Borchert wins striper contest

River Basin’s Striper Contest ended today with Eric Borchert bringing in the winner, a 47″-er from the Hudson River.

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23rd annual River Basin Sports Striper Contest update.

DEP opens public lands

From Watershed Post:

This just in from the DEP: The agency that polices New York City’s upstate watershed will open 12,000 acres of city-owned watershed land to recreation. A total of 71,000 DEP-owned acres in the New York City watershed are now open to the public, according to a press release from the agency.

The 71,000 acres includes approximately 30,000 acres of property designated Public Access Areas which were opened in the last three years, where public hiking, fishing, hunting and trapping is allowed without DEP permits. The remaining acres require a DEP permit for access.

Striper biting in Hudson River

John MunnoTomG of River Basin Sports reports on the first day of the 23rd annual River Basin Sports Striper Contest tournament going on today on the Hudson River:

Well, it didn’t take too long to get our striped bass contest off to a good start. Early this morning at the crack of dawn John Munno, our past 2006 contest winner, hit the waters of the Hudson River in the vicinity of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and discovered that yes, indeed, the stripers are here. Using herring as bait over a rock-gravel bottom in about 20 feet of water he landed a 34 incher, lost a couple of others that were hooked and then boated the first contest entry of 2010 – a 38 ½ inch beauty. Now, John knows, just as well as we here at the River Basin Sports shop do, that there is no way this fish has a prayer of finishing in the money but it was his first striper outing of 2010 and – the first contest entry of the year is always a premiere accomplishment here. Since it was the first fish to be entered we also threw it on the shop scale and saw it tip the needle at 21 lbs 13 ounces. Fishing action in the Catskill – Stockport area of the river continues to be fair to good. Slightly further south, around Germantown, decent action is also reported. We received a report from the Castleton T-way bridge area of good action there over the weekend with fish up into the low 30 inch mark. And even up in the Albany-Troy area there is decent action with a few stripers reported to be running up to around the 3 foot size although one report from there is that the herring have become a little bit spotty. Our Striped Bass Contest sign-ups concluded with a RECORD number of registrants – 604. As our participants are probably aware – we are paying back 100% of the entry monies as prizes 1 through 6 to the entrants bringing in the top six fish (length). That means that at least $9,060 will go to the winners. Read the entire article here.

Shad on the rebound?

From The Watershed Post:

American shad, once plentiful in the Hudson and the smaller rivers they return to each year to spawn, have suffered tremendous declines in recent years–so much so that the NY DEC declared them off-limits in the Hudson this year. Nevertheless, the guides at Cross Current Fly Fishing think this is going to be a good year for shad on the Delaware:

Reports of 20+ fish days are common throughout the river up to the Delaware Water Gap. This past week the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission electrofished a stretch of river near Raubsville, PA and averaged 39 fish per hour, a very high number according to fisheries biologists. Read the entire story in The Watershed Post.

Stream management program funds awarded

Michael Ryan in the Windham Journal writes:

Thousands of dollars were handed out when the Schoharie Watershed Advisory Council awarded its second round of Stream Management Program funds, last week, during a meeting at the Windham Country Club. SWAC members awarded $77,627 to seven entities in Greene and Delaware counties for projects aimed at preserving water quality in the New York City reservoir system and increasing awareness of watershed related issues. All of the funds are provided by the Department of Environmental Protection, which has set aside $2 million to be distributed over a 5-year period, with two years having passed on the contract, administered by the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District. [Greene County] Funds were allocated in round two as follows:

—EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: The Mountaintop Arboretum in Tannersville, $6,810, with a $750 In-kind contribution to create landscape design plans for a Wooded Walk outdoor classroom, accommodating approximately 45 people. The natural amphitheater will offer year-round outdoor programming on ecological and natural history topics relating to the watershed such as wetland plants, insect and wildlife along riparian areas, birding, stream health and leaf pack workshops to learn about geology.

—EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: Greene County Cornell Cooperative Extension, $1,884 with a $498 In-kind contribution to set up a rain barrel workshop that will be held at the Sugar Maples Arts Center in Maplecrest. The hands-on workshop will take place during Schoharie Watershed Week, May 17-23, 2010, providing materials and instruction for approximately ten families, teaching them to construct a rain barrel for home use. While the rain barrels will be fun to build, they will also be functional. The workshop will also introduce participants to methods of stormwater control, non-point pollution prevention and conservation of water resources in a residential setting.

—EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: the SWAC Education and Outreach Committee, $5,100 with an In-kind contribution of $4,125 to conduct a series of events, activities and workshops for people of all ages during Schoharie Watershed Week, taking place throughout the region. On tap will be a watershed-related film series (at the Hunter Theater in the town of Hunter), fly-fishing demonstrations, downspout disconnect programs, an Adopt-A-Stream clean up, a watershed scavenger hunt and kayak and canoe demonstrations.

—RECREATION/HABITAT IMPROVEMENTS: the Town of Windham, $15,000 with an In-kind contribution of $6,536 (and a potential to raise more in community contributions) to be used toward the creation of a multi-use, non-motorized trail on the Batavia Kill. The 1.1 mile loop trail will be built on a 68-acre parcel owned by the town at the former Police Anchor Camp, along Route 23, on the eastern outskirts of the hamlet district, allowing for improved access to the popular fishing stream. Bridge and boardwalk materials are needed to cross over a wetland and a tributary. A trail committee of local residents and business owners is planning the Windham Path with assistance from the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District.

–PLANNING & ASSESSMENT: the Town of Hunter, $35,000 with an In-kind contribution of $5,000 to conduct a detailed review of current land use regulations with an intent to adopt revisions and write new regulations and/or guidelines promoting low impact design, climate smart and smart growth principles. In the absence of zoning, the town is seeking to investigate, and adopt as appropriate, innovative land use practices which will be an incentive to achieve desirable future growth related to private housing, development and commercial enterprises.

–PLANNING & ASSESSMENT: the towns of Ashland, Jewett, Lexington and Windham and the villages of Hunter and Tannersville, $12,000 with an In-kind contribution of $21,500 from the Catskill Watershed Corporation to hold “Mountaintop-wide Better Site Design Plan Workshops.” The workshops will guide each community through a comparison of the local codes against model development principles using a consensus building approach. Model principles will then be compiled into a General Guide for Mountaintop Communities, facilitating specific recommendations for each community.

SWAC has thus far awarded a total of $518,957.50 in the first two rounds of programming, leaving $1.481,042.50 for future projects. The application deadline for round three is August 2, 2010, with approvals formally taking place on October 27, 2010. Projects awarded funding in round one included improving stream access along the Schoharie Creek in the town of Prattsville by constructing a parking area and installing floodplain drains under Vista Ridge Road in the Town of Jewett, reducing backwater conditions causing channel aggradation. Stormwater retrofits were approved at the Mountaintop Library in the village of Tannersville and Town of Hunter, reducing the quantity of, and improving the conveyance of, stormwater runoff, vastly improving water quality.

New York State trout season opens April 1

(The brook trout, left, and the rainbow trout, right, from DEC.)

From DEC:

“Trout season opens April 1 in New York State, and anglers can again look forward to a great year of fishing, thanks to the natural diversity of angling opportunities within New York and management of the state’s fisheries by DEC. Due to the existing snowpack and high flow in many of the state’s rivers and streams, anglers are urged to use extreme caution along slippery stream banks and while wading in high water. The early season is a great time to try some of the smaller tributaries. Smaller streams will have more manageable flows, and are also more likely to hold larger populations of wild trout. Although many of the larger, more popular streams are more reliant on stocked fish, last year’s relatively cool, wet summer promises plenty of holdover fish from last year’s stocking. Remember, everyone 16-years-old and over needs a valid fishing license to fish on any of New York’s waters. While children do not require a fishing license, adults who assist a child in taking or attempting to take fish, are considered to be fishing themselves, and therefore need to have a valid fishing license. Anglers and New York fishing tackle retailers are reminded that effective May 7, 2004, the sale of small lead sinkers weighing a half-ounce or less is prohibited in New York State. Selling jig heads, weighted flies, artificial lures or weighted line is not included in this prohibition. Although the law does not prohibit the use of lead sinkers of this size, anglers are encouraged to use non-lead alternatives which are readily available in tackle stores. Ingestion of lead sinkers can result in the death of loons and waterfowl. The general creel limit for brook, brown and rainbow trout is five fish. The open season for trout in most New York State waters runs from April 1 through October 15, but there are exceptions in all DEC regions, so anglers should check the Fishing Regulations Guide before heading out. There are also new procedures for fishing New York City reservoirs. Updated information and permit applications can be obtained using the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) link below, or by calling NYC DEP at 800-575-LAND.”