By Alicia Dziak
Fishing lovers rejoice! Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, there’s lots of fun to be had on the area’s waterways this spring, starting with some amazing fishing opportunities.
Don’t know where to begin? First and foremost, you must obtain your fishing license.
If you live in New York State, a one-year license is only $25 for ages 16-69, or $5 if you’re 70 or older. A 7-day license can be purchased for $12, and a 1-day license is $5. (Non-resident fees vary.) Get your license at www.decals.dec.ny.gov or at Sporting License Issuing Agent Locations (map of locations available at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/95448.html).
If you want to try fishing, but don’t want to commit to purchasing a license, you can take advantage of Free Fishing weekends across the state. The next one is June 25-26, 2016. Visit the DEC web site (www.dec.ny.gov) for details. Or, if you’re up for a short road trip, head to Letchworth State Park on May 28 and take part in the Free Learn to Catch a Fish/Kids Conservation Day. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to – 4 p.m. For more info, call (585) 493-3605.
Once you have your license, be sure you’re prepared with everything else you need for that catch of the day.
According to licensed fishing guide Dave Brown of Springville, “you’ll need an ultra-light fishing rod and reel,” available at most sporting goods stores.
You’ll also want a well-stocked tackle box with extra fishing line, multi-purpose tool with knife and pliers, a first aid kit, sunscreen and insect repellant. If you’re going fly-fishing, you’ll want a good selection of flies. For bait fishing, you’ll want to stock up on bobbers, sinkers and hooks. Bait is available at many locations — including spots that are off the beaten path but right on the path to where you’ll be fishing. “Look for signs that say ‘live bait,’” Brown suggested.
He also suggested “waders if you’re fishing in streams.” This makes it easier (and much drier!) to cross over.
OK, so where do you take all that new equipment? There’s definitely no shortage of places to go.
Anglers have their pick, from roaring creeks to tranquil lakes. Popular destinations include the Cattaraugus Creek (which is regularly listed as a top 10 Steelhead Fishing site by many fishing magazines), Ischua Creek, Clear Creek, Mansfield Creek and Allegany State Park, which boasts three lakes and several brooks.
Many local streams, ponds and lakes are stocked with trout raised at DEC fish hatcheries, such as the Randolph Fish Hatchery. (See the stocking schedule on this page.)
If you’re still not sure where to go fishing, consider hiring a licensed fishing guide. Brown points out that “hiring a guide will help you fine tune your skills and learn where the fish are,” noting that fishing habitats vary.
So now you’ve spent the day by the water and caught your share of trout. It’s time to cook! Check out www.allrecipes.com or your favorite recipe site for fast, easy and tasty ideas on how to get the most taste from your fishing experience!