WELCOME to the NY B.A.S.S. Nation!!  

NY state harbors some of the best fishing in the country. We are very blessed!!! From an abundance of natural lakes to the challenges of the Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario) and the wonder and beauty of the St. Lawrence River – there is no end to the plethora of fishing this state offers.  We welcome ALL to enjoy and partake of its bountiful angling opportunities.

Some information and cautions to those that have never fished these colder waters!

The growth rate of fish here in the north is much slower than in those waters where the fish eat and grow 24/7/365.  Our fish in these northern climates are virtually in ‘suspension’ a great deal of the winter.  While they do occasionally eat, those consumed calories are more for maintenance rather than growth. Fish in milder climates will grow throughout the year – so it is possible to get a 5 pound bass in five years! 

That is NOT (or rarely) possible in this area.  What this translates to, on a practical basis, is that the trophy sized smallmouth and largemouth we catch in this state are OLD – VERY OLD. So  while the five pound bass one catches in warmer waters might be 5 years old, the trophy sized fish (5 pounds and over) one catches, say, in the St Lawrence – run between 15-20 years old.  That means these trophy sized fish are older than a lot of the people fishing for them!!!   They are treasures – they take a VERY long time to get that big, and deserve our care and consideration when fishing for them – ESPECIALLY in tournament situations.

These ages have been proven by aging the otoliths of deceased bass caught in tournaments.  SO – tournament fish care is a BIG DEAL.  We encourage ALL tournament participants to be prepared to keep live well parameters in order (clean water/temps controlled – especially important in summer tourneys/live wells FILLED adequately/ and manage barotrauma out on the water at catch time) – DO NOT LEAVE IT TO THE TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE AT THE END OF THE DAY.  That is akin to signing a death sentence for the bass that are afflicted.  And- be prepared to manage barotrauma on a much higher percentage of your catch than fish from some of the natural lakes.  Scientifically, I do not know what causes the greater frequency. I suspect it is the close access to deeper waters and the combination of the current and the muscle development of these fish that produce a much higher metabolic demand on them that leads to the majority of the fish caught needing barotrauma management.  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of doing this AT CATCH TIME – WHEN THE CONDITION IS NOTICED.  The longer the fish suffers the barotrauma, the less likely it is to survive post tournament release.  We want these very special, older, big fish back in the ecosystem!

It has been a very trying couple years dealing with COVID and its associated constraints.  We are ALL very tired of all of it.  I feel most of us are very happy to see things getting swung back to a newer ‘normal’ with the lifting of mask requirements.  Being also in the healthcare field, I have to realize this is far from over over, and I sadly realize this scourge will be lurking in the background causing its own degree of chaos for years to come.  I am hoping we have seen the worst of it.  The NY B.A.S.S. Nation has lost family members for whom we still grieve. Please use common sense – if you do not feel well – stay home/use a mask if you need to be in close contact with others – that makes sense if you have ANYTHING communicable!


NOW – if the world stage can ‘un-war’ itself – and fuel prices can retreat – maybe we all can have a wonderful, worry- free vacation/tournament season!!  (Miracles DO happen!!)

Barb Elliott, Conservation Director