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Fall fishing

Judy Van Put - Columnist
Posted 9/28/20

The Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was recorded as flowing at 108 cubic feet per second on Sunday afternoon, which is below the average flow of 122 cfs over 107 years of record-keeping. The river has …

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Fall fishing

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The Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was recorded as flowing at 108 cubic feet per second on Sunday afternoon, which is below the average flow of 122 cfs over 107 years of record-keeping. The river has slowly decreased from 122 cfs each day over the past week. Water temperatures dipped down to just below 50 degrees last Monday morning but worked their way back up to the low 60s over the weekend.

Traditionally, the regular trout season in New York State would come to a close on September 30. And in past years, fishing licenses expired on that date and needed to be renewed at a sports store or town clerk's office. Today you can apply online any day of the year, and the license remains valid for one year from the date of purchase.

You can either print out your license or request that it be mailed to you. Do check your fishing syllabus or visit the DEC website online - https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6091.html to learn which waters close on September 30 and where you can still fish for trout afterward, as well as Special Regulations by stream and county including the No Kill Catch and Release areas.

Although the “statewide” New York State trout fishing season is now open until October 15, there are a number of exceptions: Alder Lake, Crystal Lake and Hodge Pond are all closed to trout fishing after September 30. In addition, Basket Creek and its tributaries, Callicoon Creek from the mouth to Hortonville, Hankins Creek and its tributaries from mouth to the Falls at Mileses, Hoolihan Brook and tributaries, North Branch Callicoon Creek and tributaries from mouth to Gossweyler Pond above North Branch, Pea Brook and tributaries are all closed after September 30.

Despite the lower flows in our rivers and streams a fair number of trout fishers are still out and about, taking advantage of September's wonderful weather and now the peaking of the colorful fall foliage. Traveling along the Willowemoc and Beaverkill on my way to have our apples pressed at the cider mill, it was nice to see a number of anglers out on the stream.

Traditionally this time of year is popular with fly-fishers, who hope to find some good fishing before the end of the season and spend time outdoors enjoying the beauty of nature. Years ago, we would receive telephone calls from friends who would ask what the fishing conditions were before making the two-to-three-hour trip up to fish (although today many visit the USGS website and can check water flows and temperatures easily from their computers or mobile devices.)

Typically, in the autumn, the Beaverkill and Willowemoc region of the Catskills receives a steady influx of trout fishers from out of town, and often from out of state. Lured by the prospect of good fishing during the most beautiful time of the year, these sportsmen and women provide a welcome boost to our local economy, oftentimes bringing along a spouse or good friend who may or may not fish, but who also look forward to spending time out of doors, enjoying our pristine environment and partaking of the many services and amenities our local merchants provide.

Through the years these ‘fishing tourists' have been so taken by our region that they decided to purchase second homes and become weekend and summer residents. But during the past several months we learned that many of these weekend residents have decided to stay and become permanent residents of Sullivan, Delaware, and Ulster counties.

We are fortunate that many of these new residents care deeply about our environment and the quality of life we enjoy here in the Catskill mountains - and are thoughtful neighbors who appreciate and share our concerns about protecting these most precious natural resources.

Judy Van Put is a long-time member of the NYS Outdoor Writers Association, and is the recipient of the New York State Council of Trout Unlimited's Professional Communications Award.

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