Well, it’s that time of year once again. Trout season in rivers and streams will open on April 1st in New York, Massachusetts and Maine, April 9th in Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut, and April 23rd in New Hampshire for trout ponds. Make sure to get your 2016 fishing license and do not keep putting it off. It is also important to make sure you check your state’s fishing laws and regulations as several have made some changes, and the regulations differ between some rivers and streams, ponds and lakes.
But first and foremost, let’s remember to be careful out there! This year what with the winter we have experienced, waters are cold and even though we have not had much snow to date, the winter run off in some places will make the waters run fast and deep. That said, it’s again time to check your gear, make sure your waders or hip boots do not leak, and don’t try rationalizing not changing your line for the new year. Just do it. Six pound test is very good, although some prefer four pound as it is more difficult to detect. Fly-fishing is a world unto itself, so we will focus here on spin casting. I would suggest a rod of 6 feet or more, and I will leave the make and model rod and spinning reel up to you. Ultra light reels are my choice for trout fishing. It makes the battles more exciting, but it also depends on the water you are on, and the fish you are trying to catch.
Let’s remember to get those size six, eight and ten hooks; I prefer Eagle Claw Lazer sharp or True Turn hooks in the same size. I have found that at the beginning of the season using combos of salmon eggs and night crawlers work well. Just a piece of crawler goes a long way with an egg or two. Although I must admit power baits do work really well with trout right out of the hatchery.
It is important to keep the split shot to the lowest amount needed to get the bait to the fish, and of course, that will depend on the depth and strength of the current you are fishing. Several states have now outlawed lead weights, so you need to be aware of the laws that apply where you are fishing.
Small silver, gold or colored spoons and spinning lures work quite well in the northeast and are fun to use. If you are going to be trolling from a boat you will need to consider heavier weights and leaders to get the lure down to where the fish are. I prefer wading and bank fishing rivers and streams, but when trolling, it is usually from a canoe and I am hunting rainbows and browns, not huge lake trout, so I really do not change the equipment I am using, except for leaders and weight placement.
So let’s remember that if we want to have fun and enjoy the outdoors we must respect Mother Nature. She offers a lot, but can be quite unforgiving of mistakes and carelessness. The streams and rivers at this time of the year will be heavy and fast moving with the winter run off, and the temperature of the water not much above freezing. The air temperature will be cold to chilly, and hypothermia is never far away. It is essential to wear the proper clothing to keep warm and dry.
So, here’s hoping that 2016 is a great year for fishing! And please, only keep the legal limit; let’s leave some fish for others. And be safe!