LE ROY — Trout fishing started Thursday in New York, and one of the best trout streams in the state is down on the Oatka Trail in Le Roy.
The bridge on the trail is typically filled with fishermen — and the stream itself has a history.
“The neat thing about the trout season here is that it is tied into the history of the Caledonia fish hatchery because that’s where Seth Green started the whole idea of breeding trout and fish,” said Le Roy Historian Lynne Belluscio. “He was a pioneer in that field. The hatchery over there is on the national register.”
The Caledonia fish hatchery was constructed in 1864 and Green spent most of his life introducing shad, salmon, trout and a variety of other fish to rivers and streams nationwide, before dying in 1888.
That’s when Le Roy native James Annin entered the picture, doing a lot of research on how to fish.
“He made his own fishing reels, he tied his own fishing ties,” Belluscio said. “How it started really is part of the history of this area.”
Annin built his own private hatchery near Spring Street in Caledonia, which was close by to the state one. Belluscio said fish from both hatcheries would be sent all over the world.
“They had a train car that was there next to the fish hatchery and they would fill that train car tank with fish, and ship it out,” she said. “Eventually when there was trucks, they’d use trucks.”
Oatka is inhabited primarily by brown trout, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. But other fish game fish such as black bass or northern pike are also present.
Gary Wadamas, from Geneseo, was at the Oatka Trail with his friend, Jerry Sattora, also of Geneseo, around 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. They had arrived around 8 a.m. and Wadmas had caught around a dozen fish while Sattora caught around 15 to 20. To catch the fish, they use salted minnows, wax worms, red worms and spinner baits. Trout are more sensitive to colors and hook size.
“I enjoy the finesse,” Sattora said. “You have to keep changing your weights, bait and presentation.”
Wadmas said he loves bass fishing, but trout fishing opens before it, so it gives him a chance to get outdoors and enjoy the weather.
“I’ve been coming (to Oatka Trail) for probably the last four years,” he said. “When I was really young, my father used to bring me up here. Then I quit trout fishing for a lot of years, and just got back into it four years ago.”
Sattora has been trout fishing for the past 50 years, getting into it from his father.
The DEC annually stocks 11,200 brown trout in the creek, primarily along Oatka Trail Road in Genesee County and the Scottsville Village Park in Monroe County.
Oatka Creek is managed under special regulations. The DEC recommends people check its Fishing Regulations Guide for more details.