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. Thatís 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.