The start of 2009 marked the first record-breaking fish caught in New York State since 2007.
Fishing with tip-ups, Thomas Reed of Kill Buck, N.Y., pulled a 16-pound, 9-ounce walleye through the ice on Mystic Lake on January 20th. Located in Cattaraugus County, Mystic Lake sits along Tunungwant Creek, a tributary of the Allegheny River.
"Reed's walleye surpassed the now historic 1994 state record by 2 ounces, which was caught from the Allegheny Reservoir, also in Cattaraugus County,"said Paul McKeown, regional fisheries manager for the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). "Very few state records have been broken during ice fishing season."
Reed's walleye was brought into the DEC office for inspection, where fisheries biologists estimated the fish to be over 20 years old.
Walleye are one of New York's most popular game fish species, found in more than 150 waters. The northern and central regions of New York contain about 80 percent of the state's walleye waters, but outstanding fisheries can be found in every major watershed, from Lake Erie to the eastern end of Long Island.
Many of New York's finest walleye fisheries harbor self-sustaining populations, while others require periodic boosts through DEC stocking efforts. DEC raises and stocks approximately 200,000,000 walleye fry (recently hatched fish) and about 500,000 fingerlings (1.5 to - inch long fish) in about 25 to 30 waters every year.
The fishing season for walleye opens on the first Saturday in May and extends through March 15. The general statewide regulation is a 15-inch minimum length and a daily limit of 5 fish; however, many waters have special regulations where length and daily limits vary, which are listed in the Fishing Regulations Guide.
New York record fish make up one of the three categories of the Angler Achievement Awards Program. Through this program, anglers entering freshwater fish meeting specific qualifying criteria receive official recognition of their catch and a distinctive lapel pin commemorating their achievement.
The three categories that make up the program are: Catch & Release, Annual Award and State Record.
Further information on the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form, can be found out at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7980.html.
Past winners from previous years can also be accessed by visiting the webpage. Program details and an official entry form can also be found in the current Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide.
For additional information on the Angler Achievement Awards Program contact (518) 402-8891 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.