State trout and salmon fishing seasons open

April 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

With New York’s trout and salmon fishing seasons opening today, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued tips and reminders for anglers in every region.

“New York has some of the finest trout waters in the country, including many well established in trout fishing lore,” said DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. “I can think of no better way to relax and connect with nature than to spend an afternoon fishing. DEC works hard to provide a wide variety of fishing opportunities and I encourage anglers to get out this year and perhaps take someone along.”

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.

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.

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. 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).

In the Central New York/Eastern Finger Lakes (DEC Region 7), steelhead anglers heading to tributaries of Lake Ontario do not have to wait until April 1 to begin fishing because there is no closed season for trout and salmon in these waters up to the first barrier impassable to fish.

The peak of the spring steelhead run generally occurs in mid-to late March with fish averaging eight to ten pounds. The Salmon River in Pulaski is the best area steelhead river, and anglers have reported exceptional steelhead action this winter.

Other productive areas are Ninemile Creek (Oswego County) and the Oswego River. Nearshore brown trout fishing can also be very productive during the spring.

Last season’s spring brown trout fishing was one of the best in recent history. The peak of this fishery generally occurs in mid-April with the best areas being Fair Haven, Oswego Harbor, and Mexico Bay.

The Region 7 Finger Lakes are also early season favorites. Good fishing typically carries through to mid June on Cayuga, Skaneateles, and Owasco Lakes.

Cayuga Lake is well known for rainbow trout, and along with Owasco Lake, offers excellent fishing for brown trout and lake trout. Skaneateles Lake offers good fishing for lake trout, rainbow trout, and, along with Cayuga, provides an exceptional opportunity for landlocked salmon as well. Otisco Lake also offers good brown trout fishing during early April.

For the best opportunities to catch lake-run rainbow trout in the Finger Lake tributaries (which opened to trout fishing April 1), try Salmon Creek, Cayuga Inlet, Yawgers Creek and Fall Creek on Cayuga Lake; and Grout Brook on Skaneateles Lake.

Other streams provide excellent early trout fishing as well. Most notable are: Nine Mile (Onondaga County), Limestone and Butternut Creek in Onondaga County; Oquaga and Nanticoke Creeks in Broome County; the Otselic River in Chenango and Cortland counties; Genegantslet Creek in Chenango County; Chittenango Creek and the Otselic River in Madison County; the west and east branches of Tioughnioga River and Factory Brook in Cortland County; Fall and Virgil Creeks in Tompkins County; and Owego Creek, the east and west branches of Owego Creek and Cayuta Creek in Tioga County.

Anglers are reminded that most waters in Region 7 are managed under a five-trout-daily-creel limit with no more than two fish being greater than 12 inches. Many waters also allow the harvest of an additional five brook trout under 8 inches.

Valley News

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Entry filed under: Get Wet, Natural Waterfront, Region. Tags: , , , , .

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