By Spider Rybaak
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has just released its Spring Trout Stocking list for 2016.
While most anglers decide well in advance where they want to fish on opening day, forces ranging from Central New York's iffy weather can force an angler to change plans overnight, sometimes even while standing in the middle of a stream. After all, a skinny creek that looks highly fishable when you step into it, can quickly turn high and muddy when run-off from a rainstorm upstream finally hits you.
Or, just as bad, you target a "crick" others set their sights on, too. After wading awhile without a hit, the reason for your lack of results becomes crystal clear: someone else is fishing the stream just ahead of you.
OK, you think and start fishing downstream. But on some days, Murphy's Law clings to you like a famished mosquito and a couple of bends in the stream later, you spot guys fishing down there, too.
It's a free country, you think, and they have the same right to the stream as you do. Still, you can't help getting irritated as you slip and slide back upstream to your car.
Now, if you know the area well, there's probably other fishing spots around, and you have plans B, C, maybe even D to save the day.
But if you're unfamiliar with the area, your fishing may be over until next time. Even if you back-track to some other promising spots that hooked your imagination earlier, there's no quick way to learn whether they're worth the water flowing through them or not, and you risk wasting a whole day trying to find out.
DEC's annual stocking list can come to the rescue. It tells you what creeks were stocked and when, the average size of the fish, and even the township, important when fishing a stream you're unfamiliar with.
You can find all the information in the NYSDEC's stocking reports available online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html. Scroll down to stocking information and click on spring stockings.
Here's the skinny on Oswego County's trout "cricks:"
- North Branch Salmon River: Stocked with 3,020 brook trout ranging from 8 to 9 inches; paralleled by CR 17 in Redfield.
- Salmon River (upper): Stocked with 840 brook trout and 1,150 rainbow trout ranging from 8 to 9 inches; paralleled by Waterbury Road in Redfield.
- Rice Creek: Stocked with 340 brown trout running 8-9 inches; paralleled by Cemetery and Ridge Roads west of the city of Oswego.
- West Branch Fish Creek: Stocked with 1,380 brown trout ranging from 8-9 inches; paralleled by CR 30 in Williamstown.
- Black Creek: Stocked with 430 brown trout running from 8 to 9 inches; paralleled by Black Creek and Kingdom Roads, and crossed by CR 45, north of Fulton.