Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Another opener observed

Paula and I didn’t have too many options for our ceremonial
trout season kickoff, which we made a day after the traditional
April 1 kickoff, since it was snowing steadily on that day, a wet,
sticky snow which, now that I think of it, didn’t really stick at
all.

You don’t have any crowds to contend with up here in early April
when you take to the water. You just hope there is water, since
most of it is still locked up tight as winter continues its vice
grip on the North Country. You can, actually, find a few spots
where you can make a legitimate cast in an area where you’ve
probably even caught trout in the past. But you’re mentally
prepared for the prospect of standing on a mini-iceberg when you
make those casts.

Getting to the water is often a challenge in itself. The stream
we really wanted to fish, where we thought we might actually catch
a holdover stockie or wild brook trout, was fairly inaccessible,
thanks to a road that isn’t maintained during the winter. The
two-mile hike into the fishing spot would be manageable and we’d
probably consider it if the water temperature was in the 50s and
the trout were active. But on this day – 42 degrees in the air, 38
in the water – it wasn’t worth the long-shot possibilities that
existed.

Instead, we journeyed just outside of town to a spot where we’d
had some luck in the past. It’s a pretty little stream but we’ve
never really had any memorable days on it. Maybe it’s just too
close to town. It’s the kind of trickle where you might see a
12-year-old kid pedaling up the road on his bike with a stringer
full of small brookies, and you smile and say good for him, then
drive down the road a bit and think some more and say to yourself,
hey, they were my fish. And you know he probably didn’t catch any
of the tough ones, but he snaked out most of the easy fish. And all
of a sudden the place doesn’t seem to produce like it once did.

But that’s where we ended up, slogging our way through snow that
seemed like molasses, greeted by superb water conditions, save for
the ice-cold temperature. Then we thought about it and realized the
water flow was ideal simply because there hadn’t been enough runoff
to make a difference, and it was still pretty much winter.

But hey, they catch steelhead on days like this, don’t they? So
we fished, dredging beadhead nymphs through every likely holding
area, spots where we’ve connected on better days. We knew we’d have
to run the fly pretty much into the trout’s nose, since they’d be
pretty sluggish holding under a chunk of ice.

Nothing really happened. No sign of a strike. No fish spotted.
It didn’t take long before we realized we did get some exercise,
fished enough to convince ourselves we still know how to do it, and
actually made a couple casts and drifts where we said, damn, a fish
should have hit that.

That was enough. Another season had begun, better days lay
ahead, and there were better waters to try. But probably not for a
couple weeks.

It’s like that up here in early April. But hey, the season is
open. You have to get out there and try, don’t you?

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