March 13, 2010

Early spring fishing and hunting report

April 1 marks the opening of trout season statewide, but in the Adirondacks, in the best of years, it is usually two to three weeks later before the rivers are fishable and the interior ponds are free of ice.

The Champlain and St. Lawrence valleys should be the places to go, early on.

When the stocking does start, fish available will be similar in numbers to last year, according to Rich Preall, Department of Environmental Conservation fisheries biologist in Ray Brook. He says, "Salmon and brook trout to be released are 100-percent of last year, splake 93-percent, and yearling browns, 83-percent; the latter has been the case in recent years as the focus shifts to 2-year old, larger brown trout that are at 100-percent stocking level, or the same as last year and there are 1,000 surplus fish to be distributed statewide."

The only species that is down markedly is the Raquette Lake strain of lake trout (30 percent), but the decrease is not one of budget constraints; rather, it was a poor egg collecting fall 2009.

With New York about bankrupt, it is a relief that all the state hatcheries are working at capacity and the improvements to the big Rome hatchery are still going on, the result of past funding. Rome raises rainbow, brown and brook trout, the core of Adirondack fish stockings. With DEC travel very restricted and personnel down to two fisheries biologists in Ray Brook and two in Warrensburg, it is unlikely any initiatives, like further work on brook trout research and restoration, will take place.

Special snow goose hunting season opens

The special spring snow-goose hunting season opened last Thursday, March 11, and runs through April 15.

Because of the mild winter and apparently early spring, waterfowl hunters this year may actually be able to hunt these mostly white geese, also referred to as "light" geese.

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