New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

05/21/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/21/2024 13:06

DEC Announces Muskellunge Fishing Season Openers

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar today announced the fishing seasons for muskellunge begin on June 1 in inland waters and on June 15 in Great Lakes waters-Lake Erie, Upper Niagara River, Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and tributaries to these waters.

"Muskies are a premier freshwater sportfish, and New York has some of the best trophy muskie fishing opportunities anywhere in the world," Interim Commissioner Mahar said. "DEC's fish and wildlife experts have done a remarkable job stewarding our fisheries and we encourage all anglers to take advantage of the high quality fishing opportunities across the state during this upcoming season."

Often referred to as the "fish of 10,000 casts," muskellunge, or "muskies," are considered the ultimate trophy by anglers who pursue them. They are the top predator in waters they inhabit and are legendary in their ability to challenge and confound the angler. It is that challenge, combined with the potential for massive size (sometimes exceeding 50 inches and 50 pounds) and a well-earned reputation as a powerful fighter, that has inspired many anglers to forsake other fish in pursuit of the elusive muskie.

The St. Lawrence River, Upper Niagara River, and Chautauqua Lake are popular hotspots for trophy muskies. Other high-quality muskie waters are Waneta, Greenwood, Bear, and Cassadaga lakes, and the Susquehanna, Chenango, and Great Chazy rivers. In all, there are at least 13 lakes and 19 rivers that have muskellunge populations in New York State. Muskellunge are managed as a trophy fish in New York, reflected by minimum size regulations of 40 inches for inland waters and 54 inches for Great Lakes waters.

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) provides advice to anglers about what fish are safe to eat and how often. Visit DOH's website to search by waterbody location.

For tips on how to catch muskies, read "Muskie 101" on the DEC website. For information on freshwater fishing regulations, visit DEC's website. Information on fishing access is available through the DECinfo Locator and in the Tackle Box feature of the HuntFishNY app.