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DEC Highlights Fishing Achievements Of Tough Year

DEC Fishing Line - 2020 Recap

It goes without saying, 2020 has certainly been a challenging year for all of us, both personally and professionally. However, it's also taught us the importance of staying positive and persevering through these challenging times. So keeping in that sentiment, we'd like to share some of our Bureau of Fisheries highlights and accomplishments of 2020.

In no particular order, here they are. Enjoy!

1. Our dedicated hatchery staff stocked over four million trout and salmon this spring in record time and without the help of volunteer anglers who usually assist in this effort. Wild fish egg collections were also difficult, but we worked adaptively to get the job done and even learned how we may be more efficient in the future. Our staff placed the mission first and never quit!

2. We had to cancel our fishing boat survey and prey fish assessment on Lake Ontario, but we collected biological data on salmon and trout caught during July and August to assess the age structure, growth, and condition. We also conducted a diet study to evaluate the type and size of prey fish being eaten by salmon and trout in Lake Ontario.

3. The Lake Erie creel survey was executed as planned and the fishing continued to be, well, phenomenal again this year!

4. After two and a half years of hard work we now have a New York State Trout Stream Management Plan that will guide our efforts and improve the fishing experience for a diverse trout stream angling public.

5. On the warm water side of management, the completion of a three-year study on black bass (largemouth and smallmouth) in streams has resulted in a proposed rulemaking that will improve management and streamline regulations. Electronic angler surveys on panfish and Oneida Lake walleye served through this newsletter helped us learn more about angler opinions on creel and size limits.

6. Caledonia Fish Hatchery, the actual birthplace of fish culture for this country, received a long-awaited and much needed renovation. The historic main hatchery building will now stand straight and support all new plumbing and rearing tanks for improved fish production.

7. We are also now in our third year of taking gametes from wild fish to improve the vigor of our brown trout breeding stock. All indications so far are that growth and survival of the new strain in the hatchery are comparable to our current domestic Rome strain. We hope to transition to this new strain for all brown trout stocking by 2023.

8. Staff completed yet another successful sea lamprey treatment on Cayuga Inlet in 2020, ensuring that the Cayuga Lake salmonid fishery will be buffered from these predatory invasives for at least the next three years for continued top-notch fishing.

9. To the west, Cisco restoration efforts continued on Keuka Lake with the stocking of 80,000 fall fingerling fish raised by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

10. Region 5 staff completed a successful reclamation of Murphy Lake in Hamilton County as the first step in restoring the brook trout population.

11. Region 3 staff conducted a comprehensive electrofishing survey on Esopus Creek, which served as a catalyst for changing the designation of this stream from Stocked to Wild Quality, providing baseline data for a three-year evaluation of the management change.

12. Lake Erie Fisheries Unit staff completed the first-ever year-round angler survey of the upper Cattaraugus Creek watershed to estimate angler effort, catch, and harvest.

13. Two new state records (white bass, rock bass) and one state record tie (pumpkinseed) were established as part of the Angler Achievement Awards Program.

14. Like many states nationwide, New York experienced an incredible surge of fishing license sales. Determining ways to retain new anglers will be a Bureau priority in 2021.

15. In an effort to encourage anglers to get out on the water while still staying safe, Fisheries staff visited over 1,300 fishing and boating access sites to post guidance related to COVID-19 spread prevention.

A special thank you to all of our subscribers. We you hope enjoy reading "The Fishing Line" as much as we enjoy sharing content with you. If there's a specific freshwater fishing or boating topic that you'd like us to cover next year, please feel free to let us know.

Happy New Year from DEC Bureau of Fisheries!


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