For trout, that is. Baseball would be another blog . . . Following are some suggestions and information from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The state’s trout season begins Wednesday, April 1. TJN photo shows anglers on the Croton River in Croton Falls.
From the DEC:
Although early season trout angling in northern and mountainous reaches of New York may be slow due to lingering cold weather and melting snow, conditions in other areas of New York should be good for early-season angling. Waters on Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley and western New York tend to warm up earlier and provide the best early-season fishing opportunities.
Slow presentations using spinners or minnow-imitating lures and, where permitted, live bait, work well in the early season. Those preferring to fly fish will find that similar slow, deep presentations using weighted nymphs and streamers can be effective. Trout and salmon fishing on lakes and ponds is often best immediately after ice-out. Since many Adirondack and Catskill ponds are likely to remain frozen for the April 1 opener, anglers should scout out areas beforehand. Prime areas to fish are those locations that warm the earliest, including tributary mouths and near surface and shallow shoreline areas. Afternoons can be better than mornings during the early season, as the sun’s rays can significantly warm surface waters. Early season anglers are reminded to be extra cautious as high flows, ice and deep snow can make accessing and wading streams particularly hazardous. Anglers are reminded that ice fishing is prohibited in trout waters, except as noted in the Fishing Regulations Guide.
Stocking and Hatcheries
Several hatchery improvement projects were completed last year. Most significant among these was the completion of an extensive pole-barn complex covering hatchery ponds at the Rome Fish Hatchery to reduce trout predation by birds. It is estimated that this project will save 50,000 to 100,000 fingerling trout annually from predatory birds and will lead to more efficient hatchery operations.
Additional hatchery rehabilitation projects are planned for this upcoming year including the rebuilding of the main hatchery building at Rome. Rome Hatchery is one of DEC’s oldest and largest hatcheries, growing and stocking more than 650,000 yearling brown and brook trout annually.
Spring is a busy season for the DEC Hatchery System. From mid-March through mid-June, nine trout and salmon hatcheries stock fish five days a week using 30 state-of-the-art stocking trucks.
Stocking of catchable-size trout generally commences in late March and early April in the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island, and western/central New York, and then proceeds to the Catskills and Adirondacks. This year, DEC plans to stock more than 2.3 million catchable-size brook, brown, and rainbow trout in 304 lakes and ponds and roughly 3,000 miles of streams across the state. Approximately 100,000 two-year-old brown trout ranging from 12 to 15 inches in length will also be stocked into lakes and streams statewide.
More than 2 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake and coho salmon also will be stocked by DEC this spring to provide exciting angling opportunities over the next several years. For those who prefer a quieter more remote setting, 325,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in 343 remote lakes and ponds this spring and fall to bolster “backwoods” fishing opportunities. For a complete list of waters planned to be stocked with trout this spring go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html <http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html> . A listing of waters stocked with all sizes of trout last year can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30467.html <http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30467.html> . In addition to stocked waters, New York State has thousands of miles of wild trout streams that provide excellent fishing opportunities. Regional fisheries offices, which are listed in the Fishing Regulations Guide, can offer specific details abo ut the locations and opportunities offered by these waters.
The general creel limit for brook, brown and rainbow trout is five fish per day and the open season for trout in most New York State waters runs from April 1 through Oct. 15. There are numerous exceptions however, so anglers should review the Fishing Regulations Guide before heading out to their favorite pond or stream.
A New York State fishing license is required for all anglers 16 years of age and older. Those looking to renew licenses can do so at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html or by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS. Fishing licenses can also be purchased from various sporting license outlets located throughout the state (town and county clerks, some major discount stores and many tackle and sporting goods stores).
When purchasing a fishing license, anglers should also consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp, which is available to anyone for $5 from any sporting license issuing agent. Proceeds from sale of this stamp have funded many valuable trout stream access and habitat projects in New York, such as the development of a parking area and footpath on Felts Mill Creek in Jefferson County this past year.
For anglers seeking publicly accessible stream fishing locations, DEC continues to add to its inventory of public fishing rights (PFR) maps that can be downloaded here. New maps covering DEC Region 4 have recently been added to the existing maps covering DEC Regions 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9.
Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species and Diseases
With the recent discovery of the fish disease Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in New York, and an invasive species of algae, didymo, in the Delaware River system and the Batten Kill, anglers are reminded of the important role that they play in preventing the spread of these and other potentially damaging invasive species and fish diseases. Please thoroughly dry equipment, particularly waders and wading shoes, for 48 hours before moving from water to water. If drying is not possible, equipment must be disinfected. One of the easiest and safest ways to disinfect gear is by soaking it for 10 minutes in a cleanser/disinfectant containing the ingredient alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride. This ingredient is found in most common household antiseptic cleansers such as Fantastic, Formula 409 and Spray Nine. Anglers are also encouraged not to use felt-soled waders as they are more apt to transport didymo and other invasives than other forms of wading soles. For more informa tion on invasive species and disinfection procedures, request a copy of the new DEC brochure “Anglers and Boaters: Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species and Fish Diseases in New York State” from your local DEC office.
New Baitfish Regulations Established to Protect New York Fisheries
Anglers are reminded that a new “Green List” of baitfish species that can be commercially collected and/or sold for fishing in any water body in New York where it is legal to use fish as bait has now been established in regulation. For a complete discussion of these regulations and how to identify these approved baitfish species, download the new brochure www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/baitfishofny.pdf. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. These new regulations have been established to stem the spread of non-native baitfish and dangerous fish diseases in New York State.
Hudson Valley/Catskills (DEC Region 3)
Public fishing rights (PFR) maps for Region 3 are now available on the DEC web site at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html <http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html> . These maps are designed to provide anglers with location information for public fishing easements in the Region. PFR easements are also marked with yellow signs to help anglers find these locations on the stream. Please contact the regional office if you have any questions or believe that a PFR is posted incorrectly.
Region 3 has introduced a new Fishing Hotline to provide information on how and where to catch fish throughout the region. Please call: 845-256-3101 or check the DEC web site at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishhotlines.html for timely updates.
Anglers looking for good early season trout fishing east of the Hudson River should consider Wappinger Creek, Ten Mile River, Sprout Creek and Fishkill Creek, all located in Dutchess County. These fairly large streams will be well stocked prior to opening day and all support holdover trout from previous years’ stocking, as well as some wild brown trout. In Putnam County, good early season bets are the East Branch and West Branches of the Croton River. These streams are located on New York Watershed Property and a free NYC Public Access Permit is required. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has updated and improved the permit issuing system. Permits can now be obtained online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/watershed_protection/html/wsrecreation.html. Information and permit applications can also be obtained by calling 1-800-575-LAND. In Westchester County, the Croton River, below New Croton Dam, and Stone Hill River are well stocked early season favorites that do not require a city permit.
Although most of the Catskill trout streams are readily accessible by road, people looking for a more remote fishing experience have many options. There are thousands of acres of state lands in Sullivan and Ulster counties, and most have small wild trout streams. Some much larger waters also exist in remote settings, like the Neversink River Unique Area below Bridgeville and above Oakland Valley, and the Mongaup River below Rio Dam in the Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area.
Other notable trout resources in the area include 17 New York City reservoirs totaling more than 23,000 acres. Large brown trout, including some weighing more than 20 pounds, may be found in many of these waters. Ashokan Reservoir is famous for large rainbow trout, and Rondout and Kenisco Reservoirs have thriving populations of lake trout. Lake trout fishing in the Kensico, a 2,218-acre reservoir in Westchester County, has improved greatly in recent years and now is supported primarily through natural reproduction. Neversink and West Branch Croton Reservoirs have modest populations of landlocked salmon that supplement the more traditional brown trout experience. As noted previously, all New York City watershed lands require a free permit for recreational access.
During the spring and early summer, DEC hatchery staff will deliver over 300,000 trout to 85 streams and 30 lakes and ponds within Region 3. Included in this total will be nearly 16,000 of the larger (12-15″) two-year-old brown trout, which will be distributed to about 40 of the larger and more accessible streams. This year’s stocking information can be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Fisheries Office, DEC Region 3, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY, 12561.