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April 5, 2016

Time to fish ... finally

Fish

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
After a six-year absence from fishing, Kevin Cute fishes at his favorite spot on Grout Brook in Scott on opening day Friday.

By JACOB DeROCHIE
Staff Reporter
jderochie@cortlandstandard.net

SCOTT — For the first time in six years, Kevin Cute of McGraw was able to wet his line in Grout Brook on opening day of trout season, which arrived Friday.
He was one of a multitude of anglers of all ages statewide who had prepared for the first day of trout season.
But for Cute, his son Coty and their two friends, James Miller and Chad Whible, the event held special significance.
Fishing on opening day has been a tradition of theirs for more than 29 years, a tradition which was interrupted by an accident Kevin Cute suffered six years ago.
“I fell about 20 feet to a concrete floor on a work site and landed on my neck and head,” he said Friday afternoon.
Cute had severe neck damage and a concussion and needed surgery to rebuild his neck with titanium implants. He also had to relearn everything he once knew — from talking and walking, to fishing.
This year Cute was ready and eager to get back out with his group and catch some fish.
“We always fish this creek (Grout Brook),” Miller said.
The four men arrived at their spot along the stream, known as “the hole” because it is deeper and therefore where the fish choose to lay eggs, very early Friday morning.
After they checked the spot and found it contained the rainbow trout they sought, they staked it out so nobody else would fish the same hole. This could ruin their chances of catching the full number of fish they wanted to catch. For rainbow trout, anglers are limited to catching three adult fish per day.
Eager to begin fishing, the group started dropping their lines in the water early in the morning.
“It’s about the camaraderie and getting out and enjoying nature,” Miller said. “It’s about hanging with your buddies and telling fish tales, in our case some of which are true and others not so much.”
While many anglers who fish for trout in small streams use fly fishing gear, Cute’s group were all using traditional fishing poles baited with flies, a technique Cute claims to have invented himself. Tying and using his own flies is what Cute prefers.
Using the traditional rod and reel with flies is something he started within the group, Cute said.
“I taught these guys how to fish using the open reel and flies,” he said. “At first it was fun, now they’re in competition.”
Fishing for trout is some of the most widespread fishing of any freshwater game fish. Trout can be fished from the shore or in boats in all different bodies of water. Wild rainbow trout spawn, or reproduce, in the spring, while other trout species in New York spawn in the fall, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation website.
Four species of trout are found in New York’s waters: brook trout, lake trout, brown trout and rainbow trout.
During spawning, females use their tails like a fan and create a bed at the bottom of the water to lay their eggs. During this time, males circle the area to protect the female and scare off any competitors.
Soon after the eggs are laid and fertilized, the adults move on, leaving the eggs to hatch and the young to grow by themselves.
It is this time of the year during the run, or the period of time that the trout move into the streams to reproduce, that anglers try their luck at catching a few of the mature adults.
By mimicking the fish’s food sources of aquatic insects and competitor fish eggs, anglers try to fill their daily limit of fish.
Cute said Friday he had already been lucky enough to catch three rainbow trout during the day, but he chose to release the fish back into the stream.
For his son, Coty, opening day was a success. Coty Cute caught three grown rainbow trout. One of these was a whopping 22-inch male rainbow, a smaller fish than his current record of 27 inches.
Miller was lucky enough to hook two rainbows, and Whible was still trying to hook his first fish of the day.
“We do all right on opening day. One year it’s good (fishing), the next it’s bad,” said Miller.
The smile on Kevin Cute’s face as he threw his line into the stream time and time again showed just what opening day means: friends, fish and memories that will be talked about for years to come.

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