As often happens in Chenango County, the Spring Equinox doesn’t equate to the physical arrival of Spring-like weather, and while this may aggravate everyone, it’s especially bothersome to those anglers looking eagerly to the opening of the trout fishing season on April 1.
Of course fishing is only half the equation; catching a trout is the other half. With trout streams often flowing high and cold from snowmelt, that “catching” part is often a pipedream for many. But you can bet they’ll still be out there, bundled up against the cold, even wading through as much bankside snow as water – hoping to catch a fish that seldom exceeds a foot in length.
Why do they do it? Call it an escape of sorts to trade snow-blowing and shoveling for an activity that is oftentouted as a Spring one. It’s somewhat their way of telling Winter “in-your-face-cold-and-snow, I’ve had enough of you.” Even if they get skunked, they persevere. And even in defeat, that little rebellion feels pretty good, despite cold hands and feet and a runny nose. Pneumonia seems such a small price to pay for telling Winter to “stick it!”
For the most part, the opening day anglers that actually catch trout will be the ones who’ve learned to adapt their fishing?not to that of Spring?but to Winter, which is realistically the conditions the trout are living in on opening day. They’ll likely target the smaller streams and headwater tributaries where the water-flow rates are less and water temperatures are a bit higher. Since most of these small flows are inhabited by brook trout, any they dupe to the hook are apt to be brookies and not brown trout, which will still be on the lethargic side until waters warm up later in April or early May.