March can be a tough month for outdoor enthusiasts here in central New York. Winter sports are coming to an end with the change of weather. Yet those who bank on spring weather and spring activities often find it wiped out the next day or two by wind, cold temperatures and a flurry of snow. Witness the changes over the past week or two with fluctuating temperatures and alternating snow
and windy conditions.
A thaw would make ice fishing unsafe, ruin end-of-season snowmobiling or cross-country skiing, or even make hiking or outdoor photography difficult. About the time we thought of some activities like late season coyote hunting, snowshoeing, or rainbow trout fishing, the weather would turn freezing with strong gusty winds and snow. biting.
Well, we’re used to it and find activities to keep us busy, like getting our fishing gear ready, visiting an indoor shooting range, or catching up on our reading. You have to be tough and flexible to live in central New York, but it’s worth it.
Earlier this week there was plenty of snow in cross-country areas like the Central Adirondacks or downhill areas like McCauley Mountain and other Adirondacks ski resorts. Consult the weather service before you go. Keep in mind that areas at higher elevations and within the snowbelt will always have greater snowpack. If you’re hiking in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, you’ll need snowshoes or cross-country skis for travel. Here is a sample of the snow depths: Goodnow Road, Minerva – 15 inches, Tahawus, Newcomb – 21 inches, Blue Ridge, Newcomb – 18 inches, Lake Colden – 37 inches and North Lake Road, Town of Ohio – 19 inches.
There are avalanche warnings in the backcountry, especially the high peaks. The warmer weather melted snow packs and made conditions dangerous. The same melting of the snowpack has created flooding, especially at the level of streams or runoff on the high peaks.
Fast water makes water crossings dangerous and also creates the danger of hypothermia.
Long Lake and other lakes are unsafe for snowmobiling due to soft ice. All roads in the Black River Wilderness are now closed to snowmobiling due to lack of snow cover and loose ground conditions. Many snowmobile trail systems, such as the Old Forge system, report “marginal” trail conditions for riding with four inches of packed snow or ice, but bare gravel spots and a lack of fresh snow for grooming. .
Here in central New York, much of the snow is gone and what will come is melting fairly quickly. However, areas north and south of the mountainous region have significant snow banks that will take longer to melt. As they melt, they will provide cold water that will make streams high, cold and muddy.
Although these streams are now open to catch-and-release fishing with artificial lures only, large sections of them will be too high and fast to use artificial lures effectively. But hopefully by April 1, conditions will be better for bait anglers.
Remember that the new trout fishing and release season only applies to trout streams and not ponds and you must use artificial lures.
During this time you can use your time by changing the line on your reels.
Line, especially monofilament, deteriorates over time and becomes brittle. You don’t want to lose that trophy trout by having it break a tippet or break leader. A line stripper and winder to help you get the line straight on the reel is a good investment.
Most of us have spare spools for our various reels and can use them to fill
with different line types or tests.
Different lines and materials have different characteristics. For example, some monofilament lines are listed as abrasion resistant. True, but it’s stiffer and doesn’t sink as easily. Monofilament that is listed as soft or limp will cast better but is not as abrasion resistant when fishing along sharp rocks or other rough objects.
Braided or gel-spun lines have low stretch and higher strength for a smaller diameter, but are difficult to tie. They tend to slip unless you use a palomar knot on your lure. Fluorocarbon lines have less visibility but are also difficult to tie. Do your research, maybe have different types or strengths on different coils.
Take the time to tie the leaders for your jigs and when you break one while fishing you can simply tie it to the end of your regular line or use a clip to tie it quickly. Have a small stand with heavier fluorocarbon leader jigs to use when fishing for pike or other toothy critters. It’s easier and faster to do it in your workshop than on your boat or kayak.
Are your flies or even your spinners’ dressings tangled, tangled and dirty? If so, now is the time to rejuvenate them by holding them with large tweezers or long needle-nose pliers in front of the stem of a kettle. Then hang them on a strip of polystyrene (I hope you kept some before the ban) to dry them. It is also a good way to take inventory. Remember that the blades of teaspoons or spoons are often
tarnished. Now is the time to clean them with a dab of silver polish or toothpaste.
Working on getting your fishing gear ready might not be the most exciting task, but it is necessary and helps pass the time. Other March activities include saving or organizing your photos, fishing for rainbow trout, trying new recipes, repairing boats, and finding lost wood.
Whenever the weather permits, take a walk or go fishing. It may not be perfect, but it’s an escape from work responsibilities and the hassles of life in general. Walking on an abandoned path or road, especially along a stream, is a release from the mental pressure valves we face with illness, economic uncertainty, hostility from political polarization, pandemics or the tragedy of Ukraine. For a while everything is fine
with the world.
Day-old pheasant chick program
Applications for the day-old pheasant chick program must be submitted by March 25.
Today, day-old chicks are freely available to any New Yorker who can provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site. Release sites must be open to public pheasant hunting opportunities and chicks cannot be released into private game reserves. Participants should provide daily care for the fast-growing chicks, ensure the chicks have enough feed and water, and monitor their health. Apply online. Call 607-753-3095 for assistance or information.