With the closing of the LI & NY trout seasons last week, local "trouters" by now should be aware Long Island has places where trout fishing is open year round! You can wet a line and legally go trout fishing today in Nassau County, all due to the fine job the DEC Freshwater Fisheries Division has done in conjunction with state parks in stocking & managing trout with their "special regulations" trout program which debuted a couple of years back. This program is delegated just for Nassau County, but in 2003 you will be able to fish in Suffolk County year round as well.
The purpose is to make people aware of the fine freshwater angling available in urban communities, particularly Nassau County. The DEC set up this program to coincide with Fishing Festivals, whereby free equipment & bait would be accessible so families could fish together. "By setting up these festivals and stocking them with trout, we increase the odds for success, thus piquing the interest of fishermen, in this case trout fishermen," Regional Fisheries manager Charles "Chart" Guthrie says.
"We set up special regulations here, so anglers could fish for trout year round. Each year the DEC stocks a combined 3,500 brown, brook & rainbow trout into these waters in late fall to keep up with this special regulations' area. Another place in Nassau County where the trout fishing is open in winter is the North Twin Pond in Wantagh. This lake borders Wantagh Parkway and has access through Park Ave. or Old Mill Road. The special regulations set up for these particular bodies of water are simple. You can fish for trout legally year round using any legal hook and line method for a three fish bag limit and no minimum size.
THE PLAYERS. The characters at play are brook, brown and rainbow trout and the DEC continues to stock large trout, not small fingerlings normally associated with programs of this nature. Trout stocked for this special regulation, "put & take" fishery weigh from 1 to 3 pounds. Trout are not expected to reproduce naturally here because there are no streams or creeks for them to do so. There is no pressure to catch & release everything for the survival of the species, but that doesn't mean you have to keep your limit, keep what you want for dinner and have fun with the rest.
"Stocked trout can holdover by finding water deep enough in these ponds to accommodate their critical comfort levels," biologist Greg Kozlowski said, However we encourage anglers to keep fish as we get closer to the end of spring and beginning of summer. We want to thank state parks for participating in this special regulation's program. The larger trout came from the hatchery at Connetquot."
TACKLE CHOICES. Anglers who prefer flycasting want to try 4 to 6-weight with floating fly lines. However, you may want to opt for sink tip lines when fishing the southern end of South Pond, where the deepest water (six-foot) occurs. Brightly colored flies and streamers tend to work best and as waters warm with the coming of spring, dry fly action picks up considerably. Light tackle spinning gear is handy for this kind of trout action. Two and 4-pound test ultra lights give plenty of thrills once a rainbow heads for the clouds after you've set the hook. Small in-line spinners such as Mepps Aglia or small Fury's in #00 and #0 blades work as do small 1/4-ounce gold phoebe spoons. I've found some of the larger trout very fond of small countdown Rapala's in gold or silver, with gold side/black back having the decided edge.
BAITS. While these stocked trout may have originated in a hatchery, they are not dummies when it comes to being fooled. It may be easier to fool them soon after stocking, but they do assimilate rather quickly and learn fast what to eat or not eat. Best bets are always the old standby and favorite, the simple garden worm. Hooked once through the collar, this tasty temptation is hard to resist.
Whether it's a stocked "brookie" or wary brown, the garden worm is king. Other baits to use this spring are mealworms, wax worms, shiners and small killies. Berkley Power Baits worked close to the bottom produce very well and should be given a fair shot. In McDonald Pond, all baits from marshmallows to dough balls have all caught trout.
WHERE TO FIND EM'. When looking at South Pond the deepest water is at the southeastern tip of the lake. Here the water drops from very shallow to six and in times of heavy rains, eight-foot in depth. Here is the best bet for winter & springtime action. In North Twin Lake, the best action is in the deeper section as well, located at the north end of the lake. However, on bright sunny days, look for trout in both places to make forays into the shallows to feed.
As waters warm with the intensifying spring sun, trout make their way to shallow water following the developing weed lines. A tip for fishermen, look for spring action to heat up in McDonald Pond first. This smaller, shallower pond warms quicker than the other ponds. On the other hand, you'll find better late fall and early winter action in South Pond and North Twin Lake as this water cools slowly. In the fall, trout are stocked into the north end of both lakes where they stay until waters significantly cool. It's then trout make the migration searching for deep water.
EXTRA HELP. Some tackle shops in the close vicinity that can help in your search for fall and winter trout are Beckmann's B&T; (516-593-7288) in Lynbrook and Causeway B&T; (516-785-3223 / www.causewaybait.com) in Wantagh. Both of these shops are open through the winter to help you in your search for winter trout. For more information, call the DEC Freshwater Fisheries at 516-444-0280.