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Catch-Release Bass Season Clarified

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WATERTOWN - There has been a high volume of questions into the DEC Law Enforcement and Fisheries offices in Watertown about the opening date of bass season in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. There is no catch and release season in these counties, and that includes the part of Lake Ontario in Jefferson County and all of the St Lawrence River.

Franklin and Hamilton counties are also excluded from the catch and release bass season. In these four counties, Black Bass (Largemouth/Smallmouth) can be fished for beginning the third Saturday in June which is June 16th this year, the same as the remainder of the state.

“The catch and release of bass has shown to reduce spawning success in the colder waters of the north country. With bass populations at lower levels in some waters, the fisheries staff have not elected for the catch and release fishing opportunity in order to help the bass numbers increase,” said a DECX spokesperson..

Anglers can call the Watertown fisheries office at 315-785-2263 or Law Enforcement Office at 315-785-2231 if they questions.

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