I have a feeling that on Monday there are going to be a number of fishermen who will begin to feel a bit ill while at work. Upset stomachs, sore throats and just aches and pains all over their body will surface and they will be forced to go home.
It’s that time of the year again when the combination of cabin fever,coupled with the opening of the trout season on a weekday brings on what is known as the fishing flu. This year, April 1 is Tuesday. And unfortunately, the only thing that will cure this angling sickness is to wet a line in your favorite stream.
The local bait and tackle shops said they could see changes in anglers’ attitudes around the middle of this month, as hard water tackle purchases changed to spools of four- and six-pound test, light-action five- and six-foot spinning rods with tiny reels, 1⁄16-ounce Mepps, Panther Martin, CP Swings and Blue Fox in-line spinners, shoulder creels, small landing nets and various fly fishing lures and equipment. It’s definitely time to think trout.
As we get ready for this day, let’s look at what we will probably be facing in terms of conditions.
Streams will likely be high, swift and muddy with all the rain and run-off, and depending upon air temperature, the banks could be very slippery, so be careful. And although everybody hates them, it doesn’t hurt to wear a personal flotation device around or wading in the very cold water.
In the Capital District, we have some very good trout waters within minutes that the Department of Environmental Conservation has already begun stocking. Last year, it stocked 2.39 million trout, including 436,000 rainbows, 154,000 brook trout and 1.8 million browns across the state. About 150,000 2-year old brown trout, some as large as 15 inches, were included.
There are several nearby places that should be considered as possible remedies for cabin fever. Kayadrosseras Creek, which flows through much of Saratoga County, has its headwaters in the town of Corinth and winds through Greenfield, Milton, Malta, Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs before finally emptying into Saratoga Lake. This popular creek usually receives 13,000-plus brown trout annually, 60 percent of which are stocked in March.
One of the biggest attractions of this creek is the amount of public fishing rights easements along both its banks, and the number of parking areas available. These easements were purchased by DEC from landowners, giving anglers the right to fish and walk along the bank. This is usually a 33-foot strip on one or both banks. This right is for the purpose of fishing only and each PFR is well-marked with DEC signs.
Two of the primary stretches of water are located in the village of Corinth, along Alpine Road, and the borders of Depot Road in South Corinth down to the town of North Greenfield, and along the Spier Falls Road parking lot by Holmes Road. Access from the parking lot is easy, and you can start fishing it right there.
The Porter Corners area also offers parking with plenty of access to PFR easement along the creek. Good pocket waters can be found throughout this stretch.
There’s a state multiple-use area that can be reached by following Daketown Road and turning on to Sand Hill Road. Watch for the PFR easement signs and parking.
South of the power plant where Rock City Road crosses the Kayaderosseras, the stream also holds good schools of brown trout early in the season. Both sides of the bridge are worth a few casts to the deep pockets, sub-surface rocks and undercut banks.
One of the prettiest stretches of this creek flows near the hamlet of Factory Village. Using the public parking access area as a starting point, you can go either north or south.
Probably the most popular opening day area on the Kayaderosseras Creek is along Route 29 in Rock City Falls. For maps of the Kayaderosseras, go to www.-dec.ny.gov/, and enter “Kayadrosseras creek pfr” in the search box.
No trout fishing story would be complete without mentioning the famous Batten Kill.
Flowing through the Washington County towns of Greenwich and Salem, this beautiful stream offers early season trout enthusiasts a variety of opportunities. Last year, DEC stocked 21,000 brown trout, of which about 2,600 were 12-15 inches long.
For the catch-and-release angler, the 41⁄2-mile stretch from the Vermont border to the covered bridge at Eagleville is very good and offers some wild brook trout catching opportunities with plenty of PFR easements along both sides of the creek. There are also three well-marked parking areas: one at the bridge, one on the east side of the creek along Route 313 and another on the west side. Remember, catch-and-release and artificial lures only.
The next section goes from the Eagleville bridge to Shushan, which also offers PFR easements on both sides of the creek. The north side is unbroken, whereas the south side has interrupted areas of private property creek-side land which does not have anglers’ easements. Access to this section can also be gained at the bridge crossing on Route 64 and there is a marked footpath on the west side on Sutherland Road, just south of Shushan. Be sure to honor those areas not having an easement — don’t trespass.
The Shushan to Rexleigh section has a designated parking lot for anglers near the covered bridge in Rexleigh as well as several pull off areas along the creek. There is also a marked footpath off of Newman Road. Throughout this stretch, anglers will find plenty of PFR easements on both sides of the creek.
The final section, Rexleigh to Fitch Point has a designated angler parking area where Route 22 crosses the Batten Kill and a number of easy pull-off areas as well.
For maps of the New York sections of the Batten Kill Creek, go to www.dec.ny.gov/ and enter “batten kill pfr” in the search box.
Generally speaking, the methods and techniques used on opening day of the trout season are dictated by the conditions. And that generally means fast and muddy water, so lure/bait color and depth control are extremely important.
Using brightly colored spinners will work, but I still believe the best bet is live bait — worms and minnows.
Attach a six-foot, four-pound-test fluorocarbon leader with a No. 8 barbed bait hook to your main line with a two-way swivel. Just above the swivel, add a 1⁄16-ounce split shot and add more as needed. The bait should rest on the bottom, but allow the rig to work with the current. As a reminder, weights one-half ounce or less made of lead aren’t allowed.
To make your worm more visible, get a jar of Dip-It in chartreuse color and dip your worm in it before the first cast.
When using a minnow, I like to use the threaded method. Using a large needle, thread the fluorocarbon leader through the minnow in the mouth and out just below the tail. Then tie on a No. 14 treble hook. Sinker placement is the same as above. Dip the tail of the minnow in the Dip-It.
Sometimes if the water is really moving, I like to use a method used by bass and walleye anglers — a Carolina rig. Begin by sliding a quarter-ounce slip sinker (more if needed) on the line above the two way swivel. Then attach an 18- to 24-inch fluorocarbon leader and your barbed or treble hook. The sinker should remain still on the bottom.
Cast out and let the sinker go all the way to the bottom. Then begin to slowly let a few feet of line out from the reel. This will allow the bait to move with the current. Then, with your rod tip pointed down towards the water, gently pull the sinker off the bottom and slowly back towards you; but only a few feet. Then, let out line again allowing the bait to slowly go with the current. Repeat this process all the way back to you. Do not be in a hurry, work it slowly.
This method can work very well when fishing underwater structure like sunken trees, bushes and under low hanging branches where trout lie awaiting food.
If you’ve had a good day of fishing and would like to share the experience with other anglers here in The Daily Gazette, send me an email at [email protected] with all the details. Tell me where you live, where you were fishing, what you caught, what you were using and anything else you think would be interesting.