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Watertown Angler Ties State Pumpkinseed Record

State Record Certified When Pumpkinseed Passes DNA Test

It’s official! Jordan Tontarski of Watertown, NY has officially tied the NYS state record pumpkinseed previously set in 1994 by R. Kennard Mosher in Indian Lake, Hamilton County. It was a slow morning on the Black River near Watertown in Jefferson County on January 26, 2020, but persistence paid off when he reeled in a massive sunfish through the ice.

Knowing he had a contender for the New York State Winter Classic Fishing Tournament, he brought the fish to Chaumont Hardware for an official certified weight.

At 1 lb. 9 oz., Jordan’s fish had physical features of both pumpkinseed and the bluegill sunfish species, so he brought it to DEC's Region 6 Office for biologists to examine. The verdict remained inconclusive, especially considering bluegill and pumpkinseed often hybridize. Seeking a final answer, he drove his mystery sunfish across the state to Albany for identification by ichthyologists at the New York State Museum.

Recent DNA sequencing results concluded the fish was indeed a pure pumpkinseed. Congratulations Jordan! Visit DEC's website for more information on New York’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, which includes state records.

Successful Trout & Salmon Egg Collection in Adirondack Region

Despite social distancing limitations due to COVID-19 and irregular weather patterns, fall wild fish egg collection quotas have been met in the Adirondack Region. Over the past two weeks, DEC Fisheries staff have been working to collect brook trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, and lake trout eggs to rear in hatcheries across the region. Every fall, staff from DEC Regions 5 & 6 and associated fish hatcheries venture out to certain waters to collect fish to be used for spawning.

Live fish are collected using trap nets set along the shorelines of waterbodies known to contain the desired fish species and strains. Collection of mature fish from the wild alleviates the need to raise and hold adult fish in the hatchery system and also has some genetic benefits. Fish are released back into the water where they were collected once eggs and milt (sperm) are obtained.

2020 Egg Collection Numbers

  • 49,351 brook trout eggs - 11,250 Little Tupper strain - 23,611 Horn Lake strain - 14,490 Windfall strain

  • 381,400 landlocked salmon eggs (Sebago Lake strain)

  • 79,900 lake trout eggs

Once collected and fertilized, the eggs are distributed to various hatcheries where they’re hatched out and the fish are typically raised to 3-7 inches long before being stocked out into selected waters.

Trout and salmon are stocked to provide sportfishing opportunities for anglers and to restore heritage strain populations.

In a year where nothing seems normal, northern New York anglers can rest assured that they will have the opportunity to catch heritage strain brook trout, landlocked salmon, and lake trout in the years to come.

Proposed Changes to Black Bass Regulations

DEC is proposing changes to black bass (smallmouth bass and largemouth bass) fishing regulations to make them easier to understand, while continuing to successfully manage these species for future angler enjoyment.

DEC is accepting public comment on the proposed elimination of “any size” and 10-inch minimum size limit regulations for black bass from many rivers throughout the state, as well as Lake Colby (Franklin County), Moose Pond (Essex County) and Lake Champlain. The proposal replaces these unnecessary special size limits with the statewide 12-inch-minimum black bass size limit.

The regulatory proposal is available on DEC's website for review and public comment.

Comments will be accepted until January 23, 2021 by emailing or writing to: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation c/o Jeff Loukmas 625 Broadway, 5th Floor Albany, NY 12233-4753

Fall Trout Stocking on Long Island Complete

DEC Region 1 has completed the fall trout stocking of waters throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. A total of 7,850 brown trout were released in late October and early November to provide additional fishing opportunities for Long Island anglers. Waters in Nassau County received 3,400 trout in Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Upper Twin Pond in Wantagh, and Massapequa Reservoir. Suffolk County received 4,450 trout for Argyle Lake, Southards Pond, Kahlers Pond, Twin Pond in Centerport, West Lake, Upper Yaphank Lake, Deep Pond, and the tidal waters of the Carmans River, Nissequogue River, and Swan River. The yearling brown trout were approximately 10 -12 inches and were delivered to Long Island by DEC Catskill Hatchery staff.

Please remember to be safe out there while enjoying some fall freshwater fishing opportunities! Visit DEC's website for information about freshwater fishing on Long Island or e-mail

Thanksgiving Fish Dish

When we asked Fisheries staff to share a recipe for a freshwater fish dish they traditionally prepare on Thanksgiving, we were hard pressed to find one, but we did receive a seafood recipe (below).

If you have a traditional freshwater fish dish you enjoy with your family on Thanksgiving and would like to share it with us, email

Seafood Pumpkin Curry Soup


  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

  • 1 chopped onion

  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and diced

  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons curry powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • 1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

  • 2 tbs lemongrass paste

  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) Evaporated Milk

  • 1 10 oz package calamari tubes and tentacles sliced into rings

  • 1 8 oz bag cooked salad shrimp

Step 1 Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute.

Step 2 Add broth, pumpkin, and lemongrass; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk. Transfer mixture to food processor or blender (in batches, if necessary); cover. Blend until smooth, return to pot.

Step 3 Rinse calamari and shrimp thoroughly then add to pot. Bring back to boil, turn off heat and serve warm!

Add some salted pumpkin seeds to the top as a garnish and for some crunch. You can also substitute the shrimp/calamari for any seafood or other protein like chicken, etc.

Did You Know First Thanksgiving Meal Was American Eeels?

The first Thanksgiving meal shared between the pilgrim colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans in 1621 included American eels! Before you add eels to your menu this year, be sure to check NYS Freshwater Fishing Regulations.

(Photo courtesy of Bettmann Archive/Getty Images.)


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