Outdoor Journal: DEC needs help in stocking trout

Vermont Fish and Wild photoJeffery Sandford of South Burlington, Vt., displays the 36.5-inch, 19.36-pound lake trout he recently caught on Lake Champlain.

Vermont Fish and Wild photo
Jeffery Sandford of South Burlington, Vt., displays the 36.5-inch, 19.36-pound lake trout he recently caught on Lake Champlain.

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, Sports

I received an email from a reader named Bob of Ballston Spa, who wrote, “Ed, enjoy your column in the news. There was a time when we could catch wild rainbow trout in Lake George, not anymore. Browns in the [Kayaderosseras] and far between. The Battenkill, the Mettewee once in a while. Not many trout for the number of miles put on the vehicle.

“By comparison, I have trout fished our neighboring states and do O.K. (catch and release). The point is how about in your column promoting stocking more and taking a swipe at DEC for not doing enough Northeastern N.Y. trout stocking. What do you think? This would be appreciated (granted, they do a lot at the Salmon River hatchery.”

Bob, this isn’t the only time I have heard this. My suggestion, especially those of you trout individuals and trout fishing organizations, get together and help the DEC.

Thanks, Bob.

LAKE CHAMPLAIN LAKE TROUT RECORD

Vermont Fish and Wildlife finalized that it has produced a record 36.5-inch, 19.36-pound lake trout caught by Jeffery Sandford of South Burlington, Vermont, in 100 feet of water on Lake Champlain. He was fishing in his first boat and first time alone.

SMALL GAME HUNTING WITH AN AIRGUN

NYSDEC reports that small game hunters can now use an air gun afield. Modern air guns, like my Stoeger SL 1000 X-Hunt .177 caliber pellet, fire at 1,200 feet per second. I only needed three shots to get it dead on.

I have to admit this gun is the best, and with the 4×32 scope, most accurate I have owned. I shot my first squirrel with the Stoeger 43 full steps.

That evening, my friend prepared a squirrel stew with panko and greens. My friend is a fly fisherman, and he takes and sends them to Mepp’s trading the squirrel’s tails for their trout fishing flies. In addition to squirrels and rabbits, hares, ruffed grouse and furbearers that may be hunted (raccoons, and coyotes and unprotected species). Definitely a challenge.

It is important that you also know that what you can’t hunt/shoot is waterfowl, pheasant, wild turkey, or big game with an air gun. A bow or crossbow may also be used to hunt small game.

TURKEY SEASON, DAY ONE

As usual, I was a bit excited on the first day of the fall turkey hunting, but for me, it is a bit more difficult to shoot one.

In the spring, the toms are more active (mating season) to come to a hunter’s calls. But in the fall, you have to work a lot harder.

Again this year, I found three different flocks feeding in the fields that included toms. I also watched where they went to sleep in the trees. However, I could not get permission to hunt there.

So, on opening day, I set up where I shot my tom in the woods last spring. I was all set up a little before daybreak with my tom and hen decoys and settled up against a tree. I began with various calls about every 20 or 30 minutes, but there were no answers.

It was around 11:30 a.m. when I saw something moving down below me, and I could see it was a turkey. Slowly I shouldered my 12-gauge Benelli. It was a jake about 20 yards from me, but I decided not to shoot. I want to get a tom with a decent beard.

I know what some of you are thinking, “You can’t eat the beard.” I got to the end of this month to get that beard.

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