Opening Day draws fisherman to the water’s edge April 1
WASSAIC — Amid the constant stream of reports on the COVID-19 pandemic, New York fishermen found peace by the water as they cast their lines for the Opening Day of the state’s fishing season on Wednesday, April 1.
Yet even as the forecast afforded fishing enthusiasts the perfect spring day to set out their bait, they were still advised to follow the protocols set forth by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other illnesses. In addition to avoiding close contact, washing their hands frequently, avoiding surfaces that are touched often and keeping at least 6 feet of distance between one another, the DEC recommended that people avoid busy waters and follow the guidelines for responsible fishing. For example, if someone is fishing upstream, the DEC recommends others consider fishing downstream or consider fishing another day. The same principle for finding an alternative location or time applies if a fisherman comes across a parking area with several cars parked there.
In the meantime, the DEC made sure to keep the state’s rivers, creeks and lakes stocked with fish waiting to be caught on Opening Day. The Ten Mile River in Wassaic is always a popular spot for fisherman; this year the DEC stocked the Ten Mile with roughly 1,100 brown trout that were between 8- and 9-inches long and 200 brown trout that were between 12- and 15-inches long, according to its website. Yet the greatest number of brown trout between 8- and 9-inches could reportedly be found in the Wappingers Creek in Pleasant Valley, with a total of 3,530 brown trout stocked in that waterway. Additionally, the greatest number of trout between 12- and 15-inches long could be found in the Wappingers Creek in Poughkeepsie, with a total of 640 brown trout having been stocked there.
By the early afternoon on Opening Day, cars lined Sinpatch Road, across from the Ten Mile River Metro-North Train Station, though motorists made sure to keep their distance when they parked. Dressed for a relaxing day by the water, hopeful fishermen from far and wide walked along the bridge or down the hill until they found an ideal spot to fish.
With the sun shining down on their heads and at least 6 feet of space between them, a smattering of seasoned fishermen waded knee-deep — even waist-deep — into the water, patiently casting their lines and reeling them in when a fish took hold. A few families with young children stood along the banks to watch the action, some joining in by teaching their little ones the mechanics of fishing.
Though he was surprised that fishing season started so early in New York state, Manu Nagaraja, a resident of Bethel, Conn., was pleased by the bounty of fish available in the waters of the Ten Mile River.
“I’ve already caught quite a few — better than anticipated,” he said.
Marco Ervolina, a resident of Poughquag, said fishing was a great way to deal with cabin fever from being stuck inside for so long, but he said he expected to see more people take advantage of the great outdoors.
“I was just surprised that there aren’t as many people,” Ervolina said.