Central New York, Environment, Sports

A Fishing Season with No Fishermen

Workers at Bearwood Bait & Tackle in Skaneateles, NY show off their favorite catches (c) 2018 Chelsea Siegal

Click above to hear a local bait & tackle shop owner talk about how he’s anticipating a great trout season this year.

Audio Transcript: Trout Stocking

By Chelsea Siegal SKANEATELES, N.Y. (NCC News) — Charlie Coleman, 75, says he’s been around for “a hundred years.” He’s been a local fisherman and owner of Bearwood Bait & Tackle during his time in Skaneateles and found that this year on Sunday, the opening day of trout season, something was missing.

It wasn’t the fish.

“The trout were there,” Charlie said. “But no one was fishing them.”

In fact, with more than 80,000 trout distributed county-wide, Charlie says the trout usually get caught right up.

Even though trout season is officially April 1 to October 15, people have been fishing for brook, brown and rainbow trout all through the winter. While these dates control creek fishing, they don’t control fishing on Skaneateles, Seneca or Otisco lakes.

“All of the fish in the lakes you can take year-round,” Charlie said. “So when you can catch trout in any of the lakes year-round… there ain’t no incentive for anyone to go fishing on April 1.”

The non-observance of the fishing dates affects the amount of customers at Bearwood looking for trout fishing supplies. The bait and tackle shop has seen a drastic decrease in customers over the years for the beginning of trout season due to less people waiting for the opening of creek fishing.

Despite the lack of people Charlie saw on Sunday, he said the trout from Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery in Elbridge were plentiful and healthy.

“They do an awesome job,” Charlie said. “Their fish are very, very healthy.”

The fish that come out of the hatchery come in two sizes: 8-9 inches from the first hatch before April 1 and 12-14 inches at the second hatch. From year to year, one-in-50 trout will make it past the season it’s released into, Charlie estimated. The trout are fed high-protein pellets mainly comprised of liver, but once they’re released into the creeks they feed on flies and worms.