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June 9, 2015

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New York State and New York City Encourage Fishing in the Catskills

Event Highlights Great Fishing Opportunities at New York City’s Ashokan Reservoir

Photos are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Deputy Commissioner for Water Supply Paul Rush cast their fishing lines into Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County on Tuesday, June 2, to promote the abundant fishing opportunities in the Catskills.

Before heading out in a DEP rowboat, Martens and Rush highlighted the excellent cold- and warm-water fishing opportunities offered by the streams, lakes and reservoirs of the Catskills. “The Catskills have long been famous for their fly fishing streams,” said DEC Commissioner Martens. “The Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Esopus and Neversink Rivers are held dear by men and women who fly fish, not only in this country, but all over the world. Today we want to spread the word about the excellent fishing that people can experience in many easily accessible streams and reservoirs that are within 90 minutes or less of New York City and the Albany areas.”

“New York City is proud to support the strong heritage of outdoor recreation that has attracted residents and visitors to the Catskills for generations,” DEP Deputy Commissioner Paul Rush said. “Anglers have enjoyed world-class fishing on our water supply reservoirs for a century. More recently, DEP has partnered with local advocates to create hiking trails on water supply lands, and to expand opportunities for hunting, snowshoeing and other outdoor activities. DEP hopes these new recreation amenities and expanded access will attract thousands more to visit the Catskills and experience what we already know—it is one of the most scenic, pristine and beautiful destinations anywhere.”

DEC has focused on improving and managing the Catskill fishery, but also on dramatically increasing access to fishing areas for the public. Since 1935, more than 1,300 miles of easements have been acquired on 340 streams through DEC’s public fishing rights program. DEC’s Public Fishing Rights maps are available here. Rush presented Martens with a watershed access permit, granting him access to DEP properties for fishing, boating, hunting and other forms of recreation. DEP owns 106,745 acres of land and water in the Catskills that are open for recreation. Over a third of this acreage has fishing access, with the reservoirs themselves accounting for 23,628 acres.

Ashokan Reservoir has been open for fishing for 100 years and contains seven different species of fish including small mouth bass, trout and pan fish. This year, DEC stocked more than 16,000 brown trout in the Ashokan and 66,755 trout of varying species throughout Ulster County. Eleven different species of freshwater fish can be caught in one or more of DEP’s six water supply reservoirs located within the Catskill area.

Anglers and others interested in enjoying DEP’s watershed lands and waters in the Catskills can get a free access permit online on the DEP website. New York State Fishing Licenses can be purchased conveniently online and can be printed out after purchase.

Most of the trout stocked in Catskill waters come from DEC’s Catskill Fish Hatchery in Sullivan County, which produces 115,000 pounds of brown trout annually. Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative has dedicated $10 million in NY Works funding for fish hatchery repairs and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, trails and parking areas.

This initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600