Monday, April 2, 2012


This wasn't our first, first. We've done the dance more times than I care to admit. There was a brief intermission some years ago while I was off playing soldier, but aside from that short hiatus, fishing the opening day of trout season has been - for some twenty odd years - our tradition. We're often relegated to dapping flies in the tributaries of the tributaries, as the main river is usually a turbid juggernaut on the opener. When she has obliged the early season advances of intrepid bug chuckers, she's been amiable company and a joy to fish.

I'm reminded of one such April 1st, five or six years ago maybe, when the river and weather gods conspired to shape a near perfect opener. The water was slightly off-color and perhaps a touch high, but otherwise perfect for streamers on a sink tip. The previous days' clouds had parted, and the sun warmed both water and anglers alike. The fish were eager. The big fish were even more eager. The day began with a 20" trout in my net, and finished with a much larger specimen spitting the hook and giving me the piscatorial equivalent of the middle-finger with its outsized pectoral fin.

Going further back, ten or twelve years perhaps, there was a similar opener. We swung big flies, on big water, for big fish, and this year was remarkable for all the same reasons. The weather was mild for a northeastern April, the company was affable, and the river was spot on. Everyone with whom I've spoken - bug chuckers and bait dunkers alike - reports having had a tremendous day. A few fortunate fly flingers even managed to find some fish looking up, and taking hendricksons - quite greedily - off the surface.

Alliteration aside, I suppose that the hope of fishing the big water is part of the charm of opening day. As much as anything else, the opener is about not knowing what the opener might bring. It's about fresh starts and second chances. It's about the hopeful anticipation that the river gods will smile us, and give us a first day to which we might compare all the days that follow.

1 comment:

Passinthru Outdoors said...

Great story and glad to see someone still relishes the opening day of trout season. I fish all year now, so opening day is not what it used to be for me. Thanks for sharing.