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PatcrisciMarch 6th, 2010, 5:05 pm
Lagrangeville, NY

Posts: 119
i am thigh deep in 36-degree water slinging weighted wooly buggers. it's a zen thing. repetitive motion,lobbing a big olive mess of feathers and fur, to feel it tick bottom.
i strike at every hesitation on the chance it's a take, but my reflexes, dulled by winter, are slow. it will take me a good while to find my mojo. it usually does. maybe i won't find it today, maybe not until the end of the month, on an april day when the afternoon sun warms my face, and a few hendricksons are popping to the surface.

it's always different. no two fishing seasons alike. and opening days, well they are memorable rarely for fish, but more for long breakfasts, lingering with friends over endless cups of coffee.

"the hendricksons will be early this year." fishermen are optomists. we wait and dream. "they will show today before the sun flares and falls in the western sky."

sometimes they do. And if not, we will busy ourselves with memories of seasons past, dreams of a new season, reacquaint ourselves with a particular bend, discover a new eddy, relearn the feel of the fly ticking over rocks and the take of a trout.
Pat Crisci
KeystonerMarch 6th, 2010, 9:05 pm
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Well put.

I actually hate fishing on opening day. Shoulder to shoulder is definately not where it's at.

But I love the hanging out, standing by the fire, drinking beers well before noon, and the talking smack that is, opening day.

Here's wishing you a good one, bro.
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
PatcrisciMarch 7th, 2010, 6:52 am
Lagrangeville, NY

Posts: 119
hello keystoner. i too have enjoyed my share of "beers well before noon" on opening days, kicking the coals of camp fire and talking opening day triumphs and skunkings. Let's raise a virtual glass together and toast to opening day and a new season.
Pat Crisci
FalsiflyMarch 7th, 2010, 10:56 am
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 657
Let's raise a virtual glass together and toast to opening day and a new season.


cheers!!!!!!
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Jmd123March 7th, 2010, 12:15 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2411
On opening day I will be throwing flies at warmwater fish and leave the trout streams to the crowds. I don't typically catch anything when there's twenty fisherman trodding up and down the stream in front of me, and they don't seem to be catching anything either...Besides, the bass are usually starting to bed up and get much more aggressive by then, and not that many folks are fishing for them yet because they can't keep them. (No matter to this strictly catch-and-release fisherman!)

However, to those of you who do throw on the opener, I wish you quiet streams with few people and lots of mayflies, stoneflies, etc. I will be out there a few weeks later after the crowds die down. Good luck!!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchMarch 7th, 2010, 12:42 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2574
I've not fished an Opening Day on any of the Catskill rivers in about thirty years. Many of those rivers are open all year long, or at least have sections that permit fishing all year long, so for many the excitement of OD is more for the ritual rather than to actually fish. However since tomorrow the weather is going to be 54 degrees you'll find me on a certain stream in Centre County, PA.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PatcrisciMarch 7th, 2010, 3:51 pm
Lagrangeville, NY

Posts: 119
WB, I hear you. I have not fished an open in about 20 yrs myself, but am nostalgic for the ritual and symbolism surrounding the the day. It's just too damn cold and the trout, or any self-respecting trout, is moving as slow as I am. Depending on where you're fishing, and most of mine have been spent on streams of northern westchester or dutchess county in NY, opening day is downright ghoulish. It's fun to dream though, and to get reacquainted with favorite spots on a pet stream.
Pat Crisci
WbranchMarch 7th, 2010, 4:45 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2574
Hi Pat,

"but am nostalgic for the ritual and symbolism surrounding the the day."

I can clearly remember my very first Opening Day so long ago when I was just thirteen years old. My Dad took me to a little tackle store and bought me a pair of those welded seam plastic waders and a pair of hi-top sneakers. The next day we went to a place in NJ called the Pompton River it probably hadn't had wild trout in it since around before Columbus landed.

This was before good long underwear, decades before Thinsulate and other affordable cold weather clothing. I remember freezing my butt off for hours before the day finally began to warm up. I also vividly remember the two 9.0" trout that somehow decided they should eat the worm I had hanging in the current straight downstream from me.

