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DEC announces muskellunge fishing seasons opening soon

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that fishing seasons for muskellunge begin on June 1 in inland waters and June 15 in Great Lakes waters (Lake Erie, Upper Niagara River, Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River). On April 1, 2022, DEC changed muskellunge season opening dates from floating Saturday openers to these new fixed dates. To accommodate previously planned fishing trips, DEC will allow muskellunge fishing in inland waters beginning the last Saturday in May for this year only.

Muskellunge are considered the ultimate trophy to many anglers who pursue these fish for the challenge, massive size potential, and well-earned status as top predators,” Commissioner Seggos said. “I encourage anglers to experience the world-class muskellunge fishing opportunities in New York.”

Muskellunge, or “muskies,” are New York’s largest freshwater sportfish, sometimes exceeding 50 pounds. Often referred to as the “fish of 10,000 casts,” muskies are notoriously difficult to catch. However, all that effort pays off when one of these challenge fish are caught as they are renowned for powerful strikes, line-ripping runs, and acrobatic fights. For muskie fishing tips, see Muskie 101.

Popular hotspots for trophy muskies include the St. Lawrence River, Upper Niagara River, and Chautauqua Lake. Other quality fisheries can be found at WanetaGreenwoodBear, and Cassadaga lakes and the Susquehanna, Chenango, and Great Chazy rivers. For information on where to fish for muskies see Musky, Pike, Tiger Musky and Pickerel fishing opportunities.

Muskies are managed as trophy fish in New York, and minimum size regulations of 40 inches for inland waters and 54 inches for Great Lakes waters reflect that. Some exceptions to inland water regulations exist, so please check the current fishing regulations guide for the water you plan to fish. For more information on New York’s muskie management program, see Muskellunge Management in New York