When most people think about trout fishing, they often picture a person standing knee-deep and alone in a remote stream, fly rod in hand and dressed as if he or she just stepped out of the pages of an Orvis catalog. Indeed, fly fishing has always had a tweedy history, with practitioners viewed as having an unfounded snobbish demeanor that may have begun with Theodore Gordon -- a somewhat reclusive individual long recognized as the father of American dry-fly fishing.
But while that stuff makes for great reading in books and magazines, most trout fishermen are dressed in jeans and hooded sweatshirts, some decorated with a photo of a fish with words such as “I Love Fishing,” “Born to Fish” or some other silly catchwords. And, chances are that jean-clad angler wearing a multi-pocket fishing vest has it zippered up over a camouflaged jacket. Of course during the early part of the season, most anglers can be found wearing the same clothing they wore during deer season, and that includes long underwear.
April 1 was opening day of New York’s statewide trout fishing season -- where the streams are no longer frozen. Of course knowing where to start helps, and in that regard, Hamilton County will receive 33, 990 yearling brown trout (8-9 inches), of which 1,600 will be the larger 12-15 inch two-year olds. In addition, 11,280 rainbow trout will be stocked in selected waters. Waters in this neck of the woods generally don’t receive their first allocation until later in the month, and considering how cold it’s been, it may be later than that.
For a complete list of Hamilton County waters visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/23319.html
For anglers who prefer brook trout over browns and rainbows, a list of top Hamilton County lakes and ponds and their regulations can be found on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/38329.html Just keep in mind that remote Adirondack ponds are rarely ice-free until mid-April, and this cold winter means there is plenty of ice to melt before those ponds open. Anglers interested in Adirondack trout streams may want to wait until May before tackling them.
Once waters are ice-free and temperatures rise, surface trolling for salmon and lake trout is a good bet on the larger lakes. Brook trout pond fishing is good from ice-out through May. Anglers are reminded that in many Adirondack ponds the use of fish as bait is prohibited. For a list of these waters check the "Special Regulations by County" section in the Fishing Regulations Guide, or contact the DEC's Region 5 Fisheries Office in Ray Brook at 518-897-1333 or Warrensburg at 518-623-1240.
The statewide stocking list by county is available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html. A variety of leaflets are also available including stocking lists for DEC regions 4 and 5, top fishing waters, a list of reclaimed trout ponds and others.
In recent years, there has been a shortage of brook trout, so many of the backcountry ponds have received either reduced numbers or haven’t been stocked at all. If you are headed into a favorite pond you may want to double check the 2007-2011 stocking list at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/81204.html
While browsing the Region 5 Fisheries website, be sure to check out the public fishing rights maps for many area rivers at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html. These maps can be downloaded and printed out to provide detailed locations for stream sections with purchased and deeded public rights for angling. Maps are also available from the DEC fisheries offices.
In any event, trout require clean, cold, or at least cool, water. Stocked trout like it about 57 degrees, slightly warmer than the optimal temperature for those raised in the wild. As a rule of thumb, rainbows prefer the warmer pools and New York's state fish, the brook trout, like it cooler.
Brookies are more tolerant of acidity than their immigrant cousins, but far more sensitive to water temperature. While browns and rainbows can survive in water that reaches 80 degrees, brook trout will die of thermal shock when the water temperature reaches 75.
HUNTER INPUT NEEDED FOR FALL WATERFOWL SEASONS
New York’s waterfowl hunting season may be closed, but the waterfowl people in Albany are already honking up the 2014-2015 season by inviting waterfowl hunters to submit recommendations to regional Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces for the fall duck hunting seasons. Of particular interest are opening and closing dates, split seasons and a special hunting weekend for youth.
The recommended dates must be within federal guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For fall, DEC expects the Wildlife Service to allow a 60-day duck season, split into no more than two segments per zone, opening no earlier than Sept. 27, and closing no later than Jan. 25, 2015. Waterfowl hunters can participate by providing duck season suggestions to any task force member on or before April 4. In the Northeastern Region it’s John O'Connor in Ray Brook, 518-897-1296 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Steve Andruckiewicz (Saratoga/Lake George area), 518-587-9942; Kevin Bodmer (Central Adirondacks), 518-327-3022 or email@example.com; and George Gedney (Queensbury), 518-361-9918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments can also be provided to DEC's Bureau of Wildlife by mail, telephone or e-mail, with e-mail being the preferred method at email@example.com. The task forces will meet in April, and DEC plans to announce tentative duck hunting season dates in June. Descriptions of New York state’s waterfowl hunting zones can be found on the DEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28497.html
FOR WOMEN ONLY
Women age 18 and older interested in learning more about fishing, hunting, trapping, archery, camping, canoeing, kayaking and a slew of other outdoors related activities can now register for the Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop held this year at the at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua the weekend of June 27 - 29. Limited to 125 registration, cost is $300 and includes lodging, 7 meals and expert training. For more details visit: http://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/NYSDEC/2014/03/27/file_attachments/280884/614form.pdf or call Kelly Stang at 518-402-8862, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Dropping anchor ’til next time.
To contact Dick Nelson with event or club news or to send a photograph email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Events should include the what, where, when and cost (if any). Photographs should include name of subject(s), town of residency and a brief description of the photo.
April 19 - Shot Heard Around New York. Similar to the first, this symbolic protest against the SAFE Act urges every gun owner with access to a safe environment to fire one or more rounds of ammunition at exactly high noon.
April 26 - The Mohawk Valley Sharp Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold its Fifth Annual Kids Spring Turkey Hunting contest Saturday, April 26, the first day of the special two-day DEC Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend. After the hunt door prizes and awards for the biggest toms taken will be presented, with everyone who registers and participates awarded a prize regardless of whether they harvest a bird. An awards ceremony and barbecue will follow the official weigh-in at Mike Auriemma's residence, 197 Truax Road, Amsterdam, from 12-2 p.m.
All licensed junior hunters are welcome. The only requirement is participants must register by April 25 at 7 p.m. and contact one of the officials with the names of the hunters and callers, along with how many will be attending the awards and barbecue. Turkey callers are available if needed. Last year this event drew 54 young guns. For more information contact Auriemma at 518-843-2432, Michele Auriemma at 518-588-9252 or Dick Andrews at 518-843-9086.
April 26 – New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame annual banquet and induction, Rusty Rail Restaurant, 3231 Seneca Turnpike, Canastota starting with registration and social hour at 5 p.m. Dinner at 6 p.m. For information or reservations call 315-363-3896 or 315-829-3588 by April 19.
May 1 - Turkey hunting season opener.