Gov. Kathy Hochul today announced the state’s new mobile phone feature, the Tackle Box, to improve fishing tourism by making it easier for new and experienced anglers to enjoy great fishing opportunities throughout New York. The new Tackle Box feature builds on the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s HuntFishNY smartphone app and provides a one-stop shop for nearly all state fisheries regulations, bodies of water, state-operated fishing access sites, inventory information, and other useful features such as helpful photos Identify fish, likely to be found in a particular river, lake or stream.
“New York is a premier fishing destination that offers a variety of opportunities to land a keeper from a large list of valuable game species,” said Gov. Hochul. “The release of the unique Tackle Box feature will make fishing even more accessible to our residents and visitors of all experience levels, giving them a one-stop shop for all fishing information. I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of this feature and hit the water today to take advantage of the great fishing our state has to offer.”
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) led the creation of the Tackle Box’s map-based interface for displaying fishing information. Unlike other recent mobile fishing smartphone offerings in upstate New York, Tackle Box allows users to search for waters by name or by pan and zoom. Highlighted bodies of water are clickable and provide information on special fishing regulations, fish stocking, and boat/fishing access locations owned by DEC, the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the New York State Canal Corporation, and the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition, the new “Navigation” feature gives users directions to their boat access location of choice. The tackle box also includes an offline feature that allows anglers to use it when cellular service is unavailable.
New York State Department of Environment Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Tackle Box features allow anglers to access key information from the convenience of their smartphone, with or without an internet connection. Fishing regulations, fishing access points, inventory information and more are all available either on-the-fly or by downloading the information. Tackle Box is another great example of New York’s commitment to making fishing easier for everyone.”
Ross D. Levi, Empire State’s Vice President of Development and Executive Director of Tourism, said, “Anglers from around the world consider New York State to be a premier fishing destination for everything New York has to offer, from spectacular scenery to to inviting accommodations and world-class food and beverage experiences. I LOVE NY looks forward to recognizing Tackle Box in its tourism advancement efforts for residents and visitors planning a getaway to the Empire State.”
Stephanie West Vatalaro, senior vice president of marketing and communications at the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, said, “One of the biggest reasons people don’t fish is because they don’t know where to go. The new ‘Tackle Box’ feature in the HuntFishNY app helps guide people to local fishing spots and connects them to regulations and species information to make trip planning easier and smoother.”
Todd Ceisner, Editor of In-Fisherman Magazine, said, “Anglers across New York now have a premier tool to research and plan their next fishing trip, whether it’s to a lake, river, stream or pond. The new Tackle Box section of the HuntFishNY app is incredibly user-friendly and will be a helpful tool for new, novice and experienced anglers alike.”
Larry Charette, Chair of the New York State Council of Trout Unlimited, said, “The new DEC Tackle Box is changing the game of recreational fishing and public access fishing in New York. Trout Unlimited is excited to introduce this new tool to our 8,000 members in New York.”
Scott Locorini, President of the New York State Outdoor Guides Association, said, “I think the new Tackle Box app is amazing! Not only will it be useful for New York State guides when they are looking for new waters, but I believe it will benefit all New York anglers as well. I really like being able to use it offline because a lot of the places I go don’t have phone service.”
Dawn L. Borchert, Director of Tourism at Orleans County Tourism, said, “Development of DEC’s new Tackle Box feature in the HuntFishNY app will enhance and enlighten our anglers’ experience when visiting Lake Ontario, tributaries or other waters found in Orleans County. This app allows anglers to discover other world class fishing spots that they may not have known about before using the tools like regulations, stocking, fish species all found in their phone. Finally, the app will allow anglers to extend their stay in upstate New York while fishing!”
The HuntFishNY app provides instant mobile access to a client’s sports licenses, privileges and permits, as well as the ability to report wild harvests instantly while on the go. The HuntFishNY app, which includes the Tackle Box, is free and available for anyone to download onto their tablet or smartphone via the Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android) platforms. To access HuntFishNY with the new Tackle Box feature, users must create a DECALS account, but do not need to be fishing or hunting license holders.
To watch an instructional video on accessing the tackle box from the HuntFishNY app, go to https://youtu.be/iqQI_cqxUI8. For a brief demonstration of the tackle box’s features, see youtu.be/85jtYE8pBag. For more information about the HuntFishNY app and the new Tackle Box feature, visit the DEC website at dec.ny.gov/outdoor/96470.html. For technical assistance with the app, users can call the DECALS hotline at 866-933-2257. For specific fishing questions, users can email [email protected].
New York has dozens of waters that consistently rank among the best fishing destinations in the country. In 2021, New York had six locations in Bassmaster Magazine’s Top 25 Bass Lakes in the Northeast. These included the St. Lawrence River (#1 Thousand Islands), Lake Erie (#3), Lake Champlain (#4), Lake Cayuga (#11), Lake Oneida (#18) and Chautauqua Lake (#25). Excellent trout fishing draws visitors from across the country to well-known locations such as Ninemile Creek and the Ausable, Esopus, Delaware, Beaverkill and Upper Genesee Rivers, among many others across the state. Salmon fishing along the Salmon River and throughout Lake Ontario continues to be excellent, and a record walleye population in Oneida Lake and a robust population in Lake Erie continue to delight anglers. New York’s anglers contribute an estimated $2.1 billion to the economy, support jobs and increase state and local tax revenues.
All New York anglers, residents or visitors, play a role in protecting state waters from invasive species. DEC is reminding everyone to clean, drain and dry boats and trailers and disinfect fishing gear before replicating in New York waters to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Visit the DEC website for more tips on cleaning, draining and drying watercraft, fishing gear and other gear and for more information about the New York Watercraft Inspection Steward program.