Hook, Line and Sinker: August 27, 2008

Sonny Somelofski of the Tremperskill Country Store reports that he saw a nice fish on Saturday. It was caught by Skip Vezetti who summers in Andes. The trout was 24 inches long and probably weighed about six pounds. Skip was fishing from shore with sawbelly, “right on the bottom” when the fish took.
A lot of “pretty big” smallmouth bass are being taken at the upper end of the Pepacton. Most anything has been working well, with bass reported to have been taking minnows, sawbellies, crayfish and assorted lures, such as Countdown Rapalas, Jigs, and anything that’s sinking. If you’re going to use a jig, try a Sassy Shad with either one-half ounce or lighter weight, so that it goes down slowly. Sonny recommends walking the jig down the bank underwater, which should produce some pretty good luck.
Mike Cornwall of Al’s Sports Store in Downsville said that bass fishing at the lower end of Pepacton has also been good with most successful fishermen using crayfish and sawbellies. In addition, a couple of trout were brought into the store this week. Stevie O from New Jersey caught a seven-pounder on Thursday. A few Pennsylvania fishermen, camping at Peaceful Valley, caught a couple of 18-inch brown trout at about 22 feet down. Mike reports that the water in the reservoir is starting to clear up a little bit from the floods of three weeks ago.
Some disturbing news - the presence of Didymo, the terribly invasive algae mass that has been very visible in the West Branch of the Delaware this summer, has now been seen in the East Branch of the Delaware all the way up to Corbett, according to the DEC. However, Al Carpenter of Al’s Sports Store has seen it all the way up to the firemen’s field in Downsville. Didymo is microscopic algae that clings to waders, boots, boats, lures, hooks, sinkers, fishing line and other fishing gear, and remains viable for several weeks under even slightly moist conditions.  Absorbent items, such as the felt-soled waders and wading boots commonly used by stream anglers, require thorough attention as discussed below.  Anglers, kayakers and canoeists, boaters and jet skiers can all unknowingly spread didymo.
Unlike many other aquatic nuisance plants, didymo grows on the bottom of flowing and still waters.  It can develop thick mats even in fast flowing trout streams.  Fishing becomes difficult; the abundance of bottom dwelling organisms declines; and trout and other fish that feed on those organisms also decline.  There are currently no known methods for controlling or eradicating didymo once it infests a water body.
The DEC is urging anglers and other water recreationists to Check, Clean and Dry to prevent the introduction and spread of didymo, as follows:
Check -  Before leaving a river or stream, remove all obvious clumps of algae and look for hidden clumps. Leave them at the affected site. If you find any later, do not wash them down drains, as they will enter the water system where your wastewater goes! Rather, dispose all material in the trash.
Clean - Soak and scrub all items mentioned above for at least one minute in either hot (140 degrees F) water, a two percent solution of household bleach or a five percent solution of salt, antiseptic hand cleaner or dishwashing detergent. Be sure that the solution completely penetrates thick absorbent items such as felt soled waders and wading boots.
Dry - If cleaning is not practical, after the item is completely dry to touch, wait an additional 48 hours before contact or use in any other waterway.  Check thick absorbent items closely to assure that they are dry throughout.  Equipment and gear can also be placed in a freezer until all moisture is frozen solid. NOTE:  If cleaning, drying or freezing is not practical, restrict equipment to a single water body.
Let’s all be aware of this devastating problem, and do our part in preventing the spread of Didymo so that we can protect our Catskill rivers and streams!