream Management Plan, today DEC issued proposed regulations that are available for public comment until Jan. 25, 2021.
Significant aspects of the plan are the result of more than 20 public meetings held with anglers in 2017 to identify desired outcomes for the state’s numerous and diverse trout streams. The plan covers a broad spectrum of management areas and angler interests associated with trout stream management in New York. To view the plan and the categorization of managed trout stream reaches visit DEC’s website.
The management plan draws a distinct line between stocked and wild trout management and prioritizes habitat management as the primary tool to improve and restore wild populations of trout. It also creates the foundation to learn and build upon for continuous improvement of the State’s trout stream fisheries resources, solidifying DEC’s commitment to protecting and promoting the health of wild trout fisheries.
The plan also takes into consideration the hundreds of thousands of New York anglers who enjoy the State’s ongoing stocking efforts and balances protecting natural populations while supporting a robust hatchery network and partnerships that expand recreational opportunities and meet anglers’ diverse needs. The plan extends the duration of stocking on select stream reaches, increases the size of stocked fish, and ensures that each stocking contains some fish that are 12 inches or larger. It also seeks to improve the vigor of hatchery brown trout for increased survival.
Anglers would also be provided with the ability to fish year-round through the creation of a statewide catch-and-release season. DEC has preliminarily concluded that fishing during the spawning season will not result in negative fishery impacts, and DEC will evaluate the potential impact of the catch-and-release season with a study on select streams.
DEC seeks continued angler engagement to support efforts moving forward, including developing a new angler-friendly interactive map for information on stream reach management and fishing access locations. DEC will also expand public outreach about the significance of wild trout populations and the water they inhabit.
The proposed regulations are published in the State Register today and are available at DEC’s website. DEC is accepting public comments on the proposed rule changes from Nov. 25, 2020, to Jan. 25, 2021, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.