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DEC and Oneida Lake Association Remind Anglers of Fishing Regulations, Safety

The New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) and the Oneida Lake Association (OLA) are reminding anglers to abide by current regulations to help protect Oneida Lake, safeguard fish populations, and ensure safety of anglers on the ice.

“Oneida Lake is the largest lake located wholly within New York State and it provides tremendous sportfishing opportunities,” said DEC Region 7 Environmental Conservation Police Captain James Boylan. “DEC encourages anglers to enjoy New York’s ample resources ethically and safely. Abiding by the existing fishing regulations is critical to ensure continued quality fishing opportunities for everyone.”

Walleye: The daily limit for walleye at Oneida Lake is three and those under 15-inches must be released. Anglers are reminded that, by DEC regulation, foul hooked walleye caught at Oneida Lake must be returned to the water unharmed.

Yellow Perch & Panfish: The daily limit for yellow perch and sunfish is 50 each. The combined daily limit for white and black crappie is 25 fish. There is no minimum size limit for perch or sunfish, but crappie must be at least nine inches long to be kept. The seasons for Atlantic salmon, trout and bass are all currently closed and they may not be kept through the ice. These species and other undersized fish should be promptly returned, unharmed, to the water. Anglers are also reminded that harvest of lake sturgeon is not allowed at any time.

Anglers must have a valid fishing license before heading out on the ice. Fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.

“Oneida Lake anglers need to keep a watchful eye and inform DEC police of potential snagging and foul hooking violations. Together, we can change this practice and allow the ethical harvest of fish that are legally hooked in the mouth as they attempt to ingest bait,” said Warren Darby, President of the OLA. Please keep our lake clean. If you take articles out on the ice (propane canisters, drink cans, bags and other waste) take them off with you when you leave. Respect for Oneida Lake means no trash left behind.”

DEC Law Enforcement can be reached 24-hours a day by calling the toll-free hotline for reporting environmental violations at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267). Or for non-urgent violations, email Environmental Conservation Police have been protecting public health, safety and the environment in New York State since 1880.

Anglers are reminded to practice Leave No Trace principles when recreating and enjoy the outdoors and fishing responsibly. Also, be sure to check ice thickness regularly. While ice now covers the lake, warm rains can cause it to lift from shore and develop fissures offshore. Wind will cause pressure ridges that can be a snowmobile hazard. Safety gear that should be standard for all ice anglers includes ice picks worn around your neck, a float coat or life jacket and a floating rescue rope (to aid other anglers who may go through the ice).

As part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative, February 17-18, 2018 has been designated a free fishing weekend. The requirement for a fishing license is waived during this period. This is a great opportunity for beginners to try ice fishing or for experienced anglers to take friends ice fishing for the first time. Novice ice anglers are encouraged to download the Ice Fishing Chapter (PDF) (3.6 MB) of DEC’s new I FISH NY Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing for information on how to get started ice fishing. Additional information is available on DEC’s ice fishing web page.