At the Tremperskill Country Store in Andes, anglers were stopping by Monday to pick up containers of fresh Monday as they headed to local streams in search of trout.
Delaware County, set in the western Catskills, is renowned for having some of the best freshwater fishing spots in the eastern United States. And the fishing opportunities that beckon sportsmen to the region could become even better thanks to a $600,000 stream restoration program being promoted by Trout Unlimited.
The organization was chosen by the Millennium Stream Improvement Fund, a program of the Millennium Pipeline whose natural gas transmission system runs through the Southern Tier, to administer local projects that are designed to improve the habitat for brook trout and other cold water species.
“This is a very good thing because it improve the quality of water and help with the spawning and propagation of trout,” said Dave Plummer of Sidney, a leader of the Oneonta-based Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Trout Unlimited believes the restoration projects will improve fishing opportunities by reducing stream temperatures, increasing habitat and reducing the amount of sediment that flows into the streams.
“This is a unique opportunity to work on a number of streams that are important to anglers in New York state,” said Elizabeth Maclin, Trout Unlimited’s vice president for eastern conservation. “Known as the birthplace of American flyfishing, this area is a destination for many thousands of fishermen and women each year. Restoring and improving these waters is good for both streams and for those that fish them.”
The stream improvement projects will include plantings, installing wood structures in the streams to improve stream flow, stabilizing the streambanks and replacing culverts that are a barrier to fish passage. The work will be completed later this year.
The location of the projects include Sands Creek, an important spawning tributary of the West Branch Delaware River in Delaware County. Additional Delaware County projects are also being developed on Russell Brook and Horton Brook, tributaries of the Beaver Kill.
Plummer said the West Branch is “the prime fishing place in Delaware County.”
There are several other streams outside the county that will also benefit from the same project. They include the Cohocton River in Steuben County, Newtown Creek in Chemung County, Owego Creek in Tioga County and Spring Brook in Orange County.
When the pastime of fishing benefits from such projects, it also lifts businesses that cater to anglers, such as the Tremperskill Country Store run by Candy and Eddie Chin, who stock a variety of bait and tackle.
“It’s great to hear they will be improving the streams,” said Candy Chin as she took delivery of a load of fresh minnows from bait supplier Jeff Hatlee, operator of Off the Beaten Path in Central Bridge, Schoharie County.