NEW YORK (WWTI) — A new catch-and-release program in trout streams will open next weekend across New York.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos reminded anglers on Tuesday that the new catch-and-release trout stream season begins on October 16. Commissioner Seggos said this program will expand recreational opportunities across New York.

“Using science, research, and public input, DEC is increasing fishing opportunities while advancing responsible trout management in order to ensure trout reach their fullest ecological and recreational potential,” Commissioner Seggos said in a press release. “New York State’s new catch-and-release season in trout streams expands opportunities for anglers so they can enjoy the State’s trout stream fishing resources year-round.”

The new season applies exclusively to trout streams. It will run from October 1 to March 31 and require anglers to use only artificial lures and release caught trout immediately. Fishing for trout in lakes and ponds is restricted after October 15.

According to the DEC, this time period was previously closed to trout street fishing as a precautionary measure, as it was during the reproductive period for wild trout. However, DEC biologists concluded that fishing during spawning will not negatively impact the season.

Following this first catch-and-release season, the DEC will conduct an Angler Use and Wild Trout Young-of-Year Recruitment Study to gauge angling pressure and young-of-year trout abundance on a statewide sample. Biologists will then use the results of this study to evaluate the new regulations and guide future practices.

The DEC’s new catch-and-release program is a product of the Statewide Trout Stream Management Plan. This plan was developed to improve and modernize the State’s management of its trout stream fishing resources.

More information on where to fish for trout in New York State can be found on the Department of Environmental Conservation website.