Unlike last year when opening day trout anglers were greeted with relatively tranquil conditions, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) informs this winter’s heavy snows and resultant high, cold stream conditions will not be friendly to early season trout anglers.
“After a long, cold and snowy winter, we know that anglers are anxious to hit the water,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Unfortunately, a good portion of the state remains covered with snow, which may restrict access to streams and cause very high stream flows making early season angling difficult.”
Trout, lake trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon seasons all begin on April 1. Best fishing on opening day can be found on Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley where even in the toughest of springs, fishable water can be found.
DEC plans to stock over 2.3 million catchable-size brook, brown and rainbow trout in more than 300 lakes and ponds and roughly 3,000 miles of streams across the state. Spring stockings include 1.77 million brown trout, 390,000 rainbow trout and 147,000 brook trout. Approximately 97,000 two-year-old brown trout 12-13 inches in length will also be stocked across into lakes and streams across the state. Stocking of catchable-size trout generally commences in late March and early April in the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island, and western New York and then proceeds to the Catskills and Adirondacks as stream conditions permit.
More than 2.25 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake and coho salmon will be also 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, 350,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in 342 lakes and ponds this spring and fall, providing unique angling opportunities for future years. For a complete list of waters planned to be stocked with trout this spring, go to http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html .
Early season trout fishing recommendations by DEC staff in each region, including suggestions on where to find good opportunities to fish for wild trout can be found in the 2011 Coldwater Fishing Forecast at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7749.html. Anglers searching for publicly accessible streams can find maps of DEC public fishing rights holdings on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html. The Bureau of Fisheries webpages are some of the most popular on the DEC website and contain a wealth of information that anglers will find helpful. Anglers are also encouraged to contact the DEC Regional Office in the region they plan on fishing for additional information.
In an effort to further refine its stream trout management program, the 2011 angling season will kick off a new study being conducted jointly by DEC and Cornell University to examine the fate of trout stocked in our waters. Creel surveys and trout population assessments are planned for seven stocked trout streams across the state as part of a three-year research project to check the performance of the Catch Rate Oriented Trout Stocking (CROTS) model used by the DEC to set stocking rates. Waters included in the study are the Carmans River, Esopus Creek, West Branch Delaware River, Oriskany Creek, Otselic Creek, Meads Creek, and East Koy Creek. Anglers fishing these waters can help by answering a few questions on their fishing trip if approached by a DEC creel clerk and by allowing the clerk to examine and measure any harvested fish.
Anglers 16 years of age and older must have a New York State fishing license available on line at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html or by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS. Fishing licenses can also be purchased from the 1,500 license issuing agents located throughout the state (town and county clerks, some major discount stores and many tackle and sporting goods stores). An interactive map providing the locations of these agents is now available on line. By law, every dollar spent on a fishing license helps fund the DEC fish stocking program and other programs conducted by the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources. Please be sure to also purchase a Habitat/Access Stamp to help fund important access and habitat projects. For more information on the Habitat/Access Stamp Program, go to http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/329.html.
Anglers are reminded to be sure to disinfect their fishing equipment, including waders and boots before entering a new body of water. Since 2007, Didymo, an invasive algae species, has been discovered in the Battenkill and Kayderosseras Creek in DEC Region 5, Esopus Creek and Rondout Creek in Region 3 and the Little Delaware River, West Branch Delaware River and East Branch Delaware River in Region 4. Didymo can attach to waders, particularly felt soles, and this is believed to be the primary mechanism for its spread from its initial discovery location. Wading anglers are encouraged to use readily available alternatives to felt-soled waders and wading boots. All gear should be dried and/or disinfected before it is used in a new body of water. Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/50121.html.