Much like every year anymore life is busy. I’ve got to cut wood, split, and stack wood
Enlarge and install the garden
Then you have turkey season which is a very high priority for me these days.
Plus the kids travel soccer and the fact that I very much dislike seeing other fisherman while I am out on an adventure (tough to avoid in April and early May)…..In the end it all lends itself to me starting my trout season quite late as compared to you diehards around here haha.
On May 29th I clicked ‘PROCEED TO CHECKOUT’ on my online purchase of a 2015 fishing license and trout stamp. No, I did not get an early bird special haha! Even though I hadn’t quite clicked over into fishing mode I figured it was about dang time I got out there and harassed some fish for the next few months until archery season starts up again. Unlike years past, things weren’t so cut and dry for me starting out. #1 – I’m still figuring out what I can and can’t get away with under my new post injury reality. So far I’ve been able to pretty much do everything but it all comes at a cost the next day. How will trout fishing be? #2 – waters were at the lowest level that I had seen since moving to the east coast of PA some 15 years ago. I recall a period of time in State College 17 years back when streams really never came up for a 24 month period of time, or at least it seemed that way. But it had been a long time since waters were so low in May. In the SE we’d had .28” of rain since April 18th. Parched would be an understatement. I’ve got low water aces in the hole for this very reason but even they have their limits and levels were at the very bottom end of productive in not a little past. My water level records are extensive and detailed. There are few surprises for me when I arrive at a stream. I know if the fishing is expected to be great, good, average, or difficult. It was approaching difficult status but I had no other options if I wanted to get started.
Even though I knew water would be low I put that all out of my head and pulled all of my gear together, which was scattered to the 4 winds, checked and double checked what I needed, and off I went. When I arrived the water was exactly what I expected to see. The overcast skies offered some optimism to the warm and humid morning. I decided not to wet wade as I just couldn’t bring myself to do so in May even though the air temp most certainly warranted it haha.
During the short walk to the water I encountered many Red Spotted Newt’s in their land stage. It won’t be long before this guy becomes an adult and spends the rest of his life in the stream I was about to fish.
Things started out fairly slow from a fishing standpoint as has been the case for many on these boards this season. This was a very familiar stretch and places I’d normally always cacaught trout simply weren’t producing. It was early so there was no way I was beaten to the stream by another angler. Since I had no other real options to bail to my patience were infinite….or at least they were till about 10 am haha.
I ended up fishing for about 3 hours that morning before my back started to say uh-uh. Since the fishing was a bit lack luster, 36 trout in 3.5 hours of fishing, I just figured it would be best to just head home and get some things done. 10:30am and off the water. Never an indication of a great days fishing. Regardless, it was a good thing to get out and shake off some rust and start the season.
FINALLY the rains arrived on Sunday afternoon and more followed on Monday the 1st. Enough that I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a ‘half day’ and head out the following morning before work. I’m glad I did because the morning was perfect. Water levels were good but not great and the fishing was the same at first.
Then though the fishing was good on the first stream (34 trout in 2.75hours) it just wasn’t enough for me to settle for. I just had a hunch that there was something better out there. Once a fly fisherman was kind enough to hop in the stream 50 yards in front of me even though there was 11 miles of other stream available I figured that that was enough of a sign to get me to move along. I’m glad I did.
The second stop was flowing great!
And the trout came to hand at a better pace than the previous streams pace.
Some of the trout in this watershed are quite striking with little bright red spots.
I wasn’t expecting it so early in the season but at 9:15 AM I entered the ‘zone’. It’s a period that happens a couple times a year. I equate it to being a trout vacuum sweeper lol. Every cast is perfect, every hook set is true, no fish escapes the hand, and the numbers grow remarkably fast. I was just hammering the trout. Not 2 casts would go by when I wasn’t reeling in a wild brown.
Eventually it was time to leave to get ready for work, which you can imagine was a very difficult thing to do, but over the previous 1 hour and 45 minutes I caught and hand released 78 wild browns. The action was showing no sign of stopping but my chariot was about to turn into a pumpkin and it was time to go.
The walk back to the truck was a rainy wet one which probably matched my attitude about having to leave. I was having so much fun trout fishing at that moment. Days like that, periods of time fishing like that, are why I do this. Making that great moment, having that day to remember forever. That’s why we put in all the hard work, study maps, keep records, build rods, spend $$$, go without sleep, ect. I do it all for those days. Those focus driven times when it’s just me against the stream and I win big! This day the trout got off easy as there was a lot of stream to go and plenty of daylight to do it in. Next time……….well, we’ll see