Even though trout season opens on April 1, May actually offers better fishing opportunities for local anglers as stream conditions are more favorable then, and the majority of DEC trout stockings for area streams occur that month. Still, fishing opportunities do exist this month, and todays column looks at some tips that will hopefully up the odds for successful April outings.
Stocked waters make ideal destinations for early-season anglers, and 18 flows in St. Lawrence, Lewis, Jefferson, and Franklin counties are expected to receive trout prior to May. In St. Lawrence County, the Oswegatchie River downstream of the Cranberry Lake outlet in the Town of Clifton is expected to be stocked with 2,000 brook trout for the April 1 opener. Other St. Lawrence County streams slated for April stockings are Hopkinton Brook in the Town of Hopkinton (620 brown trout), Trout Brook in the Town of Stockholm (1,240 brown trout), and Van Rensselaer Creek in the Town of Pierrepont (220 brown trout).
Numerous stockings are planned for Lewis County waters during May, but the only flows scheduled to receive April stockings are Crystal Creek in the Town of New Bremen (400 brown trout), Fish Creek East Branch in the Town of Lewis (650 brown trout), and Point Rock Creek in the Town of Lewis (1,090 brown trout).
DEC expects to stock seven flows in Jefferson County during April. The four waters where brook trout will be stocked are Black Creek West Branch in the Town of Wilna (500), Felts Mills Creek in the towns of Champion and Rutland (1,200), Jacobs Creek in the towns of Watertown and Rutland (850), and Townsend Creek in the Town of Champion (900). Brown trout will be stocked in Black Creek in the towns of Philadelphia and Wilna (2,910), Sandy Creek in the Town of Adams (1,450), and Skinner Creek in the Town of Ellisburg (290).
Six Franklin County waters slated for early-season stockings are Chateaugay River in the towns of Chateaugay and Bellmont (6,700 brook trout and 1,090 brown trout), Little Salmon River in the towns of Moira and Bangor (2,110 brown trout), Little Trout River in the towns of Burke and Constable (2,040 brown trout), Salmon River in the Town of Malone (3,800 rainbow trout and 7,780 brown trout), Saranac River in the Town of Harrietstown (400 rainbow trout), and Sumner Brook in the Town of Bloomingdale (300 brook trout).
Spring is a time of change for trout flows, and because tackle shops are in daily contact with anglers, these businesses are excellent sources of up-to-date, fishing information. In addition to providing the most current information on stockings, hatches, effective techniques, water temperatures, flow levels, water clarity, access, and more, tackle shop carry needed supplies.
When deciding where to fish at this time of the year, anglers should look for streams in lower elevations as these waters will warm before those at higher elevations. Too, anglers may want to fish smaller flows as they typically have less current, less turbidity, and higher water temperatures than larger flows. Another good bet is to fish tributaries because they typically offer improved conditions.
When fishing larger waters in April, the best chances of catching trout are in the upper stretches or the deep-water stretches of the flow. Prime locations include calm pools, outside bends, pools below waterfalls, and the slack water behind bridge abutments.
The basic motto of anglers for early-season presentations is slow and low, and the technique of adding split shot is the standard method of slowing an offering and getting in down to bottom-holding trout. Too, an offering that appeals to multiple senses has the best odds for success. In essence, live baits (where permitted) such as crawlers and minnows work well because of their realistic appearance, taste, scent, and texture, and live baits lend themselves to a slow and low presentation.
The best fishing times of early spring occur when water temperatures are at their warmest so trout are likely to be most active during the midday hours, on sunny days, on consecutive warm days, and after a warm, rain shower.
Monday: Trout season opens on NYS waters.
Saturday: Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce hosts Sportmens Show at Golden Dome (393-3620).
Saturday-Sunday: Hunter Education Course at Osceola R&G Club (Pre-register at 963-1158).
April 7-8: Hunter Education Course at Massena R&G Club (In-person registration with Massena Town Clerk).
April 12-13: Hunter Education Course at Duffanys Body Shop, Watertown (Pre-register at 788-2161).
April 12-14: Hunter Education Course at Fishers Landing Fire Hall (Pre-register at Clayton Library).
April 12-14: Clayton Boat Show atClayton Arena (686-3771).
April 13: Hunter Education Course at Beaver River F&G Club (Pre-register at Buckingham Hardware, Croghan).
April 13-14: Massena R&G Club hosts annual Sportsmens Expo.
April 13-14: The Parishville Sportsmens Club will host a Gun Show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. There will be a concession both days. Admission is $3 per person.
April 20: Hunter Education Course at Moose River F&G Club (Pre-register at 351-6673).
April 25-27: Hunter Education Course at Dexter/Brownville (Pre-register at 785-2533).
April 27: Hunter Education Course at Dexter (Pre-register at 649-5977).
May 4: St. Lawrence River Walleye Association hosts Opening Day Derby (384-3450).
May 4: St. Lawrence Valley Sportsmens Club hosts annual Opening Day Walleye Derby.
May 25: Cape Vincent C of C hosts Annual Spring Fishing Derby (654-2481).