Trout, lake trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon seasons all begin on April 1st, but unlike last year when opening day trout anglers were greeted with relatively tranquil conditions, this winter’s heavy snows and resultant high, cold stream conditions will not be friendly to early season trout anglers. Early season anglers should use caution, as ice melt can create swift flow in high waters, unstable ice layers and unstable hiking terrain – particularly in higher elevations where winter snow is returning Friday.
“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.”
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 pangling 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. A complete list of waters planned to be stocked with trout this spring can be found online. A listing of waters stocked with all sizes of trout last year can also be found online.
In addition to the Adirondack State Park, lakes, ponds, streams and creeks in 54 state parks and historic sites around New York provide an ideal place to introduce youth to the joys of fishing. Saratoga Spa State Park invites families to assist with the stocking of Geyser Creek with Brown Trout on April 20th, 11am. For more information about individual facility requirements, or upcoming angling events at state parks, please call (518) 474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com.
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. Anglers searching for publicly accessible streams can find maps of DEC public fishing rights holdings on the DEC website.
Anglers 16 years of age and older must have a New York State fishing license available online 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 online. 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.
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, and elsehwere 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 also be found on DEC’s website.