Hook, Line and Sinker: April 2, 2008

Mild temperatures this weekend have spurred early trout fishers into action; thanks to catch and release (no kill) sections along some of our streams (the West Branch of the Delaware, Beaverkill and Willowemoc) a number of preseason anglers were already out fishing. Spring must certainly be here, with the number of robins we’ve seen; early yesterday morning while walking the dog before sunrise I heard a fox barking down along the riverbank where she usually dens with her young. Saturday afternoon we saw the heart-stopping sight of not one but two bald eagles sitting majestically in a large tree scanning the pond at the Catskill Fly-Fishing Center.
We drove along Pepacton Reservoir on a trip to Margaretville on Saturday and were surprised to see how much ice is still on the water at the upper end. A call in to Al Carpenter, of Al’s Sports Store, Downsville, revealed that the lower end of Pepacton is all open by the dam, with “all sorts of shoreline to fish,” and even a report of open water near the Shavertown Bridge. Al has stocked lots of baitfish - minnows in all sizes – small, medium and big shiners, as well as small fathead minnows. Best selling lures over the weekend are, not surprisingly, Krocodiles, in sizes 3/8 and 1/2 ounce. This year Luhr Jensen has put out a really nice line of holographic lures, which Al says are very sharp looking. There are nine colors available, such as silver streak, blue streak, and sardine, equipped with red Sure-Set treble hooks.

East Branch OK
Although the Pepacton is still spilling, the East Branch is in good shape at this writing (Monday morning), as are most of our area rivers and streams for the opening of the Trout Season yesterday. Ed Ostapczuk, of Shokan, reported over the weekend that the Esopus looks great for yesterday’s opener - is clear and greenish from the snowmelt, and understandably cold. 
We have been fortunate that with the amount of snow that fell in February and March, the snowmelt has been pretty gradual and hasn’t caused much damage. There is still a good amount of snow up in the woods and on the north-facing slopes; the snowmelt has kept water temperatures down, which means that wading will be challenging – for those who will be entering the streams to fish, don’t forget the long johns!
Those trout fishers who will begin their season on a river or stream will find that, due to the cold water temperatures, trout will be lingering down near the bottom. It is a favorite time of year for worm fishermen and nymph fishermen. With the typical cold water temperatures you’ll want to use split shot or weighted nymphs (and possibly a sinking line) to get your lures down near the trout.
Be sure to have your 2008 fishing license – and keep handy the 2006-2008 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide. The general daily creel limit for brook, brown, and rainbow trout is five fish; however, there are numerous exceptions that are listed by region in the guide. Anglers are also reminded that special permits are required for fishing New York City reservoirs. Information and a new on-line permit system can be found on the New York City Department of Environmental Protection website at www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/watershed_protection/html/wsrecreation.html .
Fishing licenses can be purchased on-line at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html or by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS. Fishing licenses can also be purchased from various sporting license outlets located throughout the state, such as town and county clerks, some major discount stores, and many tackle and sporting goods stores.