Opening day for trout and salmon fishing is April 1 with high, cold water and icy banks and streambeds anticipated, which could make for a dangerous early season angling, particularly in northern areas of the state, the Department of Environmental Conservation advises.
Early season trout are typically lethargic and anglers will have best success using bait and lures such as spinners that can be fished slow and deep. Fishing will improve markedly once water temperatures warm later in the spring. This also encourages aquatic insect activity, which will improve opportunities for those preferring to use fly fishing gear. Some of the best fishing of the year in lakes and ponds often occurs immediately following ice out, which can be as late as May in some northern Adirondack ponds.
DEC plans to stock more than 2.1 million catchable-size brook, brown and rainbow trout in 307 lakes and ponds and roughly 3,000 miles of streams across the state. Spring stockings will include 1.51 million brown trout, 432,000 rainbow trout and 158,000 brook trout. Approximately 97,000 two-year-old brown trout 12-13 inches in length will also be stocked into lakes and streams across the state.
Due to a disease outbreak last year at the Rome Hatchery approximately 131,000 brook and brown trout were lost that would have been part of the fall 2012 and spring 2013 stocking program. However, the loss of these fish is not anticipated to significantly impact the quality of fishing for these species this upcoming season. Approximately 25,000 additional rainbow trout will be available for stocking the upcoming season.
Roughly 2.05 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake and coho salmon will be also be stocked by DEC this spring to provide exciting angling opportunities over the next several years. For those who prefer a quieter, more remote setting, more than 330,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in 342 lakes and ponds this spring and fall, providing unique angling opportunities for future years. For a complete list of waters planned to be stocked with trout this spring, visit the DEC website. A listing of waters stocked with all sizes of trout for 2012 is on the DEC website.
DEC’s stocking program traditionally commences in late March and early April with the stocking of catchable-size trout in the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island and western New York. It then proceeds, as weather and stream conditions permit, to the Catskills and Adirondacks.
Early season trout fishing recommendations by DEC staff in each region can be found in the 2013 Coldwater Fishing Forecast. Anglers searching for places to fish will be interested in the I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State.
This map/brochure provides information on over 320 lakes and pond and 110 rivers. Anglers desiring to order a map may do so by emailing their name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org (include NY FISHING MAP in the subject line). An interactive version of the guide can also be found on the DEC website.
DEC’s website also provides specific locations on streams where DEC has purchased fishing easements. Information on Public Fishing Rights Maps can be found on the DEC website. Anglers are encouraged to contact a DEC Regional Office for questions on fishing opportunities within a specific region.
Anglers are reminded to be sure to disinfect their fishing equipment before entering a new body of water.
All gear should be dried and/or disinfected before it is used in a new body of water. Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found on the DEC website.