He and I did the Opening Day bait fishing ritual for a number of years until I dicovered a stream called Big Flat Brook and we started to go there. We still froze, and I was still using worms, but I was learning more and catching far more trout. It wasn't until the early 1960's that I came over from the Dark Side and began to fly fish with my Dad on Opening Day. When I do finally step into the cold waters of the Delaware this spring I'll remember all those trips, and everything that Dad taught me, and wish we were still fishing those waters togeher.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
KeystonerMarch 8th, 2010, 1:27 am
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Consider the virtual glass raised. Best to all.
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
OldredbarnMarch 8th, 2010, 9:48 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Opening Day doesn't really start for myself and my fishing buddy until we have visited the Grayling Restaurant and had a swiss cheese omelette with hash browns and rye toast...I don't care when it is we finally get up there, it could be May, it just isn't an official fishing season until we've had our ceremonial breakfast...No horns, no bag-pipes, no aged liquids...Just two old farts over a damn good breakfast...Simple pleasures! If I'm really getting in to it there may be a piece of pumpkin pie for dessert...No matter how many times over the years I've answered "Just a little." My waitress has always ladled on the whipped cream...Yes, yes, yes!

Last year was an especially memorable one...Willy came up in the middle of my week, pounding on the door at 6:00am, we headed out to fish for a few hours and he told me that he had finally retired...I took him in to town to buy him some lunch and instead we ate the famous Opening Day breakfast...It's been 20+ and I swear they must have the same cook...It's never been different in all that time...

Tradition is never a fickle mistress...a message to you youngsters out there!

Spence

Many, many years ago Willy and I worked together driving truck for the Detroit Free Press while we were both working through the university. We both had rack keys and would open the rack in front of the Grayling Restaurant with our key, even after we had left the place years prior, and take out a paper...We would read it and place it back after breakfast.

P.S.S That reminds me of the famous missing stakes...At the newspaper we used to carry out to stations green rubber coated stakes that were used for rural routes and would have a plastic tube attached to hold the newspaper each morning...Every so often a few would somehow come up missing...There is a stretch along the famous Holy Water of the Au Sable where very similar stakes are holding up some very impressive trout structure...Hmmmm...What a coincidence, eh!?
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PatcrisciMarch 8th, 2010, 12:45 pm
Lagrangeville, NY

Posts: 119
I love hearing all of your stories about opening days. Like you, WB, I fished many openers in my early teens in weather cold enuf to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And yes, we dunked worms, and took some trout too. We fished Ten Mile River, Swamp River, Indian Brook and the Little Wappinger's Creek in Dutchess County, NY. A few years later, I got into fly fishing, fired up by Ted Trueblood's, Ed Zern's, AJ McClane's and others' articles in Field and Stream. I fly fished thu a few frigid and otherwise forgettable, openers too, on Amawalk Creek, East Branch Croton River, and Beaver Dam Creek which were managed catch and release, single hook lure or fly only. Who else has a good opening day story?
Pat Crisci
EricdMarch 8th, 2010, 6:15 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
I've had a terrible cold and fever for about three days. I've been on the edge of throwing up my hands and walking out of work for months. Corporate America is not for me. So, this winter I started tying for the first time and it's kept me complacent enough until the season began. Today I caught two cute, yes cute, Brookies on my own flies for the first time out this year. Ear to ear smiles all day since and I can't wait to call in sick soon to do it again. I am really sick this time.
Jmd123March 8th, 2010, 10:29 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2411
Eric, you are not sick, you are very well. It is the WORLD that is sick...And every so often you need to take a day or two off to get WELL.

Having fly-fished for steelhead all winter long - and STILL NOT CAUGHT ONE (!!!!!) - I won't really have an "opening day" this year, which is the first time since I lived in Oregon in '92-'93 (no steelhead there EITHER but a few nice sea-run cutts). Last year, "opening day" was about March 16th on a local lake in Troy - an old gravel pit, spring-fed, right next to a golf course and on which I have been fishing since 1974 (when I was 10). It had been a warm weekend and this was the first day it hit 60 F. So out I go with the #10 chartreuse Woolly Buggers and I caught 14 fish - seven crappie, six bluegill, and one 9" yellow perch that looked like a pregnant female (big swollen belly). You know, that's about a week from now, and it's been nice and warm and sunny here in Michigan lately...

Tight lines and dancing fish to you all on your respective opening days.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123March 8th, 2010, 10:51 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2411
P.S. I have struggled with Corporate America for over a decade and you have my sympathies. And BTW, guess who will be bailing out MY ailing industry (environmental consulting) with an influx of CASH$$?? The big bad socialist FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, who my friend and former boss (a Republican) is trying his best to get money from. The irony is killing me...He is a very environmentally aware guy, I have to give him a LOT of credit for that. He likes fly-fishing too, so he's very easy to get along with. I've known (and worked on and off for) him for almost 11 years now and he has expressed much trust and confidence in my abilities as a field biologist, to me as well as others. It's also a small business - like 4-6 people depending on how much of a workload they have coming in. If he gets some dough, I will be moving to somewhere between Tawas and Oscoda, which puts me into more fishing than I can do in my freakin' lifetime - streams AND lakes! Plus, the work will be FUN - he's an old fisheries research guy from CA with whom I have had the chance to do lake sturgeon reintroduction studies on the lower AuSable, fish surveys on lakes for management plans, water quality surveys, aquatic insect collection on the Pigeon River, botanical surveys of the Huron National Forest, etc.

