Rainbow Trout Sampling

Despite the recent turbulent weather and roller-coaster temperatures, dedicated fishermen and women are eagerly anticipating the opening day of trout season in the Finger Lakes tributaries, which this year occurs on Saturday, April 1. And many of those folks are also looking forward to the annual sampling of the rainbow trout spawning run in some of those same tributaries.

Every year, a week or so before the season opens, fisheries biologists from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wade into to the ice-cold tributaries clad in chest waders and wearing backpack generators while carrying electric wands, clipboards, and long-handled nets. Their purpose is to momentarily stun and examine as many dazed rainbow trout as they can scoop up. They are conducting the sampling to aid in the ongoing assessment of Finger Lakes fisheries management practices and to provide up-to-date information for the opening day fishing forecast.

During sampling, data is taken on each fish caught, including length, weight, sex, and spawning condition. A fish scale is taken from each trout to determine its age and growth rate. Sampling results will be available to the public at the DEC Region 8 fisheries office prior to the April 1 opening of the “inland” trout fishing season. Anglers who want to fish for trout before April 1 are reminded that trout fishing is open year-round in the main bodies of the Finger Lakes.

DEC Regional Director Paul D’Amato announced the dates and locations for the annual sampling of the rainbow trout run in Region 8’s Finger Lakes tributaries. This year’s sampling is scheduled for:

• Thursday, March 23, 9 a.m.at Naples Creek, just north of the Village of Naples in Ontario County, at the Route 245 bridge.

• Friday, March 24, 10 a.m. at Cold Brook (Keuka Inlet) in the Hamlet of Pleasant Valley in Steuben County.

The public is invited to watch the sampling process at either or both of the following two sites:

Naples Creek – Sampling will start at the Route 245 bridge, just north of the Village of Naples. Route 245 joins Route 21 just north of the village. The Route 245 bridge is approximately 0.2 to 0.3 miles from the junction with Route 21.

Cold Brook – From the Avon DEC office, take I-390 south, continue on Southern Tier Expressway (Route 17/ Interstate 86) south to Exit #38 in Bath. Turn left off Exit #38 onto Washington Street (Route 54) and continue straight through the intersection of Rt. 415, turn left (north) at next light following Route 54 (Liberty Street). Continue on Route 54, approximately six miles to Pleasant Valley. Turn left onto Hammondsport-Pleasant Valley Road (County Route 88).  Sampling site is at stream crossing, approximately 1/2 mile.


Story and photo by John Adamski