It was the ride to the office yesterday that finally triggered that physical feeling that Opening Day is upon us. Despite the early hour — 0600 or so — the ride was comfortable, not too cold and not too warm. The sun was already burning away the coastal overcast, leaving behind clear skies.
Then it hit. Smack dab in the middle of my face shield. The first bug of the season. If I were to guess, I’d say something in the family Chironomidae. Trout food, particularly as pupae.
Until last year, it was imperative to depart Opening Day Saturday, immediately after assisting with a fly fishing class that I’ve been involved with for quite a while.
What changed? I’m certainly not self employed like the Unaccomplished Angler or retired like Mark (@Northern California Trout) and able to traipse off to fish whenever I’d like. I do, however, accrue a healthy number of vacation days at work and now consider it impolite to not use them.What’s truly changed is my attitude about the start of trout season. Perhaps a modicum of maturity can now be ascribed to my fly fishing. Rather than stand shoulder to shoulder with anglers from “the dark side,” there’s a certain challenge in arriving on the few fishable waters in the western slopes of the Sierra the Monday after the Saturday opener. (According to Mark, this year more anglers may be crowded on less available water due to snow and ice at higher elevations.)
The more accessible waters have been flogged and the fish traumatized by flashy spinners and DayGlo baits, making it all the more challenging and satisfying to hook and land the fish
too smart for not caught by these other anglers.
I hope to also visit Stream X, where unmolested wild rainbows likely will attack anything that remotely looks like food. It’s a bonus that this is the time of year when much of the fishing crowd won’t be out during the work week.
So, Opening Day I’ll be helping folks learn how to play and land fish on a fly rod. Sunday I’ll spend time with The Wife. Monday through Friday I’ll be fishing.
See you on the water.