2018 ended with high water - no surprise after experiencing one of the wettest years we can remember…on Monday afternoon, December 31, the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at about 750 cubic feet per second - which is well above the average flow on this date of 345 cfs.
Surprisingly we have noticed a few people fishing the Special Regulations Catch-and-Release area on the Willowemoc near Wulff’s Run as well as downstream - on some cold and very damp days when you wouldn’t expect to see anyone fishing - pretty much every week in December!
Although it is ‘legal’ to fish these Catch-and-Release areas after the regular fishing season closes, it sets a bad precedent for others who are not aware of New York State's Fishing Rules and Regulations - and we’ve seen others fishing the Willowemoc outside of the Special Regulations areas as a result. Fishing seasons were instituted to PROTECT trout during the spawning process - which occurs in the fall and early winter for brook and brown trout. During the spawning period, the trout are very vulnerable to any number of predatory animals and birds, let alone having to worry about people fishing. Just the presence of someone wading and fishing while the trout are trying to spawn disrupts the natural process. After the eggs are fertilized and covered over in the redds (trout beds) by the females, they ‘incubate’ there until they hatch as tiny fry several weeks later. It is common for unwitting anglers to be walking on, over and through these redds and in doing so, dislodge and crush the eggs and the fry that are present.