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Big brown

This early season brown trout was caught in southern Vermont in recent years. Early in the season can be a good time of year to catch big trout in streams.

Cold and windy? -- Check.

Water is freezing cold, with ice and snow still on many stream banks? -- Check.

No trout stocking done so far this season? -- Check as well.

It's just another normal April 1 trout season opening day here in the southern Adirondacks, where we know that streams will always be really cold and fishing won't pick up for at least a few weeks, at best.

The warm, dry weather of the past couple weeks has really helped our streams improve dramatically from a fishing standpoint. We had a lot of snow melt last week in particular, and it melted in a slow, gradual fashion, so streams didn't swell dramatically. And we have avoided one of those big, late-season snowstorms that set us back in terms of springs' real arrival.

Compared to some April 1 openers, conditions really aren't so bad this year, at least on our streams.  The USGS website shows that most local streams are below

That said, wandering around the banks of put-and-take streams that relying on stocking probably won't put any trout in your creel.

There are some places to go if you want to get out in early April, and have a shot at a nice holdover or wild trout. Some of my favorite early season streams are the Snook Kill in Saratoga County, stretches of Halfway Brook in Kingsbury and Fort Ann as well as Black Creek and the Owl Kill in Washington County.

The key early in the season is to avoid streams that get a lot of snowmelt from the mountains, which will keep them high and cold longer. The Schroon River, upper Hudson River, Mettawee River and Batten Kill traditionally stay high well into spring.

Fish bigger baits, like nightcrawlers, big nymphs or dead minnows, slowly and in deeper, slower sections of water. This is the time of year where you can luck into a big fish that is looking to shake the winter doldrums and eat a big meal.

Ponds are another situation, with lots of ice still to melt. It will probably be at least a couple of weeks before ice out on many southern Adirondack trout ponds. But one tactic a lot of pond fishermen like is to work the edges of ice floes on ponds, casting onto ice and pulling bait into open water.

I'm hoping to get a state and Warren County stocking update later this week, and will post it when it becomes available.

-- Don Lehman

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reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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