Today being the first day of the month-long spring turkey hunting season, much of the outdoor media attention is being drawn to that, but least we forget, this Saturday ushers in the opening of fishing season for several highly popular fish species. While I enjoy spring gobbler hunting as much as anyone, I also make sure I salvage as much free time as possible in May to enjoy what arguably is the best fishing of the entire year.
With the exceptions of black bass and purebred musky – both of which's seasons open in June – the open seasons on everything else that swims in fresh waters is open now. What makes May such an excellent month for fishing for these species is the conditions for successfully catching them is as good as it will be just about all year. Several species recently finished their annual spawning cycles, and they will be actively feeding now to regain the weight they lost while spawning. Pike, walleye, pickerel and yellow perch are all spring spawners and also favorites of anglers. And fishing for them will be about as good as it gets for the next month or so.
Although I often say that I “never met a fish I didn't like to catch,” I have to admit that walleye are my favorite in May, with trout coming in a close second. With abundant numbers of 'eyes finning in all our local rivers, availability is never a problem. The Chenango, Unadilla, Susquehanna, Butternut Creek, and Lower Otselic River all harbor good numbers of walleye. I'd hazard a guess that for sheer numbers, the Chenango gets the nod for the highest densities, with the Unadilla coming in a close second. The closest still waters that hold walleyes are Canadarago, Whitney Point, and Oneida lakes.