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DEC: Muskellunge fishing seasons opening

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Muskellunge fishing season is open now in inland waters and will open June 15 in the Great Lakes waters, according to the DEC. Courtesy of Department of Environmental Conservation

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that the fishing seasons for muskellunge began on June 1 in inland waters and will open June 15 in Great Lakes waters (Lake Erie, Upper Niagara River, Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River).

“New York provides some of the best muskellunge fishing opportunities anywhere in the world,” Seggos said. “I encourage anglers seeking a challenge and a unique trophy-fishing experience to cast a line and try their hand at landing one of these elusive predators.”

A member of the pike family, muskellunge, or “muskies” are New York’s largest freshwater sportfish. Muskellunge can grow to massive sizes, sometimes reaching 50 pounds or more, and are considered the ultimate trophy by anglers who pursue them.

Referred to as the “fish of 10,000 casts,” it takes patience and dedication to catch one of these toothy top predators.

New York state’s high quality muskie fisheries can be found in 13 lakes and 19 rivers, with the most renowned fisheries in the St. Lawrence River, Upper Niagara River, and Chautauqua Lake. Other quality muskie waters include WanetaGreenwoodBear and Cassadaga lakes, and the Susquehanna, Chenango and Great Chazy rivers.

For tips on how to catch and properly handle muskies, see the article “Muskie 101” on the DEC website at dec.ny.gov.

New York’s minimum size regulations reflect the muskellunge’s trophy status. The minimum size limit for inland waters is 40 inches. The limit is 54 inches for Great Lakes waters. Review the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide for more information.

Muskie anglers are encouraged to check out DEC’s “Tackle Box” feature in the HuntFishNY App, which provides anglers one-stop shopping for waterbody-specific information on fishing regulations, stocking and fishing/boating access sites.

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