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Proposed Great Lakes Sportfish Regulation Changes for 2020

The Department is proposing the following Great Lakes sportfishing regulation changes. The public comment period ends on December 14, 2019.

How to submit input

To submit a comment, you must:

  • send an email to regulations.fish@dec.ny.gov
  • Include the following subject line: “Proposed Great Lakes Fishing Regulation Changes [ID number of the regulation you are commenting on, such as “2020_GL 01″].”

For your convenience, each “Email a comment” link below each proposed regulation change will fill in the “To:” and “Subject:” lines with the correct information. To ensure we receive and can properly review your comments, you must leave the subject line as it appears on the e-mail and be sure to indicate the ID # (s) of the regulation(s) you are commenting on.

Please send a separate email for each proposed regulation change you would like to make comments on!

Comments will be collected through December 14, 2019.

DEC PROPOSAL FOR STREAM MANAGEMENT

ABSTRACT
As the first step in a reexamination of trout stream management in New York State, sixteen public
meetings were conducted during the autumn of 2017 for the purpose of understanding the range
of outcomes desired by trout stream anglers and the relative importance of those outcomes to
angler satisfaction. The top five desired outcomes were:
• high quality stream habitat as a means to better fishing and as a desired outcome in its own right
• the opportunity to catch wild trout and to a lesser extent stocked trout that have been in the
stream longer than freshly stocked trout
• extended availability of trout stocked in streams
• a diversity of distinct stream fishing experiences (stocked trout, wild trout, easy vs. challenging, etc.) and the information necessary to find them
• management success to be based on more than just catch of trout per hour
Table 1 Theme categories for desired outcomes expressed at trout stream management meetings. Categories
are listed in order of most frequently recurring to least frequently recurring.
Outcome Theme Theme Description
Stocked Trout Survival Longer survival of stocked trout desired (for
extended fishing opportunity in terms of catch rate,
growth potential, or other quality)
Habitat Satisfactory fishing experience depends on high
quality habitat (intrinsic, aesthetic, and expected
benefits to trout combined). Water quality included
as a component of habitat
Wild Trout Prefer catching trout of wild origin over hatchery
origin (very important for wild trout populations to
achieve ecological potential in terms of growth,
survival etc.)
Other Miscellaneous collection of rarely expressed desires
Larger Trout Prefer catching larger trout; more important than
catch rate/number caught
Youth/Angler Recruitment Important to provide entry-level angling opportunity
for future of sport/conservation
Extend Trout Season Desire for extended or year-round trout season
Diversity of Management Types Desire for a mixed portfolio of clearly defined
management types with appropriate
objectives/metrics
Catch rate is important Catch rate is important for personal satisfaction or
believed important to satisfaction of others
Management Participation Desire for more opportunity to contribute to
management knowledge base and/or influence
management decisions
Diversify trout species stocked Stock a greater proportion of species other than
brown trout in trout streams
Information Quality Expect DEC to provide user-friendly information for
anglers to choose trout waters where management
type compatible with personal preferences
Public Access Desire more PFR and/or improvements to existing
PFR (better parking etc.)
Catch Rate Insufficient Catch rate does not suffice as a universal measure of
quality
Native Trout Prefer to catch native trout (cannot be certain that
every speaker used this term to mean brook trout
exclusively)
Option for Harvest Prefer to have harvest as an available option
Stocked Trout Important Fishing opportunities for stocked trout preferred
(personal or for other identified demographic)
Efficiency/Value Expect DEC to achieve good return on investment in
habitat, stocked fish or other management actions

Participants’ Desired Outcomes
Figure 3 shows the frequency that the various categories of desired outcomes (defined in Table
1) were represented at the public meetings in the recorded comments of one or more speakers.
The top three categories were stocked trout survival (all 16 meetings), habitat (13 meetings),
and wild trout (13 meetings). “Other” was the fourth most common category (12 meetings) but
this category is a disparate collection of desired outcomes that were rarely or uniquely
expressed and does not constitute a common theme.
Figure 3 Relative frequency of desired outcome categories as a function of the number of meetings in which
the desired outcome was expressed in one or more recorded comment. The two unlabeled (thinnest)
wedges represent “stocked trout important” (orange) and “efficiency/value” (dark purple). See table 1 for
descriptions of these categories.
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The top three dominant themes based on the extent and intensity of discussion reinforced the
top three categories already identified strictly from one or more occurrences in the meeting
notes: stocked trout survival (dominant at 9 meetings), wild trout (dominant at 8 meetings),
habitat (dominant at 7 meetings). On the other hand, the desire for opportunities to catch larger
trout was expressed by at least one speaker at ten out of sixteen meetings but seldom inspired
an extended discussion. As such, the relative importance of this topic is somewhat exaggerated
in Figure 3.
Beyond the outcome categories that were prevalent statewide, some regional patterns were
observed in the comments. The importance of protecting and restoring high quality trout stream
habitat, while widely expressed, was particularly prominent in the discussion at the meetings in
Regions 1, 2 and 9. Moreover, in these regions, a particular emphasis was placed on the water
quality aspect of habitat and on habitat protection. With respect to stocked trout, preference for
increasing the proportion of species other than brown trout was expressed at six out of sixteen
meetings (category=diversify trout species stocked) in regions 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9. This preference
was not expressed in the other regions. In Region 7, more stocked brook trout was clearly the
preferred alternative to the current mix of stocked trout. In contrast to the overall pattern
described in the preceding paragraph, the desire for opportunities to catch larger trout was
widely expressed during extended discussions in the Region 6 and 7 meetings and should be
considered a dominant theme for those regions. Comments placing an explicit value on the
option to harvest a trout were only recorded in regions 3, 4 and 5.
Top Five Takeaway Messages
Trout Stream Anglers Value:
• high quality stream habitat as a means to better fishing and as a desired
outcome in its own right
• the opportunity to catch wild trout and to a lesser extent stocked trout that have
been in the stream longer than freshly stocked trout
• extended availability of trout stocked in streams
• a diversity of distinct stream fishing experiences (stocked trout, wild trout, easy
vs. challenging, etc.) and the information necessary to find them
• management success to be based on more than just catch of trout per hour

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