Frank's Opening Day 2017 - The Outdoor Community
  • 3 Post By FrankTroutAngler
  • 1 Post By Trout 2003
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
Regular Member
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,220
Back To Top
Frank's Opening Day 2017

Frank’s Opening Day 2017

When I was a kid growing up in the 1960’s, my Dad, three brothers and I called the Opening Day of trout season “The First Day.” The day was much anticipated. Rock dams were built (a practice I don’t recommend today) in Beaverdam Creek and Smoky Run, two small streams within easy walking distance of our home in northern Bedford County, to make places for the trout to congregate and remain after being stocked. I recall my mother not being especially happy with us playing around in the streams building dams in the cold of late March and early April.

We had all of the major “holes” named. The Stump Hole, Butternut Tree Hole, Brush Hole, Pipe Hole, Big Curve, Little Curve, Creighton’s Hole, Dog Box Hole, and John’s Hole, to name a few, were all known by name to each of us and other local kids our age. After the trout were stocked a couple weeks before the season opener we thoroughly scouted the pools and fed the trout white bread. Disappearing balls of white bread deep in the murky green water meant the trout were there. Sometimes there were so many trout in a pool that when we fed them the water boiled with trout taking floating pieces of bread. Knowing about a pool like this sure made the sleeping difficult the night before The First Day. A common question among us was, “Where are you going to start this year?”

On The First Day there was the usual brotherly competition to see who would catch the most trout, as well as the biggest trout. Sometimes twenty to fifty trout or more were caught by one of us (not me) and released to be caught on another day. Many childhood memories were created, including the time I caught three trout on a tiny yellow-dotted, black-bodied, gold Panther Martin spinner on the drop before I even reeled in on one First Day at Frank’s Hole. I recall my brother John getting a little perturbed at me for interrupting his fishing by yelling for him to come downstream, from you guessed it, John’s Hole, to unhook the trout for me, his little brother.

But gradually we all got older and the significance of the day lessened, similar to Christmas morning, Easter morning, and even the First Day of Buck Season. Like most people, we moved away from the area after college, some farther than others. I returned a few times, but it just wasn’t the same without the familiar faces around.

For many years after this I developed a new tradition by fishing Vanscoyoc Run in Blair County on The First Day. I’d sit at a pool beginning about 6:30 a.m. hoping to have it to myself, and then crank out a bunch of trout on spinners when the magic hour arrived. Gradually though, I realized that casting spinners in a pool packed with other anglers was dangerous, plus there were a lot of kids fishing there and it seemed selfish to me to catch trout that they may have caught, especially when I now fished year-round and the significance of the day had greatly diminished.

For the past ten years or so I’ve pursued wild trout on Opening Day to avoid the crowds, but often fished a stocked stream in the afternoon after the crowds had thinned if the wild trout fishing wasn’t particularly good. I enjoyed doing this because I felt it was good to remind myself each year of how much more I enjoy fishing for wild trout than stocked trout, though there is certainly nothing wrong with fishing for stocked trout. They have their place and present a different challenge than wild trout.

This year I chose a popular non-stocked limestoner for Opening Day, figuring most of the regulars would be fishing stocked creeks and I’d have the place to myself. As followers of my ramblings on this website know, I much prefer catching wild trout, like this brown,

or this native brookie.

Well, I did have the stream to myself, but the trout must have thought Opening Day was the next day because they weren’t hitting very well. Two stops and only 23 small wild brown trout in 3.25 hours was my signal to pack it in and head to a stocked stream. Luckily, the day was still young since I had started fishing at daybreak rather than 8:00 a.m. About the only thing special on this morning so far was finding the rich, streamside forest floor covered with a pretty wildflower, lesser celandine.

At a little after 11:00 a.m. I stepped into the 51-degree water of a rather large stocked stream. The sun was shining brightly.

I caught just one trout, a 12.5” rainbow, in the first half hour. Two guys fishing downstream stopped to chat. The guy who talked the most complained about not catching even one trout all morning though he usually caught many on opening morning. He questioned if many trout had even been stocked. Based on my observation to this point, I was wondering the same thing and had even contemplated bagging it for the day, knowing that much better fishing was just a week or two away.

I advanced up to the pool the two guys had just vacated, which was really the first pool I had seen. All of the other water I had fished was just riffles with an occasional deeper spot. I promptly cranked out seven stockies from the pool, including a 13” golden rainbow. I smiled some.

From that point forward the fishing varied depending on the habitat and whether another angler was already at a pool. But the fishing was pretty good.

Three 15” rainbows were duped, and a golden rainbow of equal size shook my White Bead Gold spinner loose before I could land him.

