by Leon Archer
Cortland County produced a real eye opener for me during New York State Outdoors Writers Association’s Spring Safari. I had never fished the area before and I was anxious to find out what the areas streams and ponds had to offer.
I fished two streams for trout and both of them were well worth my efforts. The first stream I fished was a small brook, which emptied into another stream that was a feeder for the east branch of the Tioughnioga River.
The stream was running high with rain water, but was still easy to navigate with only knee boots. It turned out to have a good population of native brook trout.
I caught several beautiful brook trout, but after catching three of them hooked so deeply that they could not be released, I decided to leave the rest of the inhabitants of that stream in peace.
At that point, I was not going to be back in Fulton for five more days and keeping a bunch of fish in good condition promised to be more of an inconvenience than I really wanted to deal with. One of the brookies I kept was a very handsome 12 incher.
The next day, I fished Factory Brook, a stream considerably larger than the one I had fished the day before — and the trout proved to be larger as well.
This stream does not get stocked unlike quite a few streams in the nearby area. The fish were natives. They had hatched in the stream and grown up in it and there were pretty fair numbers of brookies and browns.
The very first fish I caught in Factory brook was a 19-inch brown that was fat and sassy. He gave me a pretty good fight before I was able to lead him into shallow water where I unhooked him and measured him, before allowing him to race back into the swollen stream. I was glad I had hooked him lightly in the upper jaw.
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