Hook, Line and Sinker: March 28, 2012

The surprisingly warm and sunny weather we’ve enjoyed so far this year has brought eager fishermen out in the Special Regulations Catch and Release sections of the Beaverkill and Willowemoc since mid- March. In addition to early sightings of fishermen in the streams, we have seen good numbers of midges and stoneflies hatching and fish rising, even in the mornings. Water temperatures of at least as high as 49 degrees Fahrenheit have been recorded. Whether this early fishing activity continues remain to be seen, however, as the typical opening of the trout season usually brings high flows and cooler water temperatures.

Due to the relatively snow-less winter we’ve just come through, there is very little if any snowmelt or runoff even from the higher elevations. We will be even more dependent on rainfall to sustain good water temperatures and stream flows throughout the fishing season.

Water levels
Current water levels in the region’s reservoirs range between 87 percent and 95 percent with the Pepacton Reservoir at 89 percent.

The DEP’s website lists the total capacity of the city’s reservoir system as currently being at 91.5 percent capacity. It lists the ‘average’ storage for this date as 91.8 percent capacity, so we are just slightly below average.

Al Carpenter of Al’s Sports Store in Downsville reported that the reservoir will be open for boats on opening day, a rare opportunity for boat fishermen. This is the first time the reservoir hasn’t frozen over from the bridge down to the dam. Shoreline fishing has also been very good – bass fishermen are pulling in lots of bass (and releasing trout that had been caught as well) and someone brought in a bucket of bullheads, quite early this year!

Opening day of the trout season, April 1, falls on a Sunday. During this week before the season opener, take time to inspect your fishing gear. Take out your waders or hip boots and check for leaks. Shine a flashlight and look for holes or tears. Even a pinhole will cause a surprisingly large leak and in the early season with typically chilly air and water temperatures, can make your fishing experience uncomfortable.

Check your rod for loose or worn guides, and your reel to see if needs oiling. Check your line for weak spots, and be sure to have enough tippet material. You can check your lures and replace rusty hooks; fly fishers will want to have enough nymphs and early-season flies on hand.

Start cleaning
It’s a good time to wash your fishing vest if you have not done so already, and see that you have fly repellent, sunscreen, sun glasses, clippers, etc. and anything else you may need in the pockets. Check your net to be sure the net bag is secure and not coming undone, and to make sure there are no holes in the mesh.

Trout fishers will need a current fishing license, and reservoir fishermen will need a NYC DEP permit. Reservoir licenses may obtained online and printed out. Visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/recreation/recreation_rules.shtml. Scroll down and click on “Access Pemit.”

Fishing licenses can be purchased at most sporting goods stores and tackle shops and also in the town clerk’s office. Remember that the town offices are not open on weekends, so be sure to have purchased your license by Friday in order to have it in time for opening day!