This year the DEC has gone out of its way to stock the local trout waters with fingerlings and brood stock. With the temperatures recently ranging from the 40s a week ago to this past week barely getting above freezing, and also high water in local streams, it's been a challenging stocking season for Randolph Hatchery staff.
With the help of local sportsmen and students, as much stocking as possible will be completed in time for opening day on April 1.
A true sign that spring will be reaching Western New York soon is the report I received from the folks at the Randolph Hatchery as they go over the upcoming stocking season.
With a five-trout limit and no size limit - you can't, however have more then two fish over 12 inches - trout fishing is a long-standing tradition for anglers, young and old. According to the list of stocking numbers, it looks like this year most of the fisheries and streams will be receiving about the same number of trout as in the past, but several are receiving fewer fish than past years.
For Chautauqua County anglers, Goose Creek will be stocked with 1,970 first-year browns and 2-year-old browns. Clay Pond in Falconer will receive 300 year-old browns and 100 2-year olds.
Guernsey Run will be getting 180 year-old browns, with North Branch of Sawmill Run receiving 130 year-old browns.
Cassadaga Creek will get 250 first-year and 200 2-year-old browns.
Mill Creek is getting 1,030 first-year brookies and 100 2-year-old browns sometime in April.
In Cattaraugus County, Case Lake, Harwood Lake and New Albion Lake will be stocked with fingerling browns. Harwood and Case Lake also will be getting a good number of 2-year-olds. Paisley Park Pond will get 50 year-old browns.
Brown fingerlings have also been stocked in Beaver Meadow. Connoisaruley Creek is getting 400 year-old browns and Great Valley Creek is also receiving 400 year-old browns and Beaver Meadow Creek is getting 350 year-old browns. A large number of fingerlings and 2-year-old brood stock have been put in Ischua Creek.
Science Lake is receiving 220 year-old browns, Quaker Run is getting 1,560 year-old browns, Red House Brook is getting 1,050 year-old browns and Bay State Brook at Red House will be seeing 480 year-old browns.
A little closer to home, Little Conewango Creek will receive 1,550 year-old browns, North Branch of Sawmill Run will get 130 browns and Bone Run Creek will receive 300 browns
March has been tougher than normal on the stocking crew. Some of the above-mentioned bodies of water or streams will not get their fish until they are ice free, but they will get them as soon as possible.
Remember, the majority of trout we will be catching early in the season have been pond raised. Having spent hours at the Randolph Hatchery viewing trout being fed, I have noticed that as soon as the pellets hit the water surface, all heck breaks loose. It almost reminds me of late-summer night top water smallmouth action.
The frozen corn hitting the water triggers a Pavlov's Dog-type response for the trout. They know it's feeding time and they come to the surface to take part in the day's meal.
As always, check with your New York State Fishing Regulations Guide before you head to the water. Some streams and lakes may have special rules.