Prepping for the April 1 trout opener

Other than along the higher profiled and recently stocked streams, such as the Otselic River, the opening day of trout season (April 1) doesn’t have the impact it once did. Blame it on the early spring weather – which is usually quite cool – or the stream conditions or the fact stream trout anglers in general are aging, so you probably won’t see all that many anglers on our area streams that day.

It’s not as though the trout aren’t there for the taking – especially the brook trout – but perhaps because the maturing legions of experienced stream anglers know that the fishing conditions will be far better a week or two later. I can’t argue with that approach. Why put up with what can be uncomfortable weather to fish for trout that will be more willing to strike/bite later on, when the weather’s more comfortable?

While moving the trout opener to an earlier date (for years it opened on the second Saturday in April) resulted in giving winter-weary anglers a head start on their open-water fishing, the DEC created a problem with its trout stocking programs. Stream and weather temperatures in late March are seldom favorable to stocking activities or acceptable stocked trout survival rates. As such, the DEC now waits until weather and stream conditions are more favorable before stocking trout in most waters, including many of our area streams and especially ponds and lakes. Hatchery-reared trout are far too valuable to waste by dumping them into streams that are too high and too cold for good survival rates, so this angler totally agrees with that policy.

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