Trout Harvest Season Opens

DEC stocks millions of trout statewide as harvest season opens

By Jennifer Patterson

Trout fishing season opened on April 1, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is stocking nearly 1.9 million catchable brown and rainbow trout in waters across the state – music to anglers’ ears.

The first of the month also marked the opening of harvest season after year-round fishing was green-lit on most streams in 2021, with the implementation of an Oct. 16-March 31 “artificial lures only, catch and release” season.

“Since DEC updated regulations in 2021 to allow a catch-and-release season in the fall and winter months, anglers have the opportunity to fish for inland trout year-round,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Even so, April 1 has a special meaning for anglers in New York as the date signifies the start of a season full of promising fishing opportunities.” 

In Schoharie County, hundreds of brown and rainbow trout will be released in Fulton’s Mallet Pond in May, and hundreds more brown trout have been released into Blenheim’s West Kill stream.

Thousands of trout will be released through the first week of June into ponds, streams, creeks, lakes, reservoirs and rivers open to the public in Delaware County. The same is true in Greene and Ulster counties. 

Every year, the DEC releases about 900,000 pounds of fish into more than 1,200 public streams, rivers, lakes and ponds to enhance recreational fishing and restore native species to waters they formerly occupied.

Breeding and rearing fish is a big task that requires precise methods and specialized equipment and facilities. There are 12 such DEC fish hatcheries statewide, each specializing in raising one or more species of fish, including brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, steelhead, Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, landlocked salmon, walleye, muskellunge and tiger muskellunge. 

The fish are stocked with help from County Federated Sportsmen.

If it has been a while since you’ve been on the water, know that anyone 16 or older needs a New York State fishing license. There are one- or seven-day passes, as well as an annual license for $25 available online at or at many local bait and tackle shops, where important information about what waterways are open and additional regulations are also passed along.

As for some trout catching tips, anglers say that when the waters are cold and high in April, the trout tend to look for live bait.

For information about the DEC’s new streamlined annual fishing regulations guide, go to