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The 2018 trout season is now open in New York State (Pennsylvania will have to wait a bit longer, until April 14). As is normally the case, our local rivers are running a bit high and very cold. These conditions should continue for a while since there is rain in the forecast and some snow still melting off.
While the fishing may not yet be up to par, there are a lot of events happening in the area. On Saturday April 7, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum will be hosting its Season Opener Celebration. This event will run from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. It will feature activities, guest speakers and other fishy activities.
On Saturday, April 14 Roscoe, aka “Trout Town USA,” has a big day planned. There will be activities at Junction Pool, Riverside Park and in local businesses throughout town.
Roscoe’s activities will culminate with the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual “Two Headed Trout Dinner” at the Rockland House. This great yearly event starts at 6 p.m. If you’ve never been to this dinner start the tradition this year! The night includes door prizes, raffles, auction items and a great five-course prime rib dinner.
On the same day, the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild will be hosting its annual Fly Tyers Rendezvous. This event will run from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. This reunion is open to the public and will feature over 40 of the most talented fly tyers in the Northeast.
If you plan on getting your feet wet in the coming days, please wade carefully. Although wading access is limited in most of our local streams, that is no reason to stay inside.
There are plenty of local rivers with bank access and safe shallow wading. Drift boat fishing is also a great way to get on the big water in early season.
Almost every year, some lucky angler takes a real giant trout from one of our local rivers in the initial days of the season.
For the first few weeks, fly fishermen should stick with both streamer flies and nymphs. Larger flies normally draw the most attention during high water in early season. As is always the case in super-cold water, fishing deep and slow will be your best chance at hooking that early April trout.
Some good choices for early season include Zonker-style streamers, large buggers and articulated baitfish. Heavily weighted stonefly, hare’s-ear and pheasant-tail nymphs are proven patterns that always produce results.
The best locations early in the season will always be the slower, deeper pools. This type of water is where your efforts will be best spent. Working your flies over the drop-offs near the heads of pools is a strategy that works often. On warmer afternoons, the tails of these slower pools may also reveal trout actively feeding below the surface. This is especially true a bit later in the month. These pool tail-outs are also the first location where the Trout will feed from the surface each year.
Wade safe and tight lines.