Happy 4th of July weekend to everyone! Hopefully, most of you had Friday off, as well for the observed holiday.
The weekend weather is looking pretty decent thus far. Coming off quite a few days in a row of rather heavy precipitation after a significant time period of very little rain is exactly what we needed.
Freestone trout streams in the local area will certainly benefit from a little cool down and a bump in flow, and may become somewhat fishable again. Hunters who have planted summer food plots have rejoiced and welcomed all the rain we could get. We all love the sunshine, but precipitation is also very necessary to many outdoor entities.
Also, heading east from Amsterdam along Route 5 towards Scotia and then Schenectady, big changes are finally taking place in aspect to the Mohawk River. The gates are fully dropped at Lock 8 and Lock 9 (Rotterdam Junction). A few were beginning to make their way down on Lock 10 (Cranesville) as of Friday. Crews are making their way up river so, in a little while, the river will be up to the normal summer levels we are all familiar with fishing and boating hopefully resuming in the coming weeks.
DEC LAUNCHES NEW LICENSING SYSTEM
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced Wednesday the launch of the state’s new system for the sale of fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses. The new DEC Automated Licensing System (DECALS) includes user-friendly information to help users locate vendors, receive instant copies of a license, enter and view harvest information, and more.
“The new automated DECALS licensing system makes it simpler than ever before for New Yorkers to purchase fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses from the comfort of their homes, either over the phone or online,” Seggos said in a press release. “We’re committed to improving outdoor enthusiasts’ experiences from start to finish, and the new DECALS is one of the many ways New York will continue to meet the needs of our sporting community so they can focus on enjoying the abundant fishing, hunting, and trapping opportunities available throughout the state.”
As the system’s new features are updated, additional functionality launching on DECALS will include an events calendar with upcoming season dates, youth hunts, free fishing days and clinics and more.
Full integration with DEC’s Hunter Education Program enabling users to more easily register for courses and automatically update certifications and auto-renewal options for all annual licenses.
Users can access DECALS by phone and online. New York State’s 1,100 license issuing agents are expected to be up and running on the new DECALS system soon, so contact local agents before heading out to purchase licenses in person. Call DEC’s customer service hotline (866-933-2257) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or go to the DECALS website https://decals.licensing.east.kalkomey.com/ and buy licenses online.
Please note that previous DECALS logins will not work in the new system. To access current accounts, click on the sign up link on the new DECALS website and use date of birth and DEC customer ID number or a driver’s license number to locate existing files and create a new login. Please call DEC’s customer service line at the number above with any questions.
POSSIBLE CHANGE FOR ONEIDA LAKE WALLEYE LIMIT
The current daily limit for walleye in Oneida Lake is three per day, which was put in place in 2000 to add protection to the population that declined through the 1990s and stabilized at a moderate level through much of the last two decades.
Based on a recent analysis performed by Cornell University, the adult walleye population in Oneida Lake is now estimated to be over 1 million fish, the highest it’s been since 1986. Large year classes in 2010 and 2014 have contributed to the walleye population increase, and indications are that there were additional strong year classes produced in 2016 and 2018 which should help maintain the abundant adult population as they enter the fishery.
Because the population has rebounded and projections suggest that it will remain high over the next several years, the DEC is contemplating a return to the statewide limit of five fish per day. This would align Oneida Lake with general statewide walleye fishing regulations and provide anglers additional harvest opportunities.
Additionally, with the adult walleye population this high there are concerns it could negatively impact the forage base in the lake, including yellow perch. The DEC and Cornell feel that this regulation may lessen the potential impact to the forage base without negatively affecting the walleye population.
Input from anglers is important to help DEC deliver the best management possible through balancing angler desires and resource capacity. There is a very quick three-question survey for public input that is open through Wednesday. The link to take the survey is at https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5672775/Oneida-Lake-walleye-regulation.