Outdoors: A prosperous start to trout season

The latest outdoors news from The Recorder's Jerrod Vila
Jerrod Vila holds up a big wild brown trout that measured just over 24 inches.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Jerrod Vila holds up a big wild brown trout that measured just over 24 inches.

Categories: Sports

As I sit here at my tying bench replenishing my stock of flies that have been either chewed up by trout or lost to the river, I can’t help but reflect on how prosperous of a trout season it has been for me already. 

Trout fishing is one of those things you just never stop learning; no matter how much you think you know every trip to the stream you learn something new, in turn making you a better angler. Every now and again you will come across an old-timer in the stream. Watch him. Just sit back and take a half-hour or so and observe his every move. Make it a point to strike up a conversation, more than likely he’ll be more than eager to tell you some secrets. Maybe not even secrets, but things you have overlooked prior that will hit you like a revelation. What you can learn in those few minutes from an old veteran will help you for lifetime.

While some may think the key to successfully catching trout is some magic bait, lure or fly, I find that is not the case whatsoever. 

Successful anglers all have one thing in common: They inherently know how to read water. Reading water is the single biggest factor in consistently catching fish, or any fish in a moving water scenario for that matter, but more so in when it comes to trout fishing.

Upon approaching a stream I begin to pick it apart. Approach slowly, even stopping a good way back to just take it all in. Lazily strolling up to the edge of the water could ruin the fishing right at your feet. How many trout have you caught right on the bank on the opposite side of the stream? Many, and that’s exactly my point. There is no reason there could not be fish holding extremely close to the side you are on as well. Stop and analyze all the currents and how they flow and where they meet each other. Trout love current seams and will always position themselves just off the flow on the inside of the seam.

Learn to recognize these areas. Every lone diversion of current within a given stream bed will have two fishable seams, given the fact that there is water flowing around both sides of the diversion; whether it be a boulder, a log, whatever it may be. Trout will be staged accordingly downstream of it. As water flows around the diversion it will create a “V,” depending on the size of the diversion and flow rate of the current the length of the fishable seam will obviously vary. On larger Vs there will be two very distinct edges; fish the one closest to you first and pluck off any fish staged on that side before working the outer edge seam. One side or the other will usually look better, but what constitutes “better” is fairly hard to describe and comes with experience. However, don’t just rush right in and cast to the best looking seam, you could be — and more than likely are — foregoing other opportunities to catch fish.

There also doesn’t need to be some type of obstruction, per se, to result in a current seam; two intersecting currents meetings at different angles can certainly create a seam as well. In such a case, focus on making your presentation within the softer of the two.

Analyze every section of the river. This time of year rule out low percentage areas and focus on high percentage areas, like long deep runs and the tail end of bigger pools. Water temperatures are currently fluctuating between the low to upper 40s and trout aren’t all that apt to chase down a meal. Of course they will eat but they prefer a presentation where a minimal amount of energy is expelled to catch it. This is why knowing where a fish will be during a given seasonal period is so vitally important to being a successful angler.

When dissecting any current flow in a given river or stream, one would find that the fastest current of a given flow is at the very surface, and as you go down in depth it decreases dramatically, almost to a point where the water a few inches off the bottom is barely moving — or even in some cases moving in the opposite direction. If this kind of this interests you, fly angler or not, check out the “Modern Nymphing” series of videos by Lance Egan and Devin Olson; these guys go truly in depth in this video series to address the factor of why trout are where they are.

There are many areas of a stream that hold trout. However, during the last couple of weeks of fishing I have found trout mainly in one style of all these places: long, deep runs. Not pools, not pockets, not back eddies, almost all of them have came from quite long deeper runs; holding just off the main current seam. Very small generic nymph patterns have been the ticket for me. Frenchies and Pheasant Tail-style flies in sizes 14 through 18 have been producers, also a few have come on a squirmy wormy. An icicle or crawler thrown on spinning tackle would certainly get the job done as well. The water is still cold and the trout just do not want to exert a large amount of energy in chasing down a meal. All they want to do his barely move up of bottom and let your offering flow right into their mouth. Getting your presentation down to their level is critical at this point in the season. Focus on the seams of long, deep runs and just be patient. Takes on fly gear are very very subtle so it is vitally important to set the hook on any suspected take. If your line merely hesitates an eighth of a second, set the hook. Its extremely difficult to detect a trout mouthing a fly. Worms and salted minnows on conventional gear will be a bit more apparent because they will actively hold on to the bait. Best if luck out there, trout fishing adventures are a great way to socially distance yourself and get in some quality time outdoors.

HUNTER EDUCATION COURSE GOES 100% ONLINE

First-time hunters who want to hunt during New York’s turkey hunting seasons must first earn a hunter education certificate prior to purchasing their first hunting license. This applies to both the regular season, May 1-31, and the youth (ages 12-15) turkey hunting weekend April 25-26. 

Unfortunately, all traditional hunter education courses have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many new hunters unable to get a certificate before spring turkey season.

There is now a new option for earning a hunter education certificate. For a limited time, first-time hunters in New York can complete the required hunter education course entirely online.

The online course is available to anyone ages 11 and older and can be fully completed from a computer, tablet or smart phone at any time. Students who complete the online course and virtual field day, and pass the final exam, will receive their hunter education certificate and can purchase a hunting license. Only those hunters ages 12 or older may purchase a license and head afield this spring. 

The cost of the course is $19.95 and became available as online-only course Wednesday and will run through June 30. The direct link to access the course is https://www.hunter-ed.com/newyork/.

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