The Trout Anti-opener

The Trout Anti-opener

Easterncaster | Tuesday, 13 April 2021

April first, opening day of trout season in New York state can be somewhat of a big deal, especially in the Catskills with all the fishing history and traditions. Is it bigger than a Stones concert? Yeah no. Do the non-fishers even notice? Maybe. The local newspaper probably had a back page article about it that some glanced at as they flipped through the pages looking for information on baseball's opener. While out on errands they may have noticed a few guys standing in the river. Maybe not. If opening day falls on a weekday, it's a soft opening; Saturday draws the numbers, and then the non-fishers would notice a handful of cars lined up next to a well known pool for the traditional 'First Cast' where a politician or dignitary throws out the first fly as a bundled-up, coffee cup holding audience stands off to the side behind the local paper's camera crew. SLP is never mentioned.

The Catskill Fly Fishing Museum & Center invites all for an opening celebration on the first weekend. The usual suspects gather to cast cane creations and to bullshit, mostly about the upcoming Hendrickson hatch. The morning of I gave a casting lesson down river and then after paused in at the museum to say hi to a few friends and pick up a copy of pal Per Brandin's striking new book, "A Fly Rod With a Soul - The Bamboo Fishing Rods and Life of E.C. Powell, Angler". Spring gave us a pretty nice day to enjoy but attendance was off because of the virus situation - the overall vibe felt pretty good yet with an underlying dose of reticence. Fair enough.


Visit over, off I went to go fishing. Quite happily, my opening day this year did not involve trout. Last year changed things for me. With so much of my work as a guide and casting instructor cancelled or put on hold I was free to fish and explore by myself (a topic for another FP).  So on this opening day I went looking for Carp, realistically their water, with likely edges and flooded shoals - places that will come alive with the warming water of late spring. What I found were Smallmouth bass - gobs of. The bass bite was strong. Dare I brag: a fish on every cast. Bass are a good tell for carp. Later in the year the bass will annoy the shit out of me with their swiping ways, stealing my carp presentation, but today they were mighty fine.