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GET ON THE TROUT

As anglers of the Northeast get ramped-up for trout season, here is a look at when and where each state will be stocking many hundreds of thousands of fish in the coming weeks.
By Toby Lapinski
Tags: freshwater
GET ON THE TROUT

For many anglers across the northeast, “Opening Day” takes on special meaning as the official kick-off of the open-water fishing season. While Opening Day itself refers simply to trout, it means so much more for legions of anglers across the region.

The draw of Opening Day and its related festivities extends beyond the fishing community. At my last job prior to joining The Fisherman, I worked in an office of about 150 people. Yes, I was a cubicle jockey for many years and I acted out a real-life version of The Office on an almost daily basis. Anyway, I was one of just a small handful of fishermen employed there yet everyone knew about Opening Day. I would get no less than 20 inquires on the days leading up to Opening Day in Connecticut as everyone wanted to know my big plans. Did I have my license yet? How early did I plan to be on the water? Was the anticipation of the big day keeping me up at night? It felt like more people were interested in my plans to fish than congratulated me after I got married! Most of the time I just smiled, said that it didn’t do all that much for me as my true passion was in saltwater fishing and did my best to respectfully change the subject. Sure I would sneak out for a little while every year to take my nephews fishing or to join my good friend as he and his brother had a tradition of fishing at the crack of dawn on a local pond, but it was less about “Opening Day” for me than it was about just being outside.

However, in recent years I have found myself jockeying for a prime position amongst the many other fishermen at a local trout-stocked lake in Connecticut. I set my alarm at an hour otherwise only reserved for pre-dawn hunts in the surf, but instead of a wetsuit I slide into boots and a warm coat. In place of my 11-foot Lamiglas I pack a 5-foot St. Croix. Where darters and needlefish would be my lures of choice, I now load up on Kastmasters, garden worms and PowerBait. Yep, I’ve fallen into the trap and I enjoy every minute of it!

I am not a trout purist by any means as my lures and baits of choice noted above will reflect. I’ll likely pack a small cooler for the day, but instead of arriving empty seeking to fill it with fresh fish it will show up already filled with a combination of snacks and drinks to fuel me through the day. I’ll be an observer and catch-and-release angler as for me it will simply be about getting out and enjoying the fresh air with the hope of a tug on the end of my line being little more than an afterthought. Sure I’ll be happier come sunset if all of my bait has been fed to a school of hungry stockies, but regardless I will consider it a win if I am at least able to dust the cobwebs off of my casting arm!

So regardless of which camp you fall into—the fanatical purist or the fun-seeking fair-weather angler—may your Opening Day bring you all the fun and enjoyment that we all seek in this common interest of fishing.

OPENING DAYS ACROSS NEW ENGLAND

Massachusetts: Open year-round
Maine: Open-water fishing begins April 1
Connecticut: April 9
Vermont: April 9
Rhode Island: April 9
New Hampshire: April 23

REGIONAL STATE STOCKING LISTS

Connecticut

Delaware

Maine

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Vermont

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