Readying for the trout opener
I’m giving some serious thought to actually making a few
ceremonial casts this April 1 when New York’s trout season kicks
off. That may not seem too outrageous, but get out a map and find
Elizabethtown and you’ll see it probably borders on insane, since
March can bring some of our heaviest snowfalls and there’s no
guarantee I’ll be able to find much more than a pocket of open
water here and there.
But I don’t care, quite frankly. It’s been a long winter, I have
some new fly-fishing equipment – some of which Paula is aware of
and some, with the name Sage on it, she’ll hopefully just think of
as something that’s been tucked away in the closet for some time
now. And I really want to snake a couple brook trout from a local
stream. Some of that is just to prove it can be done in what’s
still usually considered winter up here, and some is to prove I can
still do it after sitting around all winter doing little more than
pounding out copy, watching TV and eating way too many chocolate
Thankfully, you don’t really have to get in shape for trout
season. Get the gear around, check the weather, then say to hell
with it and go fishing anyway.
That’s what probably will happen April 1; you just can’t count
on a sudden burst of spring. And if you get that in the form of
temperatures that struggle that way into the, say mid-50s, that
will likely create the kind of high water that will make fishing a
real challenge, if not outright dangerous on the wrong river.
So you want that in-between kind of day when the runoff isn’t
surging but you also don’t need to have your driveway plowed before
you go fishing. That can be pretty discouraging.
I really think, though, that if I can find some streams – I
already have one in mind – that are at least partially iced-out but
not yet roaring I can pick up a brookie or two. Who knows? Maybe
I’ll have a field day and skitter several brightly-colored, albeit
small, wild trout into my hands.
It’s the kind of craziness you don’t really want to put on
display; trudging through the snow along the bank of a stream while
normal people head to work or downtown to the grocery store. But
I’m way past that stage and am pretty sure by now, after nearly 12
years, most townsfolk already have me pegged as a little goofy.
After all, I’m regularly out the door in the middle of the night
during turkey season, generally have three Labrador retrievers
poking their heads out the truck window as I drive through town,
work at home and occasionally forget standard public dress code and
go to the post office in my boxers. So some mid-winter fishing
isn’t going to cause anyone to summon the mental health department
of the local hospital. After all, it’s just Steve.
Well, “Steve” might just surprise himself on April 1 by catching
a brook trout or two. The game plan is set: weighted nymphs – some
of which I’ve tied myself – fished slowly, deep. Hit a couple
spots, grab a cup of coffee, hit a couple more.
Opening Day. I find myself saying it aloud often these days.
I’ll be out there – weather permitting. Well, sort of.