While I' still waiting for that phone call, Eric I wish you luck in your dealings with your occupation, and keep fishing as it will keep your spirits. It's working for me and these stupid steelhead AREN'T EVEN BITING!!!

Jonathon :oD

P.P.S. Brookies ARE cute!! They are the "minnows" of the trout world.
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnMarch 9th, 2010, 12:07 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
I have been nosing around lately "Agawa Canyon" north of the Sault...They have 20"+ Brooks up there that will eat your "cute" ones as an appetizer...Google Agawa Canyon Outfitters...

I'm trying to figure out a way of getting my 78 year old stepfather up there on a fishing trip...You have to take a train out of Sault Ste Marie for a few hours and the train drops you off at some mile marker somewhere and they boat you across the lake...

Check out Kwagawa Lake Lodge...Now those are some brook trout!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EricdMarch 9th, 2010, 6:55 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Jonathan,
One of my corporate buddies and I have been vetching about work a lot lately. I respect him, so I don't give him too much shit about being as insane about golfing as I am about fly fishing for trout. We've both been visibly "down" about work. We have the same start time, so each morning we usually meet in the breakroom to read and talk for 15 minutes or so before the shift begins, him the reading the bad news press and me usually a book on fishing. Today he mentioned that he had his first outing "hitting balls" over the weekend (we both work Tuesday - Saturday) and I showed him a photo of the first Brookie I caught yesterday. All the corporate crap is much easier to deal with when I know that the trout are again fishable and for him the snow is gone enough to hit balls. (update: This website has also helped a lot with keeping me from going postal during the off-season. Thanks Jason and everyone else)

The other great thing about the 'spirit rising' rising trout is that I decided that tomorrow is the day that I ask/demand for a raise. I love you Trout!

Spence,

Hey punk, I didn't say how small the cute brookies that I caught were; 20" Brookies are just as cute as the 10" Brookies.
Jmd123March 9th, 2010, 10:27 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2411
Eric, you know what they say: a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work...

However, I actually really ENJOY my job - when I HAVE ONE, that is!! My problem is not the nature of my work, which involves me going outdoors into natural environments to give developers advice on what they should avoid and what they are going to need a permit for, etc. But rather, the FREQUENCY of the work. Everyone LOVES to talk about protecting the environment, but NO ONE wants to PAY for it. And I have had waaaay too many manager-types promise me the Sun, Moon, and stars and then within a few months to a few years say, "Sorry, Jonathon, we just don't have ANYTHING for you to do anymore!" Even though I am most certainly looking forward to going back to work, I have to wonder if I'm going to get F*CKED again in two years by people who can't seem to keep the workload coming in, no matter how hard I work and no matter how much praise I receive for my work. ???

But, you know, all of that bullsh*t just fades away to nothing when I have a fly rod in my hand and I am throwing over eager fish. It hasn't been many trout in recent years as I am just not very close to quality trout waters right now, but the sunfish of my youth, as well as bass, crappie, and perch, have come back to dance for me on the end of a fly line instead of spinning gear and worms. And I really have to think they are MORE FUN NOW on fly gear, especially putting little wet and dry flies over them in spring when they are really active and feisty. I fish a lake here in Troy and another (Cooley Lake) on which my best friends live, and last year I jumped some 5-lb. class largemouth on flies in both. THAT fishing is just about to start - as soon as the ice goes away...

Fishing is therapy. It purifies the soul. It makes everything else in life seem silly and insignificant. After all, we could all FEED OURSELVES from it if we had to! To me, it is an expression of the male hunting instinct - which is maybe why I enjoy stalking fish feeding on dries the most of all. And, I don't even have to KILL them!!

Keep your spirits up and keep on throwing those flies!!! Tight lines and dancing Hendricksons,

Jonathon

P.S. I lived in the Deep South (GA and TX) for 3 1/2 years and the sunfish down there get REALLY FREAKIN' BIG - like 10" and as big around as a SALAD PLATE. I actually had giant bluegill BREAKING 6X tippets on me once in Missouri!!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnMarch 10th, 2010, 9:44 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Eric,

"Spence,

Hey punk, I didn't say how small the cute brookies that I caught were; 20" Brookies are just as cute as the 10" Brookies."

Just tugging on your strike indicator there fella...Anyway...That's what she said, "Size doesn't matter..." He, he! I guess I'm just a size-ist...

Penelope Cruz...Now that's cute, wouldn't you agree?!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood

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