Last Thursday, renowned local flytyer Sam Scafidi and I took a run down to check on the water at the West Branch of the Delaware, East Branch of the Delaware, the Willowemoc and the Beaverkill. Waters were very low and running crystal clear. The temperature was near 70 at mid day. This was unheard of for this time of year. The lack of snow and subsequent runoff has dropped the water to summertime levels. Not good for the trout.
Sam ties thousands of flies, and our secondary mission that day was to make deliveries to Marino's Sport Shop in Deposit, Fur Fin and Feather in Livingston Manor, and Al's Sport Shop in Downsville. So from the diminutive and obscure #37 Dobson to a Muddler tied on a very large #2/0 hook, Sam plied his trade and I enjoyed perusing the guns, tackle, and gear these shops had to offer. Those of you who want any custom tied flies should contact Sam, right here in Norwich, at (607) 334-3197. Sam is also the President of the Chenango Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter. The chapter is holding a flyfishing class on April 14-15 at the Sherburne Middle School. I attended last year to brush up on some things, and can vouch for its superb content and educational value for novice and seasoned angler alike. Contact Tony Savitsky for more info at (607) 336-5945 on the course.
Sunday's April 1 traditional opening of trout season in New York was a little more like years past, with freezing temperatures and ice on my guides as I made my first cast into the pool where the old trestle used to pass over Lyon Brook in Oxford. While many other anglers sought out the stocked, bigger waters of the Otselic River and Genegansalet Creek, I opted to remain close to home and catch (and release) a few fingerling-size brook trout.
This was the first year in a long memory that fish were stocked in Chenango County prior to the opener. It has been usually the case that trout stocking happens a few days after, as the hatchery trucks are concentrated on stocking waters in Region 7 that have a bigger following. For me, as a writer and angler, I have mixed emotions about publicizing the stocking dates. I have been out with the truck many times as the previous volunteer stocking coordinator, and have seen quite a few fellows just following the truck so they can get in and catch their limit of hungry trout in no time flat. That’s never sat well with me. But on the other hand, to bucket the fish off the truck into the streams at desolate places takes a lot of manpower, and so there is a need to spread the word to get volunteers out to lend a hand. It sure is a double-edged sword.
Bill Au of the Chenango Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter has been the volunteer stocking coordinator since I stepped down. It seems like just yesterday that I was out there with waders and buckets when gas was "just" $2 a gallon. It’s doubled now...so kudos to Bill for continuing to step up to the plate to make sure that our county's allotment of brookies, browns and rainbows get stocked. Now, without further ado, here is the stocking list compiled by Bill. I hope you come out to lend a hand with the "bucket brigade"...and help until all fish are stocked, then go back and catch some if you like. For locations and meeting times to help out, call Bill at (607) 674-4863.
• The Otselic River was stocked for the first time this season on Thursday, March 29th. There were 7,180 “1-year old” browns designated for the Otselic in Chenango & Madison Counties, but the group only stocked a bit over 6,000 from where the river crosses Rte. 26 just above Pitcher to the bridge on State Highway 80. This was because these fish had their right ventral fins clipped for a DEC study.
• The first stocking of the Genegantslet was on Monday, April 2nd. The Genegantslet has 3,370 Brown Trout designated to be stocked from the McDonough Bridge to the Rt. 206 Bridge by Greene.
• Thursday, April 12 or the second stocking of the Otselic with 2,190 “2-year-old” brown trout. This is traditionally the "Easter Vacation" stocking where parents bring out their kids to help with the stocking and learn about this valuable resource.
• Friday, April 13 for Guilford Lake with 200 “2-year-old” Brown Trout and 1,800 “1-year-old” rainbow trout...