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It's 'thinking trout' time

Thursday, March 20, 2014
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It’s really not too early to start “thinking trout,” especially with the weather we’ve been getting.

I’m sure most of us can’t wait to start wetting a line without first having to first cut a hole in ice.

On April 1, the state trout season will open, and hopefully, we’ll be able to stand knee-deep and shore-fish in our favorite stream or pond, if the ice is out. But let’s think positive and look at what the state Department of Environmental Conservation is going to do for us.

Most importantly, the governor’s 2014-2015 budget includes $4 million for much-needed hatchery repairs and equipment at seven sites. Did you know that those tank trucks that carry trout to be released are more than 10 years old, 16 of which need to be replaced? Here’s a list of the hatcheries that will be receiving some of this money and their annual fish productions.

The Randolph hatchery produces 5.6 million trout annually; Catskill produces 115,000 brown trout; Oneida, 6,000 pounds of walleye; Chautauqua, 30,000 pounds of walleye; Chateaugay, 90,000 pounds of lake, brown, rainbow and brook trout; Rome, 160,000 pounds of brook, rainbow and brown trout; and Salmon River, 120,000 pounds of brook, rainbow and brown trout.

This is only part of the state fish stocking program. Each year, trucks from the 12 hatcheries throughout the state carry and release over one million fish into more than 1,200 public waters. These fish are stocked for our recreational fishing enjoyment and to restore native species to waters they formerly occupied. In addition to the trout, walleye, muskellunge and tiger muskellunge are raised and stocked.

Let’s take a closer at some of the waters we’ll be fishing next month, and what and how many will be released there. The trout release dates will vary from March through May, with a few in June.

The majority of brown trout released will be eight to nine inches, but there’ll be some 12- to 15-inchers in various waters.

Let’s begin with the streams in Albany County. The Catskill Creek in Rennselaerville will receive 930 browns; Basic Creek in Westerlo, 440; and LishaKill in Colonie, 350.

If you’re looking for a good place to take the kids trout fishing from the shore, consider Six Mile Waterworks (Rensselaer Lake) on Fuller Road in Albany. They’re going to get 1,580 rainbows. Thompson Lake in Berne will get 1,870.

You adult “kids,” be sure to leave some room for the “real” kids. Better yet, bring one with you.

In Columbia County, the two most popular trout streams are Kinderhook Creek and the Roeliff Jansen Kill. Kinderhook will get 700 browns in Kinderhook, 3,380 in New Lebanon. The Roeliff Jessen Kill in Clermont will get 11,050 browns; in Gallatin, 4,300. That’s a total of 15,350 brown trout. Might be a good place to toss a garden worm.

Fulton County’s Oppenheim and Stratford stretches of the East Canada Creek will receive 7,550 browns; Cayadutta Creek in Johnstown, 3,260; East Caroga Lake, 950 rainbows; and Northville Pond (Northampton), 1,980.

Nearby, Montgomery County’s Canajoharie Creek will get 1,420 browns, 100 of which will be in the 12- to 15-inch category. The Amsterdam stretch of the Kayaderosseras Creek will get 620 browns.

Rensselaer County’s Nassau waters will receive a generous 7,600 brown trout, including 897 in the 12- to 15-inch range. I wonder how they count these? Poesten Kill will receive a total of 4,160 browns, divided between the towns of Brunswick and Poestenkill. The Walloomsac in Hoosick will receive 5,680 browns, 500 of which are 12- to 15-inchers.

The second-biggest single trout release this year will be the 9,480 rainbows in the Great Sacandaga Lake in the town of Day, Saratoga County. Not far behind, also in Saratoga County, is the well-fished Kayaderosseras Creek with a total of 8,800 browns divided between the towns of Greenfield and Milton. Moreau Lake will get 2,370 rainbows and can be very good fishing after ice-out. One of Saratoga’s secret trout spots is the Snook Kill in Northumberland/Wilton, and it will get 2,280 browns.

Schenectady County’s Lisha Kill in the Niskayuna area will get 790 browns.

In Warren County, 5,510 rainbows will be released in Brant Lake; Glen Lake will get 2,050, but the biggest stocking in this county is in the Schroon River, 5,060 browns and 3,940 rainbows, 500 of which are 12- to 15-inchers. These releases will be in the towns of Bolton, Brant Lake, Chester and Horicon.

Washington County will receive the single biggest trout release. Between April and June, 22,315 browns will be released into the famous Batten Kill in the Greenwich and Salem stretches. If you’re looking for the bigger browns, the Salem area will get 2,175 of the 12- to 15-inchers sometime in May. The Mettawee River is another well-kept Washington County trout fishing secret. The Whitehall stretch of this river will get 4,370 browns (500 of which will be 12- to 15-inchers) and 3,470 rainbows.

You can find a list of all the counties’ trout stockings by Googling “2014 spring trout stocking in NYS.”

Unfortunately, opening day this year is a Tuesday, and for most, it’ll require a decision: go to work or get sick. If you’re patient, you can wait until Saturday, but if your cabin fever is running high from the nasty winter and the fishing flu has really got of a hold of you, calling in sick is an option. At about 8 to 9 a.m., find a quiet spot on the shore wherever you are fishing and make your coughing/wheezing call to the boss. It’s an option I’ve used.

I’m sure the conditions this year will be fast and muddy, so be careful, especially if wading. I don’t leave Florida until the end of the month, so I usually miss the first few days of the trout season, but the day after I get home, I’ll be somewhere on the Kayaderosseras bank. I’m a bit “old school,” using an ultra–light spinning rod and reel spooled with six-pound-test and tossing a juicy little worm. I like the worm to bounce slowly along the bottom and when the water’s moving, I add sixteenth-ounce pinch-on sinkers about 18 inches up from the bait. I’m sure by the end of the week I’ll have dunked a worm in the Factory Village, Rock City Road and Milton stretches.

Public fishing rights

Finding a place to fish on many of these rivers and creeks is very easy because DEC has purchased “fishing only” easements from landowners along the banks. These are usually a 33-foot strip on one or both banks of the stream. Go to, www.dec.-ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html for a list, and you can download a copy of a map.

Correction

Last week, I incorrectly reported that Charlie Wolfe caught a 15-pound northern pike in Iroquois Lake. It was actually caught in Collins Lake in Scotia. Sorry, Charlie — great fish.

 
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