This coming Saturday, April 1st is the opening day of trout fishing on inland waters throughout the state, which include the Finger Lakes tributaries. Even though there is no closed season for trout fishing in the Finger Lakes themselves, opening day on the streams has become an annual springtime ritual. People take the day off from work and take their kids out of school in order to participate in an exciting outdoor adventure that has become a festive event for many folks year after year.
Some of the best early season fishing can be found in the Finger Lakes Region where waters tend to warm up earlier than in other parts of the state. But this year they may have warmed a bit too early. During a fish sampling operation in Naples Creek last Thursday, DEC fisheries personnel found that the rainbow trout spawning run was already well underway due to the prematurely warm water temperatures brought about by warmer than usual late-February and early-March weather. Biologists are hoping that the more-recent cold snap and significant amount of snowfall runoff might reduce water temperatures in the streams enough to prolong the rainbow trout spawning runs.
One of the most popular area trout streams on opening day is of course Naples Creek in southern Ontario County, where the annual rainbow trout spawning migration draws thousands of anglers who are not only tempted by the prospect of catching a trophy but also by the hope of winning one in the Naples Creek Rainbow Trout Derby. Now in its 56th year, the contest turns the quiet little village of Naples into a hub of festivities on the first day of April.
Derby entry is by pre-registration only either at the Sutton Company, located at 120 Main Street in the Village of Naples during regular business hours or at the Naples Fire Hall on Vine Street from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, March 31st or 4:00am until sunrise on Saturday, April 1st. Contest rules are available at both places.
But Naples Creek isn’t the only good place to wet a line on opening day. Other legendary Finger Lakes trout streams include Cold Brook in Hammondsport, which empties into Keuka Lake and Catherine Creek, which is a major tributary of Seneca Lake. To find other good trout-producing waters in the region, read J. Michael Kelly’s “Top Ten Finger Lakes Trout Streams” in the current issue of Life in the Finger Lakes magazine.