Outdoor Chenango: Thinking Ahead
Published: February 15th, 2023
By: Eric Davis

Outdoor Chenango: Thinking ahead Outdoor Columnist Eric Davis

By the time you are reading this article, I will be on my way to the NWTF National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tennessee for the rest of the week.

This is the big kickoff to the organization’s 50th anniversary. Every company that has anything to do with turkey hunting will be set up at the sport show.

New gear will be on display for visitors to check out, ask questions, and decide if they need to have it for this spring. I have no doubt that it will start the itch of getting ready for the spring turkey season for me and everyone else who attends.

If you are starting to think about what is next when winter goes away for the year, you can start by hitting up a more local outdoors show. The big show in Pennsylvania ended but there is a show in March at the Turning Stone Casino called the Big East Camping and Outdoor Sports Show.

If you have been thinking of going on a hunt or fishing trip with an outfitter, there usually are outfitters at these kinds of shows. Just like with companies showing off new products, this is your time to ask the outfitter questions and get a feel for the operation and the people running it.

They are there trying to book trips so they should be willing to spend some time with potential clients. A few key questions to ask include; what is your primary species, how long have you been doing this, are you fully licensed, and what is your client success rate? If you are going on a hunt in rugged terrain, ask the outfitter what kind of physical shape they expect you in. If they plan on hiking 8-10 miles in the mountains every day and you can’t make it a mile on flat ground, you’re going to need to get in shape.

Story Continues Below Adverts

A lot of people can’t wait for trout season to start in April. A lot of local streams are stocked by the Department of Environmental Conservation. You can get the list of bodies of water that are stocked and with what size and species of fish on their website. If you are looking for a different trout fishing experience in April, consider going to the Finger Lakes and fishing tributaries for spawning trout.

Seneca and Keuka Lakes both have renowned spawn-run rainbow trout fisheries. The trout swim upstream to find places to spawn and fisherman waiting upstream can try their luck and landing some pretty large trout. I grew up fishing the Catherine Creek run in Montour Falls and Millport. Opening day of the season is usually a zoo but if you go in the middle of week after opening day, you often have spots to yourself. Make sure you read the Regulations for fishing these waters as they have very specific rules. You’re going to want a long light-action rod with some 8-10 lb. test line.

The local favorite is egg sacs fished a few inches below a couple split shot. You can get the egg sacs in different colors, so be willing to change them until you find what the fish like. Also, be prepared to catch more suckers than you can even think is possible to catch. With some patience, you can get through the suckers and hook into a nice rainbow trout.