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By Rich Johnson

The Long Island and New York trout season closed on November 30th, but anglers looking for some action on these dynamo’s can still find some winter time action. In Nassau County, the DEC Freshwater Fisheries Division has a "special regulations" trout program. The DEC set a program to coincide with Fishing Festivals, and each fall the DEC stocks a combined 3,500 brown, brook & rainbow trout into Nassau County waters to keep anglers busy with some awesome winter trout fishing. The special regulations set up for these particular bodies of water are simple. You can fish for trout legally year round using any legal hook and line method for a three fish bag limit and no minimum size.

Trout stocked for this special regulation season are "put & take" trout weighing from 1 to 3 pounds. Trout are not expected to reproduce naturally here because there are no streams or creeks for them to do so. The DEC wants you to take these trout home for the dinner table so there’s no pressure to catch & release everything. However, you should take just what need for dinner and have fun with the rest.

Stocked trout can holdover by finding water deep enough in these ponds to accommodate their critical comfort levels. When I spoke with DEC aquatic biologist Greg Kozlowski, he said, "trout stocked for this special regulations area can and do, holdover when conditions are favorable. We encourage anglers to keep fish as we get closer to the end of spring and beginning of summer, just in case.

BAITS. While these stocked trout may have originated in a hatchery, they are not dummies when it comes to being fooled. It may be easier to fool them soon after stocking, but they do assimilate rather quickly and learn fast what to eat or not eat. Best bets are always the old standby and favorite, the simple garden worm. Hooked once through the collar, this tasty temptation is hard to resist. Whether it’s a stocked "brookie" or wary brown, the garden worm is king. Other baits to use this spring are meal worms, wax worms, shiners and small killies. Berkley Power Baits worked close to the bottom produce very well and should be given a fair shot. In McDonald Pond, all baits from marshmallows to dough balls have all caught trout.

WHERE TO GO. Best areas are the North Twin Lake in Wantagh, South and McDonald ponds in Rockville Centre (Hempstead Lake State Park) and Massapequa Reservoir. You can use a Hagstrom Atlas for Nassau County to find any of these trout waters. For more information, call the DEC Freshwater Fisheries at 516-444-0280.

SHOW SEASON. The winter show season is just around the corner, starting with the NY Boat Show, January 8-16, the Sportfishing Expo at the Nassau Coliseum January 27-30 and the Nassau Coliseum Boat Show in February. Now is the time to send your SASE with your request for free tickets to the show you would like to attend. If you do not enclose a SASE you will NOT be eligible and you may not receive tickets to more than one (1) show.


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