The Central New York weather may not indicate spring is here, but there is one unmistakable sign, fishing season. This Saturday (May 2) is the official state-wide start for several cool water fishing species, and the NY Department of Environmental Conservation thinks it will be a banner year.

Spring time offers some of the best walleye and northern pike fishing in the state. The season also opens for pickerel and tiger muskellunge this Saturday and even though we're still under social distancing guidelines, the DEC says following a few simple guidelines should keep you safe.

  • Fish local: Stay close to home.
  • Keep your fishing trip short.
  • Avoid high-traffic destinations.
  • Be safe: Avoid crowds and groups.
  • Keep a distance of six feet or more from others.
  • Move quickly through parking lots and paths.

A rule of thumb is to maintain a little more than the length of fishing pole away from each other.  When fishing from a boat, make sure it's large enough so persons on board can stay at least six feet from one another. And obviously if you're not feeling well stay home.

For Central New Yorkers, staying close to home should be easy with Oneida Lake promising some of the best fishing anywhere in the U.S.  Walleye can be found in more than 140 water around the state. If you don't have the secret fishing hole, the DEC suggests 25 different spots for Walleye and several places to find Musky, Pike, Tiger Musky and Pickerel.

The latest regulations are available in the 2020-2021 Freshwater Fishing Digest produced by the DEC. The publication is free and usually available wherever fishing licenses are sold. But with many locations closed because of COVID-19. it's available for free as download. There's a PDF version or as a digital copy.