Hook, Line and Sinker: May 20, 2009

The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development hosted the first Public Forum on Brook Trout in the Catskill Mountain Region on Sunday, May 17. Trout fishers and interested members of the public filled the meeting room at the Erpf house and enjoyed the presentation given by the panel comprised of Trout Unlimited Fisheries Scientist Nat Gillespie; DEC Fisheries Manager Mike Flaherty and Ed Van Put, DEC Principal Habitat Technician and author of Trout Fishing in the Catskills.
Some of the highlights that came out of the forum were that there are organizations getting involved and doing studies on brook trout, and at least here in the Catskills the brook trout are healthy and doing well. One of the major limiting factors of brookies in the Catskills is the presence of other species, mainly brown trout, that now inhabit our larger rivers and streams, keeping the brook trout up in the headwaters and tributary streams. One of the attendees was Dave Budin of Del Sports, Inc. of Margaretville who said he learned a lot of interesting things – such as how brook trout ‘travel around a lot;’ and also how inadequate road culverts cause serious problems in a trout stream – by ending above the stream bed, making trout migration impossible; or being too small so as to cause clogs and serious damage in high water. It was suggested by the panel that anyone concerned about brook trout talk to local planning boards and highway departments to encourage them to monitor their culverts that might prove problematic. In addition, Dave found it interesting that a key management tool for improving water for brookies was ‘woody debris.’ Logs and fallen trees are considered ‘woody debris’ and have proven to be beneficial to streams (except where they would interfere with a culvert or bridge) because they serve to reduce the velocity and slow down the flow of the stream, halt erosion by keeping the gravel and sediment from moving, and most importantly create trout habitat. Dave remembers fishing above town where big snags (fallen trees) filled the river, and found those areas to be “the best fishing.”
Fishing in the East Branch Delaware and its tributaries had slowed down a bit over the weekend, probably due to the rainy, windy and cold weather. The river came up quite a bit, and fly hatches had also gotten spotty as a result. There were good sightings of Hendricksons until the weekend when that hatch dropped off. “It was a little bit better up toward Hanah and Roxbury, the water temperature was up a few degrees warmer through Halcottsville and fishing was a little better there,” Dave reported, “typically a run of water like we’ve had causes some of the fish in the reservoir to cruise upstream,” and he is anticipating good fishing these next few days. Favorite flies that are selling in the shop are “all the grays, Dark Hendricksons and Light Hendricksons and Comparaduns, just the general line. Also caddis flies, the darker ones.” Most flies being sold are sizes 12 or 14.
Al Carpenter reports that fishing in Pepacton Reservoir has been so-so over the weekend; however, the action was very good near the dam during the evenings. One party of fishermen caught at least 10 trout between the hours of 6 and 7:30 p.m., and ran out of bait. None were large; a few were in the four to five-pound range.
Jack Baldwin, of New Jersey, was fishing with sawbellies and netted a nice seven-pound, 11-ounce brown.
One angler reported a six-and-one-half-pound brown caught while fishing from shore with a small Krocodile.
Sonny Somelofski of the Tremperskill Country Store saw so many out fishing that “It was like Times Square on Friday night.” Of that number, Mark Timok of Glen Allen, Virginia had a six-pound, 12 1/4-ounce brown that measured 26 inches; Jerry Sauer Jr. of Kingston bagged a seven-pounder and Tim Richie of Arkville netted a nice six-pounder that measured 25 inches.
Still leading in Sonny’s May Trout Derby is Mike Platt of Delhi with his 10-pound, 10-ounce brown. The contest continues through May 31.
An interesting catch was made by an angler from the Stamford area. He was trolling in Pepacton Reservoir and landed what he thought was a three-and-one-half-pound brook trout. He brought it in, and Sonny recognized it as not a ‘faded’ looking brook trout, but a Tiger trout. Tigers are a hybrid cross between brook trout and brown trout and resemble a brookie without the bright coloration. As they are hybrids, they are not able to reproduce. We’ve seen Tigers caught in the Beaverkill. The first Tiger we saw there was caught by our son, Lee and it is interesting to know that these unusual fish are present in the reservoir.