It's officially Bass Season in the Northeast!

By: Jim Root , 4:12 PM GMT on June 16, 2014

It's always a touchy subject for me when I hear people say "bass season" in NY. For as long as I can remember there was no catch and release for bass in the Empire State. The season opened the second saturday in June, and ran until the end of September. A few years ago that was changed for NY with the exception of St. Lawrence County (Lake Ontario, Black Lake, St. Lawrence River), and now it is perfectly legal to fish for bass all year outside of that area, as long as you don't intend to keep them. This has never been an issue for me, as anyone who knows me well knows that if a thing can breathe underwater I don't eat it.

I know. The irony.

The main objection to this has always been the issue of whether or not the species is hurt by targeting them while they're spawning, or in their mating season. Fish are easy to catch when they're guarding their eggs, and some feel that by catching them it leaves the nest vulnerable to predators until the fish are released and can return. Having seen the lakes in Florida, Alabama, Texas, and California, it's hard to be on that side of the debate. Those fish aren't just targeted all year, they're hammered. Fishing there is as much a way of life as Sunday BBQ with the family. Furthermore, as is often the case here in NY, many of the fish are still on beds right now due to extremely cold winter and a spring that saw below average temperatures. All this adds up and is helping to make a stronger push for a year long open season, which would also allow NY to have more fishing tournaments, bringing more income to the communities.

Nevertheless, Sunday was Father's Day, and I told my son we would do whatever he wanted: swim at the beach, Enchanted Forest, the Zoo. He wanted to go fishing, so we did. The panfish bite was spectacular, as the bluegills and sunfish are preparing to spawn next and are feeding heavily. Small bass were still cruising the shallows and my son was lucky enough to have caught one, his first, and his first that he caught entirely on his own. If you'd like to take your kids or grandkids fishing, now is a great time to do it because you can catch a LOT of fish, and get them excited about it early. My son was teaching kids more than twice his age and we all caught a lot of fish with just a few nightcrawlers, a small hook, and a bobber.

Even if you don't eat fish, teaching kids to appreciate their environment invests in the future of our planet. Take a kid fishing, and show them how beautiful and important it is to keep our waters clean.

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I'm Jim Root, one of the most published anglers on the topic of fish behavior as it relates to weather conditions. If you have questions let me know!

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