This week will see the introduction of hatchery brown trout in many local creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. The DEC stocks trout-approved waters every year. Early season stockings before the traditional opening day of April 1 normally consist of one year old browns. These fish are typically 8" to 10". Larger two year old browns are stocked later in the season. These fish range from 12" to 15" in length.
Stocking begins March 19 with Salmon Creek in Lansing and Fall Creek in Groton. Buttermilk Creek and Six Mile Creek will be stocked in Caroline the following day as will the East Branch of Owego Creek. The West Branch of Owego Creek will be stocked on March 21, as will Nanticoke Creek and Dudley Creek, both in Broome County. Lastly, Cayuta Creek is scheduled for stocking March 25 - 26.
Some of these waters are open to anglers. In Tioga County, for example, both branches of Owego Creek and the main stem are open to angling in the off season provided catch and release is practiced and artificial lures are used. Anglers should always consult the DEC website before planning to fish.
While stocked fish can be easily caught on the fly, remember that cold water conditions will slow the fishing significantly. Early season fishing is best done using common nymphs, particularly those imitating stoneflies, and streamers. Weighted flies and split shot should be used to get down to where the fish hold. The Wooly Bugger is always a good all-purpose pattern to use.
The weather does not look like it will be as cooperative for stocking as it was last year. The upcoming week now looks like it will be very cold at night, with temps in the teens to mid 20's and daytime highs barely breaking the freezing mark. Snow is expected from Monday through Thursday. Dress in layers, bring a soft shell or hard shell jacket, and be sure to pack extra clothing in case of a dunking.
For those anglers still not ready for early season angling, there are all sorts of fly fishing events going on to fill idle time. Besides the Al Hazzard TU Banquet, and FFF Fly Fishing Academy, the Al Hazzard Chapter will be holding its monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 19, featuring Ken Tutalo, noted Delaware River guide and proprietor of the Baxter House in Roscoe, NY.