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April 15, 2015

Contact:, (845) 334-7868

Department of Environmental Protection Announces Third Year of Pilot Program for Fishing With Electric Trolling Motors at Cannonsville Reservoir

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that it will continue the pilot program that allows the use of electric trolling motors for fishing at Cannonsville Reservoir. During the 2015 season, DEP will continue its discussions with fishermen and watershed stakeholders to determine whether the trolling motor program has been useful and whether it should expand to other locations in the years ahead.

The pilot program began in 2013, marking the first time that motorized boats were allowed on any of DEP’s upstate reservoirs. The boats and their electric motors are required to be steam cleaned before they enter Cannonsville Reservoir. Steam cleaning helps to eradicate invasive animals, plants and other microorganisms. If introduced into the water supply, certain invasive species could potentially harm water quality, clog intake pipes, and have detrimental effects on the ecosystem.

A total of 64 trolling motor tags were issued to anglers last year; 112 tags were issued in 2013. Last year’s trolling motor program was also accompanied by rule changes that will remain in place for 2015. Certified steam cleaning vendors will only issue two-day trolling motor tags. These tags will allow fishermen to use their electric trolling motors for two consecutive days before they must be removed from the reservoir. If they are to be used again, the trolling motors must be steam cleaned and a new tag will be issued. These rules do not affect tags that are issued for fishing boats that do not use a motor, nor do they affect tags for recreational boating at other reservoirs in the Catskills.

The electric trolling motor program began April 1, but the boats are not currently allowed on Cannonsville Reservoir because of ice. Boats are not allowed on the reservoirs until their main bodies and shorelines are completely free of ice. Anglers who want an update on ice conditions can call the boat office at (607) 363-7009. The trolling motor season ends Nov 30. A free-of-charge DEP access permit is required for anyone boating and/or fishing on City reservoirs. Access permits can be obtained online. DEP will be assessing the pilot trolling motor program in 2015 and welcomes feedback from recreational participants.

To be eligible for the program, electric trolling motors must not exceed 55 pounds of thrust, and their batteries cannot exceed 12 volts. The motors must use marine-grade batteries that are sealed, and they must be affixed to the boat to prevent them from falling into the reservoir. Trolling motors are to be used only for fishing, and only with row boats or jon boats. While the trolling motors may be stored along with the boats at each reservoir, batteries must be removed at the end of each day.

New York State navigation laws also apply, including the requirement that boaters have a whistle, a hand lantern, and an anchor on board.

Information about this and other boating programs on City reservoirs can be found by clicking here.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.4 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and other professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $68 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with over $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600