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State announces free fishing licenses on Lake Ontario through Labor Day

Lake Ontario is open for business.

That message has been emphasized time and time again to combat the perception that Lake Ontario is closed because of the high water levels in the lake. To help support the “open for business” declaration, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, through the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), has announced that anyone who would like to fish the New York waters of Lake Ontario (including the Lower Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers) will not need to purchase a license through Labor Day.

“This comes at a great time when some of the best fishing is available in this Great Lake for salmon and trout,” said Joe Yaeger of Amherst, president of the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association. “I have spoken to several charter captains who have lost business due to the high water issues and this would be a great marketing tool to bring many of those people back or to help build new business contacts.”

Despite the record high water mark for the lake, fishing for salmon and trout has been exceptional the last three years based on catch rates compiled annually by DEC. In addition, the St. Lawrence River was recently recognized by Bassmaster Magazine as the top bass destination in the country for 2019.

While the fishing license is free, all regulations for the lake and rivers must be followed. For more information, check out dec.ny.gov.

A good source of information for Lake Ontario can be found at dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/glfishing.pdf.

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