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Favorable fishing and weighing your catch

Judy Van Put
Posted 8/22/23

August has brought a taste of autumn weather with its welcoming coolness to the evenings and mornings, and some beautiful sunny days in-between rain showers and storms, filling our rivers and …

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Favorable fishing and weighing your catch


August has brought a taste of autumn weather with its welcoming coolness to the evenings and mornings, and some beautiful sunny days in-between rain showers and storms, filling our rivers and reservoirs.

On Sunday afternoon, August 20, 2023, the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at 1030 cubic feet per second. This is well above the Median average flow for August 20 of 117 cfs over 110 years of record-keeping. The Beaverkill crested at just below 4000 cubic feet per second last Friday. Interestingly, the lowest recorded flow on this date was back in 1962 when just 34 cubic feet of water trickled past the gauging station! 

Water temperatures over the past week have remained favorable, ranging from 59 to just over 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

As mentioned in last week’s Streamside, the trout have been experiencing a “good water year,” and as a result, have been growing well. The cooler water temperatures and increased volume have enabled trout to focus on feeding activity rather than seeking out cooler places in which to reside and limit their movement as they do in hot weather with low water conditions. Being cold-blooded creatures, the temperature of the water has a direct effect on trout growth, reproduction and survival.

With what has turned out to be a relatively cool and rainy summer, maximum trout growth is occurring, and the survival of wild trout is increasing. Anglers have been catching numbers of small wild brook and brown trout, which is a sign of a healthy river with favorable water conditions. Adult fish are growing larger as well, and these conditions may also increase the chances of holdover fish for next year. 

“Holdovers” are stocked trout that are able to survive the winter into the next season – and all of this adds up to better conditions for the fish as well as better fishing.

Have you ever wondered what a 12” brown trout might weigh? And did you know that a 12” brown will weigh about the same as a 12” rainbow, but slightly less than a 12” brook trout? You can find this information by visiting the NYS DEC website, “Use a Ruler to Weigh Your Fish” https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9222.html

It is possible to get an estimate of the approximate weight of your fish by measuring its total length from tail to mouth (for trout, hold the forks of the tail together and measure from the farthest tip) and then refer to the chart. Weights are based on the average measurements for each species of freshwater fish measured across New York State. In order to do so accurately, you must be able to identify the different species of trout. 

The beautiful Brook trout are colored on their sides with reddish spots inside blue “halos,” and dark “wormwood” markings on their back. The orange-colored orange fins along the belly have a black stripe with a distinct white edge.

Brown trout have mostly dark spots on a lighter background, with the body being generally brownish colored. The end of the upper jaw extends well past the rear edge of the eye, and the tail is square with few or no spots on it. Brown trout are sometimes referred to as “square tails”. There may be reddish-orange spots present, but no blue “halos.” 

Rainbow trout have dark spots on a lighter sometimes silvery background, with a pink or red “band” of color present on the sides. The tail fin will contain many dark spots, along with many small spots on the body.

Average weights for each species include:

12” Brook trout – 11 ounces

12” Brown or Rainbow trout – 10 ounces

15” Brook trout – 1 pound, 6 ounces

15” Brown trout – 1 pound, 5 ounces

15” Rainbow trout – 1 pound, 3 ounces

20” Brook trout – 3 pounds, 6 ounces

20” Brown trout – 3 pounds, 2 ounces

20” Rainbow trout – 2 pounds, 14 ounces

If you desire a “pound” of trout, you’ll have to catch a 14” Rainbow. For a two-pounder, a 17” Brook trout will do nicely.


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