The statewide season for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) “opens” each year on the third Saturday in June. This year it “opens” on June 19, and “closes” on November 30.

The reason for the quotes is the bass season is actually open for catch and release from December 1st and closes on the Friday preceding the 3rd Saturday in June when using artificial lures only.

So, while you can legally fish for black bass all-year, the June 19th this year is just the first day you can keep black bass. The statewide daily limit is five per day with a minimum length of 12-inches.

DEC reminds anglers, “If the water you plan on fishing doesn’t have a special regulation for black bass (see Special Regulations section of the Fishing Regulations Guide), the statewide fishing regulation applies.”

It also cautions that some counties do not have a catch and release season and could have different minimum size limits for bass so be sure to check the regulations before you head out.

Large and smallmouth bass have been described as, “New York’s top sportfish and for good reason; you can find them across the state, they are relatively easy to catch, and they are a ton of fun to land when you hook into one! Not to mention, several waters in the state are home to trophy-size fish, drawing anglers from across the country seeking out the catch of a lifetime.”

Fun Facts and Tidbits on Fishing for Bass

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

State Record: 11 lbs. 4 oz., Buckhorn Lake (Otsego Co.), 9/11/87

Where: Shallow, weedy areas of lakes, ponds and rivers; also prefer cover, such as logs, docks and stumps.

Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu)

State Record (tie): 8 lbs. 4 oz., Lake Erie (Chautauqua Co.) 6/4/95 and St. Lawrence River (Jefferson Co.) 8/28/16

Where: Rocky or sandy areas of lakes; drop offs; also prefer cover of boulders or logs.

Techniques to try

For early season bass, start along the shoreline or inside weed edges then work your way out deeper if not seeing or catching fish. Good baits to try are stick baits/worms, either wacky-rigged, (hooked right through the middle) or Texas-rigged, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits (vibrating jigs) or top-water lures like a buzzbait or frog.

One quick note, chatterbaits can be cost up to $20.00 per lure. While that may be a cost of doing business for bass tournament fishermen, you probably could get by with the cheaper versions. Buzzbaits like the “Whopper Plopper” are pricey as well but work well as a hefty topwater lure.

If fishing deeper water try crankbaits, tube jigs, a Ned-rig or drop-shot rigs. A Ned-rig is a short 3-4” tail section of a stick worm threaded on a jig head. Round jig heads will work but a mushroom style jig head is more commonly used.

If you prefer using live bait, try a crayfish fished on the bottom, or a 3-4” minnow fished under a bobber.

When fishing stick baits or stick work I, along with countless other fishermen, have found one brand to be particularly effective. Gary Yamamotos “Senko” stick baits are high quality scent infused stick baits. They are not cheap and other brands will work, but using true Senkos has me catching more and much larger black bass.

I use colors like watermelon, black flaked pumpkin in 4 and 5-inch sizes but any colors will be effective. I use an O-ring sold with an applicator and hook it in the middle of the worm “wacky style”. I don’t put the point through the soft plastic which extends the life of the bait.

Just cast and let it drift down to the bottom. If you don’t get a strike, fish it slow on the bottom for just a little then cast again. This is especially effective at edges of cover like lily pads and weed lines. If you want more information, search DEC’s website ( on “Wacky Rigs.” It will take you to a page with some great info and techniques.

Well, if you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, I can’t think of a better way to spend Father’s Day, or for that matter any day, out fishing for bass with the family.

Happy Father’s Day and Happy Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping until next time.

News and Notes

Lake Taghkanic Bass Tournament Kicks Off on Saturday June 19: Columbia County resident and local bass fishing tournament organizer, Bill Johnson is resuming the annual Lake Taghkanic Bass Tournament. It kicks off on Saturday, June 19 from 4-11 a.m. Entry is $40.00 per person and includes lunker prize entry.

Weigh-in is at West Beach. 100 % pay-out for 1st place, 30% for 2nd 25%, 20% for 4th and 15% for 5th 10% with 6th place winning their entry fee back. Tournament rules are five fish per boat, fish must be alive at weigh-in, live bait is allowed. Boats must have a live-well.

For more information call Bill Johnson at (518) 537-5455. Subsequent tournaments scheduled on for July 17th, July 31st and August 14th.

Capitol District Sportsman Center to Hold Open House in Grafton on June 27: The Capitol District Sportsman Center is holding an “Open House/Kick Off BBQ” at their newly acquired home at the former Grafton Elementary School at 13 Babcock Lake Road in Cropseyville in Rensselaer County on June 27 from noon-4 p.m.

Food and beverages will be available as will live music, vendors, birds of prey and wood carving demonstrations, pony rides for the kids, plus much more. The center provides outdoor, conservation, and life skill education and training relating to nature in the Capitol Region.

Its focus is upon the region’s urban, suburban, and rural youth and, “Seeks to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.” Looks like a great program to come out and support while enjoying the festivities on June 27th.

Roe-Jan Creek Boat Club Father’s Day Steak Bake — June 20: It’s not too late to attend the Roe-Jan Creek Boat Club Father’s Day Steak Bake. The event will take place on Father’s Day on June 20 from 1-3 p.m. (Clams will be available at 1:00 pm). Cost is $16 for adults and $8 for kids. For tickets or further information, call Barbara at 518-755-8802 or the Clubhouse at 518-828-5954.

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

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