Sunday, April 8, 2012

Opened on Easter

Anymore these days, trout opener is less about fishing on the day the season opens and has become more of a tradition for a few old buds to get together. 
It started back around 1999 (maybe a year sooner) when a few of us really started to embrace the last Saturday of April on our Ontario Rivers.  It started off as a day trip but soon turned into a two day affair. (Really, I think there was an underlying excitement of getting away, consuming copious amounts of alcohol and acting immature.) In most recent years, we decided to push this event a day up and fish the open sections of the river before the entire waterway was to open up. Guys would come and go but there is still the core group that have carried on this tradition. We have all found ourselves quite busy these days. So busy that the probability of the four of us being available at the same time is so low that you may have a better chance at winning a free donut or coffee on Roll up the Rim at Tim Horton’s. 

Unbelievable. I looked at the flow data, the weather forecast and with all of us confirming our attendance; this could be it.  So what that it’s not the actual day of the opening season. Further, we would be fishing a US river that does not have restricted seasons. Hell, we weren’t even staying overnight. The main point was that we all got together to share a drift. Finally! This day would be proclaimed as “Opener 2012”.

I heard the rumblings on the morning drive. “Why the hell are we going so early?” (Grumpy old men) I'll admit now, it was but hey, early bird gets the worm, right? “We won’t make first light. We haven’t done so in the last eight years!” True enough. The sun had cleared the horizon when we were putting on our waders. There was only one other angler at the big pool and he hastily picked up and left when we showed up.

We pretty well had the entire section of river for the morning. Only around noon, did a few anglers pass us on their way back from what they said was “a wasted hike upriver….. Just a few jacks are all we got”. Perhaps they were just saying that though after a brief conversation, they seemed genuine with the information they shared. Since they had pounded the water we were considering, we decided to move on to a different access point but not until after Rob (just had to) step into a drift that Brent had released a fish, flogged further and given up. In what I call a cowboy move (walking in immediately after others have fished a run, make one drift and hook up), Rob would hook a very angry fish that aggressively challenged him into shin deep water; and we still had a difficult time controlling it.
A mix of jacks and spent adults proved to us why we love this so much. Add in some giant coarse fish and decent smallmouth bass, and the fun can be endless. When that float drops and you feel that initial take, you have no idea what hit. I got schooled by two big trout, one of them towards the end of the day. Ironically in similar fashion, I got to see both of them as they left the water. They took my offering with them sending just the terminal tackle back. It’s odd that from a distance, the entire fish goes aerial yet what stood out was their eye for those few seconds.
Opening day usual marks the near end of the spring migration but I am sure there are many fish still in most systems. I may forgo my favorite runs for dropbacks or hopes of some very late fresh spring runners and shift the focus to smaller creeks and tributaries with the 5wt. Guess I should start tying.


  1. Nice Photo's Gil...I really like the second one!
    Will the home waters fish for our "opener"? Hard to say...There just may be a couple kicking around but then again will there be any water?
    What an unusual spring to say the least! Thank goodness for US options.

  2. Very nice report on what sounds like it was a very productive day. As I have said in the past, most days on the river are not about the fishing, but the companionship and events of the day that make it fun.


  3. Nice work my Friend! That is a great day with lots of bonuses for sure. Great Pics! I love the jumpers, and it is interesting how you remember only fragments of the event. Good stuff!

  4. Pretty Fish Gil..well done.
    I don't think that I will fish this least for Steelhead. I have been itching for some flyfishing..hopefully Morin will get dialed in on the Michigan skinny and we can pursue that end of things.

  5. Thanks guys. A big part of me is hoping that either most fish have dropped out or the little bit of rain in the forecast will translate into some high water highways for the rest of them to clear by/or on opening weekend. It would be good for the future of the fishery to evade the meat hunters of the weekend circus. This and the fact that I will be Guelph at a soccer tournament and not fishing. LOL