Friday, April 9, 2010

The Last Opening Day

...of April, that is!

Stream Trout Season opens the last Saturday of April in the Sierra District. It's the Calendar Event of Spring around these parts, the Official Beginning of Spring.

As often as not, snowstorms put the kibosh on the Opener, but given the right circumstances, it can be Epic!

It's been a couple of years since I actually fished the Trout Opener. Lately, saltier pursuits have captivated me piscatorially speaking...Looking back over a decade or two of Mountain Openers, there have been some wonderful times. One year in the Early 90's, BajaBabe and I fished opening day for planters in the Donner Memorial State Park...a bluebird morning, we laid on frozen snowbanks and dipped our offerings into Donner Creek...we had our limits before we'd had our fill of fishing!

The 1988 Opener was my highest in Elevation. I fished the Yuba River's South Fork atop Donner Summit. A few weeks earlier, I'd been lucky enough to go SnowCat Skiing with a friend who had his own Tucker SnoCat. On a beautiful Bluebird Morning, we drove north on a Forest Service Road just west of Castle Peak. We forded the South Fork of the Yuba, and in our wake, I saw dozens of big trout dart out from their hidey- holes to grab all the aquatic insects dislodged by the Tucker's Steel Tracks.

Weeks later, I made a beeline to that spot for the Opener. With SisterSweetly and BajaBabe in tow, we hiked out to that river crossing, and after hours of trying, while the girls played with a snow saucer, I caught a nice 14 inch rainbow. We snapped a Polaroid that shows my smile to be the same size as the trout!

That summer, I fished the Yuba's South Fork a couple of times a week...all wild fish, rainbows, browns and whitefish...I had an epic season...then I moved off the Summit and down to Truckee. In Truckee I had to get in the car to go fishing, so there was little "Impulse Angling"...sigh...

Wild, stream-bread Trout are so beautiful (and rare) that I don't target them anymore. Practicing Catch&Release is only marginally better for these fish...C&R makes the Anglers feel better about themselves, but it's not a Resource Management Plan. Making my new wild trout avoidance regime easier was our first fishing trip to Baja. Fishing in Baja is the Major Leagues compared to the trout stream Minors!

Baja is a whole other story!

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