Outdoors: Schoharie Creek is great for catching fish

The latest on the outdoors from The Recorder's Jerrod Vila
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Categories: Sports

Most places in New York, with the exception of tailwater systems like the Delaware and Esopus, are now much too warm to consciously fish for trout.

What is one to do to satisfy that fishing desire, but yet is not very keen on lake or large river fishing? Fortunately for us, we have an absolute gem of a warm water fishery, which is quite reminiscent of a trout stream in some parts, right in our very backyard.

The infamous Schoharie Creek is a cornerstone waterbody of the locale. Harboring many species of fish, as you all know it is predominantly known as a smallmouth fishery. Love them or hate them, there is no denying they are an absolute blast to catch.

Pulling harder than most freshwater species of comparable size smallies represent a bulldozer of a fish. Targeting them with light tackle or fly gear makes the overall experience even better. Almost any likely looking area on the creek will hold smallies, and probably many more.

Poppers and other topwater baits offer up some explosive action. Large unweighted streamers can elicit some incredibly vicious takes. Let’s not forget about bait, as well. Hellgramites, better known as dobbies will slay fish after fish in the Schoharie.

Albeit bait fishing may not be as fun or entertaining as topwater action, it is probably a bit more productive. Walleye, northern pike, fallfish and carp, the list of fish species present goes on and on. During the heart of summer, when low water conditions are present, the Schoharie is a great spot to wet a line.

YET ANOTHER INVASIVE SPECIES

From giant hogweed to knotweed, upon floating 10-plus miles of the Upper Delaware system a couple weekends ago, a friend and I couldn’t help but notice this vividly green, hollow stemmed, shrub lining the shore in almost every conceivable place.

Overhanging the water, it actually did provide shade and cover for predatory trout hunkering down below. After a couple misshapen casts and retrieving our streamers from the bush, we got to talking. “What actually is this stuff?” We really had no idea, but it was everywhere. 

Those thoughts and questions slipped by the wayside as we were more so focused upon the task at hand, which was getting trout in the net. Fast forward to just the other day when I came across an article dealing with invasive vegetation and topping the list, right in front of my very eyes, there it is! Japanese knotweed! Native to Japan, Taiwan and China and initially introduced as an ornamental plant, it has now set its roots in 42 states and eight out of 10 Canadian provinces, where it is running rampant and uncontrolled. It prefers edges of forests and waterways and can tolerate a huge pH range and also unfertile soil.

In a nutshell, it’s a presumptuous nightmare, as it will readily grow and spread in most any condition. It creates a dense canopy of vegetation choking out native species, allowing it to dominate very large tracts of land and can also increase erosion on riparian banks. 

Action is indeed being taken to curb the spread. After extensive testing and review by federal agencies, on March 20, the knotweed psyllid (aphalara itadori) was approved for release in the U.S. as the country’s first bio-control agent for Japanese knotweed. This sap-sucking insect native to Japan was later released on June 10 (during New York Invasive Species Awareness Week) by Dr. Bernd Blossey and colleagues at Cornell University. A week after releasing the 2,000 psyllid adults at two locations in Tioga and Broome counties, the researchers found the insects had successfully laid thousands of eggs.


The releases in New York State are part of a nationwide effort with similar releases made in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, West Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington state.

The psyllid was previously released to manage knotweed in the United Kingdom and Canada, but in both countries failed to establish and build large enough populations to affect knotweed. The Blossey lab remains cautiously hopeful for success of itadori releases, however they will explore for additional safe but more effective bio-control organisms in Japan and China. This work in New York state is led by Dr. Blossey in collaboration with the New York Invasive Species Research Institute and funding from the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The good thing about most psyllid species is that they are very host specific meaning that introducing them into the environment will not cause any other ecological impact upon native plant species.

BOWHUNTER SAFETY COURSE

Do not forget that as of Wednesday, the fully online version of the Bowhunter Safety Course went live. 

Through August 31, residents can complete all the requirements to earn a New York bowhunter education certificate online. Anyone age 11 or older can take the online course. You must be a New York State resident. If you successfully complete the course, and pass the final exam, you will receive your New York bowhunter education certificate. The cost of the course is $30 dollars and can be found on the bowhunter education website at https://www.bowhunter-ed.com/newyork/.

Please be aware that completing and passing the regular hunter education course (also available fully on line) is a prerequisite to taking the bowhunter education course. You may take and complete the bowhunting course but without the regular version you will not be allowed to purchase the New York State bowhunting privilege.

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