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Waiting in Waders for the Season's First Bite

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. — Sunday, April 1, was the opening day of trout fishing season, and eager fishermen were out at the crack of dawn to cast off.

“Anglers can look forward to what we hope will be a banner year of fishing in the watershed,” said Commissioner Carter Strickland of the New York Department of Environmental Preservation.

“This year’s crop is better than other times,” said Mike Flaherty, a fisheries manager for the Department of Environmental Conservation. “We’re hatching more, so we’re putting in more.” The DEC has been stocking the state’s streams and reservoirs since the 1880s.

“Most of the fish are brown trout,” Flaherty said. “We also add rainbow trout for variety.”

Locally stocked waters include Amawalk Inlet, Amawalk Outlet, Amawalk Reservoir, Muscoot Reservoir, the Titicus River and Titicus Reservoir. 

Steve Fay of Mahopac was fishing at the east branch of the Croton River on Sunday morning. “I’ve never missed an opening day for trout in 40 years,” he said. 

Rob Tinari and his son, Jack, 10, were fishing nearby. It was Jack’s first opening-day experience. “My dad got up at 4:30 this morning and he woke me at 5:15,” the boy said.

“We only left that early so we’d get a spot,” he continued. “First we went to Titicus and Amawalk but we didn’t catch anything. My dad said usually after an hour at Amawalk you catch your limit.

“I’ve been going fishing with my dad since I was 3 or 4. When my mom doesn’t let my dad go fishing, he’ll play fishing on the Wii. The trick for me is to be patient,” he added. “Every time I’m patient, I always get a fish. In life I’m not very patient.”

By 9:15 a.m. the Tinaris had only caught four rainbow trout. The official limit per person is five trout of any size.

“Usually I could catch 20 fish this time of year, no problem,” said Rob Tinari. Perhaps the fish around northern Westchester were playing a little April Fools’ joke.

Tinari’s recipe for cooking fresh-caught trout is simple but delicious: “I gut them, rub them with oil, stuff the cavity with breadcrumbs and onions, put them in a 350 oven and bake for 20 minutes.”

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