Whether you fish them on a fly, spinner or bait, trout and their relatives have fascinated anglers around the world for generations. They are the centerpiece of many lake and river ecosystems, as well as popular recreational and food sources. Their beauty, color and life history make them prized for their own sake as well as for the role they play in the local economies of their home countries. These facts are the inspiration for this section, which features a series of species spotlights to educate readers about the taxonomy, habitat requirements and conservation status of trout and char.
This month we spotlight spotted seatrout, a species that provides year-round action for inshore fishermen in bays, estuaries and nearshore ocean waters. A hard-charging fish, spotted seatrout feed on shrimp and other crustaceans and generate a combustible combination of visual and audible stimuli that lure anglers to the water. A slender, saltwater-adapted trout, they can be caught with artificial baits and live shrimp under a popping cork. A bait-fishing approach yields some of the best surface action, with double- and even triple-digit catches common. Kamchatka and New Zealand offer a number of extraordinary fishing opportunities. However, the crown jewel of these two geographical regions is far more likely to be found in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, where sheep ranchers stocked German brown trout in tributaries of the Rio Grande in the 1930s without dreaming that some of those fish might swim all the way to the ocean and become some of the world’s finest sea-run brown trout.
This is an extremely valuable work produced from amazingly detailed research. Ed Van Put, a fisheries biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, has long been one of our region’s premier trout writers and historians, and Trout Fishing in the Catskills stands as his magnum opus. During the time it took him to complete this volume, Van Put retraced the footsteps of hundreds of Catskill legends, gleaning extensive detail from newspaper accounts.
The result is a record of the changes that have taken place in one of the first regions to become a managed fishery, from the establishment of numerous tanneries to declining stocks and the introduction of brown trout, through resurgences attributed to improved regulations, increased stockings, and the development of fly fishing. It’s a fascinating book that makes a compelling argument that trout have never been more abundant than they are now, and that the future looks even brighter. It is a must-have for any trout lover’s library.