Gloversville fly fishing shop busy as next phase of trout season arrives

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Fly Shack Customer Experience Director Frank Duncan looks a prince nymph rubber legs at their shop Tuesday

GLOVERSVILLE — The traditional opening of spring trout season Friday still brings excitement for enthusiasts, even if they’ve had all winter to practice.

April 1 has long been opening day in New York, but last year, state regulators allowed catch-and-release trout fishing in rivers and streams from Oct. 16 to March 31 as part of a new trout stream management plan.

So this year, April 1 is the opening day of catch-and-harvest trout fishing.

The Fly Shack is one source of supplies for the sport, either at the storefront retail operation in Gloversville or the e-commerce site.

Frank Duncan, director of customer experience, said interest remains steady in fly fishing.

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“With COVID there came a dramatic increase in demand for outdoor sporting goods — that does not seem to be letting up,” he said. “With that, I think there’s a lot of new people getting into the sport, or people getting into it more.”

Duncan is a lifelong fan himself, introduced to the sport by his dad, who took him out each opening day.

“I haven’t missed many of them in my life,” he said.

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The chance to fish during the traditional winter off-season was attractive to some anglers, Duncan said.

“I do know people who have fished through the winter down on the Delaware,” he said. “Despite that, there’s a lot of interest in opening day.”

The state Department of Environmental Conservation recently announced multiple changes to freshwater fishing regulations that were long in the works will take effect Friday.

Among them is a new rule that rainbow trout, brown trout and splake can be caught and harvested year-round in lakes and ponds.

A final decision hasn’t been made on lake and pond fishing regulations for brook trout. DEC said it received a wide range of comments from anglers, some of whom thought that the proposed rules were too restrictive and others who thought the rules didn’t go far enough to protect brook trout.

Duncan noted that the forecast calls for rain Friday for most of New York. This will likely raise the water level and increase the degree of suspended sediment in streams, he said, but they’ll still be fishable.

“Everything’s going to be a little high and a little dirty this weekend but give it a try,” he said.

His advice?

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“If the water’s up and dirty, the fish will be in slower water typically closer to the bank.”

“Have fun.”

“Pick up garbage if you find it.”

He would not, however, suggest a few prime fishing holes — too many people might show up at once.

DEC provides some guidance on this: Its interactive trout stream map online at https://gisservices.dec.ny.gov/gis/dil/index.html?cat=WRL flags streams that are stocked once a season and those that are stocked repeatedly, and rates the best stretches of water “quality” or “premier.”

For his part, Duncan will be hitting the road with a group of fishing buddies and starting another season out on the water.

“It’s been a tradition to go out on opening day regardless of what the weather’s doing,” he said.

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By John Cropley

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