I was kind of shocked to look at the calendar today and see that April 1 is three weeks away. It surely doesn't seem like it.
April 1 is the annual opening day of open-water trout season, but the way this winter is going we will still be climbing over snowbanks to get to our local streams.
The April 1 opener doesn't really have much of an impact locally most springs, as more times than not we are still in late winter as of early April. Yes, the days are getting longer and the sun stronger, but cold water temperatures and streams swollen by snowmelt make fishing difficult, to say the least.
That's not to say trout can't be caught, because trout do eat all winter long. But they are less active and more sluggish when the water is cold, so they don't feed nearly as much.
With the amount of snow and ice we have on the ground now, even if we have two weeks of 60-degree highs, we will have high streams well into April. And the forecast isn't calling for 60s anytime soon.
My wife and I hiked Goodnow Mountain in Newcomb over the weekend, and there is at least four feet of snow on the top of that peak. To get to the firetower stairs required a crawl under the metal tower supports, and that snowpack isn't nearly what can be found in the High Peaks. Our local streams are fed by those Adirondack peaks as well as the Taconics and Green Mountains, and all that snow is eventually going to melt somewhere.
It's doubtful much, if any, trout stocking will take place in early April when the streams are that high and cold.
That said, we should have another solid few weeks of ice fishing season, with the amount of ice we have on our ponds and lakes. A buddy who fished the south end of Lake George over the weekend reported 15 inches of ice near Long Island. The stronger sun will start eating away the edges soon, but it's going to be a while.
-- Don Lehman