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Trout Anglers should be patient

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It may have been off to a chilly start Tuesday, but state environmental officials maintained an optimistic outlook for the north country’s trout fishing season.

“The overall season is looking pretty good,” said Frank M. Flack, fisheries manager for the state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 6.

One positive sign, he said, was illness at a brown trout hatchery that affected stocking last spring was not an issue this year.

However, lengthy wintry conditions have led to delays in stocking throughout the region, which covers an area from St. Lawrence to Oneida counties. For fish to survive placement in streams, Mr. Flack said, water temperatures have to increase to about 45 degrees. Because the water is so cold, he said, stocking may not begin until the end of April, and could continue until June.

Some years, he said, DEC crews have managed to do some stocking before the season’s opening.

But, Mr. Flack, who has been based in the area since 1990, said chilly conditions at the start of the season are common. “It’s not unusual to have to climb over 6-foot banks” of snow to get to a spot, he said.

A self-described “big stream” fisherman, he said he is waiting for water temperatures to rise to about 50 degrees.

“When the black flies come out, that’s when the fishing gets good,” he said.

Anglers will get a little more value for their fishing licenses this season. The cost of a license is now $25, down from $29. What’s more, a fishing license is now good for 365 days after purchase, instead of expiring at the end of the Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 season.

More information about getting a fishing license can be found at http://wdt.me/xc6k9P.

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