Fishing season is quickly approaching, and anglers are getting excited about this years catch.

The DEC headed to Catherine Creek and spent the morning electrofishing, all in the process to sample the trout population. Equipment is used that sends a shock to the fish which makes them float up to the surface. They’re then netted and sampled one at a time, with some key aspects to look for.

“We’ll look it over to see if it is a mail or female,” said DEC Aquatic Biologist Brad Hammers. “We’ll check to see if it was spawned, or still had it’s eggs or milk. We’ll also check to see if it had a clipped fin, which can tell us whether it’s a wild fish or was naturally reproduced out in the stream. We’ll take lengths and a weight, and from that we can sort of get an idea of what condition the fish are in.”

Scales of the trout are also looked at in order to determine age.

“From the scales we can tell how old the fish is. By counting the number of rings on their scale, sort of like you do with a tree, we can get an idea of how fast the fish are growing,” said Hammers.

Checking for scars is part of their lamprey control program for Seneca Lake, and this year’s population seemed to have a concerning amount. Electrofishing was also used to make a forecast for what anglers can expect come April 1. From what was seen during this sampling, this year is not looking too good

Due to the unusually warm winter we had, the DEC is projecting that the fish have already made their way upstream. This of course is not good news for the anglers, but that decision of course is up to the fish.

“We never know what’s going to happen,” said Hammers. “I would anticipate there’s going to be fish here April 1. Definitely there will be some fish in the creek for people to catch, but probably not as many as the last couple of years we have had.”

If there is sudden cold spell, this could hold the fish off a bit longer. As of now, that’s not looking too good.