Opening day for trout and salmon fishing is April 1, but the state Department of Environmental Conservation is warning that with high, cold water and icy banks and streambeds, especially in the North Country, conditions could make for dangerous early season angling.
Early season trout are typically lethargic and anglers will have best success using bait and lures such as spinners that can be fished slow and deep. Fishing will improve markedly once water temperatures warm later in the spring, as insect activity increases. Some of the best fishing of the year in lakes and ponds often occurs immediately following ice out, which can be as late as May in some northern New York ponds.
Ice out also encourages aquatic insect activity, which will improve opportunities for those preferring to use fly fishing gear.
Trout and salmon are extremely popular sportfish in New York State with anglers collectively spending nearly 6 million days a year in search of them.
“Although opening day conditions may be less than ideal for fishing in most sections of the state, the urge to wet a line and look forward to spring is more than enough reason to draw anglers to their nearest stream or pond,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.
DEC plans to stock more than 2.1 million catchable-size brook, brown and rainbow trout in 307 lakes and ponds and roughly 3,000 miles of streams across the state. Spring stockings will include 1.51 million brown trout, 432,000 rainbow trout and 158,000 brook trout.
Roughly 2.05 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake and coho salmon will be also 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, more than 330,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in 342 lakes and ponds this spring and fall, providing unique angling opportunities for future years.
DEC’s stocking program traditionally begins in late March and early April and continues into May as weather and stream conditions permit in the North Country.
Early season trout fishing recommendations by DEC staff in each region can be found in the 2013 Coldwater Fishing Forecast at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/63598.html. Anglers searching for places to fish will be interested in the I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State. This brochure and map provides information on over 320 lakes and pond and 110 rivers. Anglers desiring to order a map may do so by e-mailing their name and address to email@example.com (include NY FISHING MAP in the subject line). An interactive version of the guide can also be found at www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/42978.html. DEC’s website also provides specific locations on streams where DEC has purchased fishing easements. This information can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html. Anglers are encouraged to contact a DEC Regional Office for questions on fishing opportunities within a specific region.
DEC wants to remind anglers to be sure to disinfect their fishing equipment, including waders and boots before entering a new body of water. Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/50121.html.
Anyone 16 years of age and older who desires to fish in New York must have a New York State fishing license, available on line at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html or by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS. Fishing licenses can also be purchased from town and county clerks, some major discount stores and many tackle and sporting goods stores.