Unlike last year, when opening day trout anglers were greeted with relatively tranquil conditions, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation informs this winter's heavy snows and resultant high, cold stream conditions will not be friendly to early season trout anglers.
"After a long, cold and snowy winter, we know that anglers are anxious to hit the water," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "Unfortunately, a good portion of the state remains covered with snow, which may restrict access to streams and cause very high stream flows, making early-season angling difficult."
Trout, lake trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon seasons all begin on April 1. Best fishing on opening day can be found on Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley, where, even in the toughest of springs, fishable water can be found.
The DEC plans to stock more than 2.3 million catchable-size brook, brown and rainbow trout in more than 300 lakes and ponds and roughly 3,000 miles of streams across the state. Spring stockings include 1.77 million brown trout, 390,000 rainbow trout and 147,000 brook trout. Approximately 97,000 2-year-old brown trout 12-13 inches in length will also be stocked across into lakes and streams across the state. Stocking of catchable-size trout generally commences in late March and early April in the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island, and Western New York and then proceeds to the Catskills and Adirondacks as stream conditions permit.
More than 2.25 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake and coho salmon will be also be stocked by the DEC this spring to provide angling opportunities over the next several years. For those who prefer a quieter, more remote setting, 350,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in 342 lakes and ponds this spring and fall, providing unique angling opportunities for future years. For a complete list of waters planned to be stocked with trout this spring, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html. A listing of waters stocked with all sizes of trout last year can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30467.html.
Early-season trout fishing recommendations by DEC staff in each region, including suggestions on where to find good opportunities to fish for wild trout can be found in the 2011 coldwater fishing forecast at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7749.html. Anglers searching for publicly accessible streams can find maps of DEC public fishing rights holdings on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html. The Bureau of Fisheries webpages are some of the most popular on the DEC website and contain a wealth of information that anglers will find helpful. Anglers are also encouraged to contact the DEC Regional Office in the region they plan on fishing for additional information.
Anglers 16 years of age and older 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 the 1,500 license-issuing agents located throughout the state (town and county clerks, some major discount stores and many tackle and sporting goods stores). An interactive map providing the locations of these agents is now available online. By law, every dollar spent on a fishing license helps fund the DEC fish stocking program and other programs conducted by the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources. Purchase a Habitat/Access Stamp to help fund important access and habitat projects. For more information on the Habitat/Access Stamp Program, go to www.dec.state.ny.gov/public/329.html.