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Fishing Line for April 1

The trout opener is here already – today, in fact.

Trout season started at midnight around Western New York on inland waters, but Finger Lakes regulations for trout lakes and tributaries such as Canandaigua Lake, Seneca Lake, Naples Creek and Catharine Creek allow trout fishing only from sunrise to sunset daily.

Also, the statewide trout limit is five rainbow trout with two measuring more than 12 inches, but the trout count for Finger Lakes and their tributaries allows for three trout species but only one rainbow trout kept each day. Check the regulations guide for site, hours and creel specifics.

Newly imposed regulations eliminated the First Limit prize in the Annual Naples Rainbow Trout Derby, but all other divisions are open for entrants. Look for derby doings, rainbow reports and awards winners on the Sunday Outdoors Page.

Lake Erie

Walkers and machine-runners are still getting out onto ice off Hamburg, but the going gets rough (soupy, sloppy surfaces) and the ice is getting thinner. Tuesday afternoon the run of regulars averaged 8 to 10 perch according to Herb Schultz at depths just over 40 feet. This could be the last week for Lake Erie ice-outing reports.

Feeder streams have been showing both newer, silvery steelies and runs of darker, resident rainbows. Everything works – at times. Dave Watts at Dave’s Bait & Tackle in Derby suggests trying an assortment of meat offerings: egg sacks, salted minnows, night crawlers and a jig-and-waxworm rig for rainbows. Watts also recommends the smaller spinners and Little Cleo spoons as artificial offerings.

The State of Lake Erie Meeting is set for 7 to 9 p.m. April 9 at the Southtowns Walleye Association Club in Hamburg. More details will be shared on the Sunday Outdoors Page and next week’s Fishing Line column.

Niagara River/Lake Ontario

Lower River trout have been tricky. A rainbow spawning run and sparse bait schooling has slowed but not killed things for boat drifters and shore casters.

Some coho salmon activity has shown along the Ontario shoreline. Boaters are able to get out with smaller vessels at Olcott and Oak Orchard. Catches have been mainly steelies and browns, but an occasional coho will show amid salmonids sneaking along the shoreline at Olcott.

Feeder streams and river outlets have drawn browns and steelies, with the brown bite a bit better than steelies that are starting their spawning cycle. Wes Walker at Slipper Sinker Bait & Tackle in Olcott and Sharon Narburg at Narby’s Bait & Tackle in Kent both recommend every kind of live and meat-based bait available.

Trout have taken ’crawlers, egg sacks, skein, red worms and grubs normally affixed to an ice jig.

The Annual Department of Environmental Conservation’s State of Lake Ontario Meeting held March 13 reported the 2014 charter boat catch rate ranked sixth highest for surveys during the past 30 years. Chinook (king) salmon catches were best during the spring and fair through the summer and fall seasons. Catch rates for most other salmonid species were above average, with peaks shown in early-season harvests.

Stocking stuff

Despite chilling, snowy weather, the Randolph Hatchery stocking program has gone off on schedule and well each day since the first stocking efforts started March 18. Ponds and lakes remain frozen in spots, but here are the sites (by county) and species counts for waters successfully stocked in time for the statewide opener today:

Allegany County: Dodge Creek and tributary 17 (Clarksville) 2,230 brook trout and 200 two-year-old brown trout; Clarksville Town Pond, 180 yearling browns; Genesee River (Wellsville) 2,140 yearling browns, 750 two-year-old browns and 2,850 rainbow trout; Genesee Rive (Amity) 5,430 yearling browns and 750 two-year-old browns; and Little Genesee Creek (Bolivar) 1,920 yearling browns and 200 two-year-old browns.

Cattaraugus County: Forks Creek (Great Valley) 1,370 yearling browns; Great Valley Creek (Great Valley) 2,310 yearling browns; Wrights Creek (Humphrey) 750 yearling browns; Cattaraugus Creek South Branch (East Otto) 1,030 yearling browns; Mansfield Creek (Mansfield) 430 yearling browns and 100 two-year-old browns; Beaver Meadow Creek (Ellicottville) 340 yearling browns; Great Valley Creek (Ellicottville) 390 yearling browns; Connoisarauley Creek (Ashford) 350 brook trout; Bone Run (South Valley) 260 yearling browns; Guernsey Run (South Valley) 170 yearling browns; North Branch Sawmill Run (South Valley) 130 yearling browns; Little Conewango Creek (Conewango) 1,500 yearling browns; Paisley Park Pond (Randolph) 40 brook trout; Little Conewango Creek (Conewango) 200 two-year-old brown trout; Bay State Brook (Red House) 470 yearling browns; Quaker Run (Cold Spring) 1,520 yearling browns; Red House Brook (Red House) 1,030 yearling browns; and Science Lake (Red House) 210 yearling browns.

Chautauqua County: Goose Creek (North Harmony) 920 brook trout, 900 yearling browns and 300 two-year-old browns.

Wyoming County: Buffalo Creek (Java) 1,110 yearling browns and 200 two-year-old browns; Beaver Meadow Creek (Java) 350 brook trout; Cattaraugus Creek (Java) 2,050 yearling browns and 600 two-year-old browns; Little Tonawanda Creek (Middlebury) 600 yearling browns; Tonawanda Creek (Orangeville) 1,030 yearling browns and 200 two-year-old browns; and East Koy Creek (Gainesville) 3,420 yearling browns and 650 two-year-old browns.