Keep Fishing Great! Use Certified Bait

by Jeff Goldberg

There have been many changes to the sport of fishing.  The main one has been in the use and handling of bait fish. New permanent regulations, for New York State, went into effect in June of 2008.  The reason for the new regulations is to try to protect our waters from invasive diseases such as Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS). This disease which was found in several waters in NYS during the past year is a viral disease that threatens the sport fishing and all fish stocks.  All states and provinces bordering the Great Lakes have taken notice and have put regulations into place to control the movement of bait fish in order not to spread the virus to any additional bodies of water.  VHS has been found in Lake Huron, Lake St Clair and in NYS waters including Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Conesus Lake and the St Lawrence River.

The Animal Health Inspection Service (APHIS) which is an arm of FDA has listed 37 species of fish across 13 families that are susceptible to VHS.  This can become a real problem in Lake George and all other waters that are not already affected in our state and nation. In creating the new regulations on the handling of and movement of baitfish, our NYS DEC should be applauded, not condemned, for taking decisive action.  They did what is necessary to protect our resources and sport. VHS is not harmful to humans and has not been detected outside of the lakes that I have mentioned. The new rules are simple:

  • Bait that you catch yourself can only be used in the body of water they came from and cannot be transported overland by any motorized vehicle.
  • Certified disease free bait that is purchased from a bait dealer can be used on any body of water where it is legal to use bait.  You must carry a receipt that is good for 7 days after the retail sale.  This bait can be transported by a motorized vehicle.

This is a quick run down of the new regulations that affect most of us. There are additional regulations that do not affect our local water shed.  It is important that we follow them to help protect the resources and the sport we love.  The information that I used to write this came from a brochure from the NYS DEC called Keep Fishing Great!  Use Certified Bait. You should be able to pick it up in any public campground or fishing tackle store in the Lake George Region.

Have a Great Vacation and lets all follow the rules to keep New York one of the greatest fishing states in the country.

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