Fly fishing rod

What to expect from storage

It’s already mid-March; the days are getting longer and our local trout streams are mostly fishable. I bet people are going to be reporting cases of trout fever all over the state in the next week or two.

The Department of Environmental Conservation will soon be stocking Dutchess County streams with 33,000 brown and rainbow trout. Most will only receive one shipment, however, Wappinger Creek – due to the angling pressure it is under – will be stocked four times by the first week of May.

All streams will be stocked before the season opens on April 1.

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Because the new Trout Stream Management Plan has changed the allocation system, county streams receive approximately 60% of the allocation they received under the old management plan. While total trout numbers have been reduced, 10% of trout will be 2-year-old fish, which are typically 12-15 inches long. Typically, hatchery-raised trout that are one year old are 7 to 9 inches long. Larger fish are stocked in response to surveys in which anglers have expressed a desire to catch larger trout.

The daily trap and size limits for Crum Elbow Creek, Fishkill Creek, Roeliff Jansen Kill, Sprout Creek, Swamp River, Ten Mile River, Webatuck Creek and Whaley Lake Brook are classified as “stocked” in the new plan, so the daily limit is five fish, but no more than two can be longer than 12 inches.

Wappinger Creek is now classified as “Enriched-Extended” from Highway 376 upstream to the east branch of the creek in Hibernia. It is rated as “Wild-Quality” ¾ miles downstream from the Jameson Hill Road bridge at Clinton Corners, upstream from Hunns Lake Creek at Stanfordville. Although ungraded below Highway 376 at Red Oaks Mill, the daily limit is five fish with no more than two over 12 inches.

Building on the success of the 2-year brown trout program, the new plan sets a goal that each hatchery trout stocking will include trout 12 inches or larger at 10% of the total number stocked. This year’s allocation meets this objective.

If the crystal ball meteorologists are using this year works, there could be two days in the next 10 that produce rain. There is no shortage of water in our streams, so anglers on opening day likely won’t have to deal with low water conditions. There isn’t enough snow left to make a difference one way or the other, so I’m anticipating the streams can be fished.

I have already purchased two new lines of flies and a few dozen new flies. I have a whole bunch of fly boxes at or near capacity, but none of them were the right style or color. Last time I took inventory, I lost count of nearly a thousand flies. And no, it’s not much, my collection pales in comparison to most real addicts I know.

Cast anglers should do well with their favorite baits, whether works, mealworms or minnows. Just plan to have split shot in your tackle box to get your bait closer to the bottom.

If you prefer lures, use your favorite. Confidence catches fish.

Struggles to Close Hunting Sanctuaries

Just months ago, the Biden administration said hunting and fishing opportunities were expanding within the National Wildlife Refuge system. Now the administration is negotiating to close 100 of the hunting refuges. Unfortunately, the administration did not include members of sports organizations in the “negotiations”.

Last November, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit to limit hunting on 2.2 million acres in the refuge system. The group says hunting in sanctuaries threatens endangered species because hunters will destroy critical habitat through lead poisoning. They also claim that hunters shoot grizzly bears in the mistaken belief that they are black bears. To be completely frank about these claims, they are baseless.

If the hunters expect access to their land, they will need to let their congressmen and senators know that they will hold them accountable for losing that access and that they will oppose the behind-the-scenes negotiations that are taking place.

The Sports Alliance urges the sports community to use the group’s Legislative Action Center to contact its senators and representatives.

You can use the Legislation Action Center website to find your representatives at:

Call their office and let them know the impact of hunting on the economy. Let them know that over $40 billion and 680,000 jobs are at stake.

Bill Conners of the Federation of Fish and Game Clubs writes on outdoor issues. Email: [email protected]