Opening Day of the trout fishing season in New York State came - and went -on Tuesday, April 1, without a lot of fanfare. Unlike last year’s warm weather (which brought out a great number of reservoir fishermen, many of whom cashed in on the ice-less conditions) the reservoirs are still pretty well iced over, at least as of Saturday, April 5, when we traveled along the Barkaboom toward the Ashokan. We did not see a lot of fishing action, that day, save for an ICE fisherman out on Big Pond with his sled and tipup – and a local sports store reported selling “mousies” a few days before Tuesday’s Opening Day!
Due to the intensely cold winter, most all of our Catskill reservoirs are still iced over. A check with the NYC DEP website shows that as of April 7, 2014, the reservoirs are about 94.3% capacity; the historic average on this date is 97.1%. The Pepacton is currently measuring 93.1% full; Cannonsville is 97.4%; Schoharie is at 93.5%; Ashokan is at 92.5%; Rondout is at 95.2% and the Neversink Reservoir is just 82% full.
The average precipitation for the month of February showed an above-average amount of 3.21 inches, as opposed to the historical average of 2.5 inches of precipitation; however, the month of March showed 2.33 inches, which is below the historical average for that month of 3.62 inches.
Talking with a few of our sport shop owners, each confirmed that early-season fishing was slow with limited success – due, all agreed, to the cold weather conditions; however, a few trout were caught by customers who had fished the smaller streams. There is still some residual ice and snow in the higher elevations that have kept water temperatures pretty chilly, and not much fly activity has been noted.
To get an idea of average stream flows in the area, the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was running at 1280 cubic feet per second, which is just above the average flow of 1200 cfs on this date based on 100 years of record-keeping. The maximum flow of 7420 cfs in 1924; the minimum flow recorded also occurred in 2012, with a paltry flow of just 319 cubic feet per second. And the East Branch of the Delaware at Fishs Eddy was flowing at 2060 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 7. This was slightly above the average flow of 2150 cfs on this date, based on 59 years of record-keeping. The lowest recorded flow on this date of 522 cfs was just a couple of years ago, in 2012; the highest recorded flow over these past 59 years occurred in 1994, when 10,200 cubic feet per second rushed past the gauging station.