Getting ready for trout season, April 1
FINGER LAKES—The trout fishing season starts April 1 and this year the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is expecting more fish in the lakes than in the streams.
Brad Hammers, DEC fish specialist, explained the warm temperatures last week caused the main trout runs to happen sooner. He added that there will be some trout in streams like always and that some trout have not spawned yet.
The DEC was sampling trout in Cold Brook, part of the Keuka Inlet in Steuben County, on Friday, March 23, and in at Catharine Creek in Schuyler County, March 13 to 14. Hammers said of the 19 fish checked at Cold Brook, the biggest was 6.3 pounds. He added a few were still hard and had not laid eggs yet.
However, Hammers explained they saw a lot of suckers, which come "after the main run of rainbow trout." At the Catharine Creek, Hammers said the biggest of 81 fish was 9.9 pounds. This was before the last week's heat wave.
"There's a good chance they've already spawned and headed back to the lake," said Hammers.
He added last year was one of the better years for trout. Hammers said the fish didn’t run until late March. He said we haven’t experienced the usual snow melt which prompts fish to spawn and had back to the lake.
According to the DEC, good trout (brown and rainbow) fishing may be found from shore along many of the western Finger Lakes. Possibilities exist at the Keuka Lake State Park and from the piers at the southern tip of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen. In addition to wild, stream run rainbow trout, numerous streams throughout the region are full of stocked and wild brown trout. Year-round, quality fishing can be found throughout the Cohocton River from Cohocton to Bath (Steuben County), and Cayuta Creek near Odessa (Schuyler and Chemung Counties).
Weekly fishing reports can be viewed on the Central New York Fishing Hotline web page or can be heard at 607-753-1551. To assist anglers in finding public fishing rights (PFR) areas on regional trout streams, color brochures of those streams can be found and downloaded from the DEC website. A list of boating access sites may be found by visiting the DEC website.
The state is also looking to make changes to the current freshwater fishing regulations. DEC will accept public comments on the proposals through April 2, 2012. The changes, as listed on the state’s website, include:
• Reducing the limit of rainbow trout from five to one in the western Finger Lakes and three to one in the tributaries to provide further protection for this species. Western Finger Lakes include Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Canadice, and Hemlock Lakes.
For more photos from the Cold Brook sampling, click here.