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Fishing

Rods, Reels, & Rivers

Year-Round Fishing in St. Lawrence County

St. Lawrence is truly a "county for all seasons" and a "county for all anglers." Wherever you are in St. Lawrence County, great fishing is only minutes away. From the foothills of the Adirondacks to the St. Lawrence River, the County offers fishing opportunities for everyone. Hundreds of rivers, lakes, reservoirs, bays, and streams offer peaceful surroundings, a variety of species, strong fish populations, and good public access. Tournaments are held throughout the year including ice fishing derbies. Fish by land, by boat, by dock, and by ice.

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3 Seasons of Open Water Fishing

Fish Spring, Summer, and Fall on the open water.

Fishing in Spring, Summer, and Fall

Wherever you are in St. Lawrence County, great fishing is only minutes away. From the foothills of the Adirondacks to the St. Lawrence River, the County offers fishing opportunities for everyone. Hundreds of rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and streams offer peaceful surroundings, a variety of species, strong fish populations, and good public access. Tournaments are held throughout the year including some cool ice fishing derbies.

St. Lawrence is truly a "county for all seasons" and a "county for all anglers." Consider the possibilities: downrigging for muskies at Massena, ice fishing for yellow perch and northern pike at Chippewa Bay, jigging for walleyes on the Raquette River reservoirs, canoeing for smallmouth bass on the Grasse River, flyfishing for brown trout on the St. Regis River, small boating for lake trout at Trout Lake and rainbows at Star Lake, trolling for trophy brook trout at Cranberry Lake, jigging for black crappies and casting for largemouth bass at Black Lake, and hiking the wilderness for native brook trout swims, or casting that 12 foot pole to fight with the mighty carp.

Catch & Release, Selective Harvest

Anglers are encouraged to release ALL Muskellunge taken from St. Lawrence County waters.

For other species, anglers are encouraged to practice selective harvest. This practice calls upon anglers to release the larger fish of any species and to keep smaller ones for eating.

By releasing large fish, which are typically the most productive breeders, anglers are helping to ensure fish populations for future generations.

For those anglers who want to “put a fish on the wall,” reproduction mounts are available from taxidermists across the county.

How to Release Fish

  • Avoid over fighting the fish so that it becomes stressed.
  • If possible, unhook the fish in the water.
  • Carry needle nose pliers and other unhooking tools to facilitate getting the hook out.
  • If a photo is to be taken, have the camera ready before removing the fish from the water.
  • Hold the fish by its tail, and support the midsection with the other hand until the fish swims off on its own.

Fishing Licenses, Fees, and Regulations

Who Needs a Fishing License?

Almost everyone 16 and over must have a license to fish in freshwater. Some New York residents may apply for free licenses. They include the blind, some Native Americans living in New York, resident patients at U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs hospitals or state-funded facilities, New York State residents who are active members of the National Guard or U.S. Reserve Forces and New York State residents who are on full time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed out-of-state, and are in New York for no longer than 30 days.

To qualify for a resident license, you must have a permanent domicile in the state for at least 30 days immediately preceding your application.

For detailed fishing regulations information, visit the New York Freshwater Fishing website, or consult the NYS Official Regulations Guide online or from any license issuing agent.

Persons fishing on Native American lands, such as the Seneca or Mohawk nations need to purchase a license to fish their respective territories. To find out more information on license cost and issuing agents, call (716) 945-1790 or (716) 532-4900 for Seneca Nation lands (Allegany River, Cattaraugus Creek), and (518) 358-2272 for Mohawk Nation land (St. Regis River).

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Where to Get a Fishing License

DEC Regional offices, Town and County clerks, many bait and tackle shops, local sporting goods stores and some State campsites sell licenses, and those that do not can usually direct you to a license agent.

Save time and effort by purchasing licenses online through DEC's Automated Licensing System (DECALS), by phone by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257), or by mailing your payment and completed license application to Verizon, PO Box 36985, Phoenix, AZ 85067 – 6985. Visa and MasterCard accepted. The online purchasing system, license applications and further information are available on the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation's website.

FREE FISHING DAYS

Free fishing days offer residents and non-residents who are 16 and older* to fish without a freshwater fishing license (*Kids under 16 can always fish for free!). These days offer the perfect opportunity to try out fishing for the first time, to get back into the sport, or to take a friend or the whole family along to fish! Even though a license is not needed, all other fishing regulations apply.

For more information, please visit the NYS DEC website.

Fishing Regulations

Before fishing, Anglers are advised to consult the current regulations guide. A New York State fishing guide booklet, which includes the Great Lakes regulations, will accompany your license when you purchase it. Seasons are listed in the WHEN TO FISH chart. For the most part, the Statewide Regulations apply, but there are significant exceptions.

For example...

  • Special Great Lakes Regulations apply to the St. Lawrence River because this flow is directly connected to Lake Ontario.
  • Also, special bass and muskie regulations are in effect for the county’s small rivers.
  • Black Lake, too, has special regulations for its bass as well as walleyes.
  • Other exceptions include a number of catch-and-release, artificial-lure-only waters, and there are various waters open to year-round trout fishing.

Please be a law-abiding and ethical angler by consulting and following the regulations listed in the current guide.

To view the regulations online, simply go to - http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html

When Fishing in St. Lawrence County, Please Take Note:

When fishing on the St. Regis Mohawk Territory, all New York State Fishing regulations now apply. The Tribe recently adopted the State's regulations for an interim period, until specific regulations for tribal lands can be worked out. These regulations apply to all non-tribal members seeking to fish in Akwesasne's waters. They do not limit the inherent right of tribal members to fish on the reservation so long as their activities are consistent with applicable tribal law.

For fishing regulations, please visit the NYS DEC website.

Guided Fishing Trips & Charters

Want to visit but don't know exactly where to go to catch your favorite fish? Find the best spots for fishing with an experienced local expert.

Check Out Our Angler's Guide


The St. Lawrence County Angler’s Guide is a 30-page booklet listings species that can be found in the major rivers, ponds and lakes. To receive a copy of this free guide by mail, click here, and fill out the form.

Major Waterways for Fishing

Ice Fishing in Winter

Fish through the ice when the rivers and lakes freeze over.

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