A 15.5” rainbow was also fooled.

I was amazed at the number of large stockies, including this 14.5” brown.

I continued upstream, passing just an occasional angler. I was surprised how few anglers were fishing. After several hours I had passed less than ten people.

Cut-leaved toothwort grew in the fertile soil along the creek.

I fished at a leisurely pace, not knowing that the biggest event of the day was yet to come.

I was already satisfied with my day, particularly after the dismal beginning on the wild trout stream, but topping 100 trout was now within easy reach, something I never thought would happen after my slow start.

I came to a long pool, perhaps well over 100 yards long. The upper end was a deep riffle. No one was there. I made a long cast and let my spinner sink a little before retrieving. Instantly I felt a subtle take, similar to the other stockies that I had caught. But this one was different after I set the hook hard. The water boiled, like as if a beaver was swimming under the water and had suddenly turned. I saw a long white flash and knew I had a big trout on.

Quickly I loosened my drag since I keep it as tight as it will go to give me more hook-setting power. Luckily I had just retied my spinner to un-nicked line moments before. The trout stayed down deep but came downstream. For over fifteen minutes I worked the trout downstream, or maybe he worked me. Both sides of the stream had high banks with nowhere for a guy with no net to land a large trout. When I reached the tail of the pool, some 75 yards or more downstream from where I hooked the beast, another angler came along and volunteered to help me land the now tired-out hawg.

He grabbed it in front of the tail for a good grip and allowed me to take some photos of him with my trout.

It had just started to rain so taking a lot of photos with my digital camera was not an option, but I got this closer shot of the 25” rainbow, the biggest rainbow trout of my life. My old record was 24.5” set on October 11th, 2014.

After releasing the trout and thanking the angler from Oregon I proceeded upstream and caught an additional thirteen trout, giving me 79 on this stocked stream in 6.25 hours. My total for the day was 102 trout in 9.50 hours.

Overall it was a fun day, but I’ll tell you what, I’d give it up in an instant for just one more First Day as a kid on Beaverdam Creek and Smoky Run with my dad and brothers.

- Frank Nale -
grousedog20, rd22 and bigguy54 like this.

I can be contacted at [email protected].

Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 04-20-2017 at 08:34 AM.
FrankTroutAngler is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 07:06 PM
Diehard Outdoorsman
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Berks, McKean
Posts: 3,375
Back To Top
As always great report. I look forward to the many more to come this year.
5chunter is offline  
post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SE PA
Posts: 20,116
Back To Top
Wow that was an unbelievable post Frank!!!! I can't say that I have ever enjoyed reading one more. Completely entertained from start to finish. If you just looked at the pics I definitely recommend you go in and read. It's got a little bit of everything. You are certainly a gifted story teller my friend! The old time 'first day' story was great and that rainbow is a true PIG of mammoth proportions. Well done on the story and day. You nailed both.
bigguy54 likes this.
Trout 2003 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:31 AM
Hooked on HuntingPa
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: PA
Posts: 434
Back To Top
I second everything that trout said. Now I am daydreaming about "first day" as a kid. I could tell countless stories about "first day", but not nearly as well as you did. Congrats on that big bow. Although many of us value wild trout more, its still exhilarating to catch a big fat pellet head, especially when you aren't necessarily expecting it.

Last edited by troutdoorsman; 04-20-2017 at 01:15 PM.
troutdoorsman is offline  
post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:49 AM
Part of the Community
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 137
Back To Top
Great summary Frank. You do weave a nice tale! I still yearn for those old days but they will never be again. Won't be long before we're just a bunch of old codgers slipping and sliding along the stream bed and catching a "few" trout.
22-rimfire is offline  
post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 11:27 AM
Regular Member
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,315
Back To Top
Great post Frank.

I enjoyed reading it. Congrats on the big rainbow.

You catch the most beautiful brookies! One if your rainbows is very colorful.

I also like your pictures of wild flowers along the streams.


Last edited by Trout Traveler; 04-20-2017 at 03:43 PM.
Trout Traveler is offline  
post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 02:54 PM
Regular Member
Wild Trout 24/7's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Cambria Co.
Posts: 1,487
Back To Top
Looks like a memorable day for sure! As always,beautiful bookies and congrats on the personal record. You and your brother are great writers. I look forward to seeing your future posts as action heats up.

Wild Trout 24/7 is offline  
post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: lackawanna/wayne
Posts: 1,525
Back To Top
great pics and also a great story as well. Congrats
hunter-trapper21 is offline  
post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 09:43 AM
Regular Member
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Snyder County
Posts: 1,725
Back To Top
Great story, loved it!

Catch-and-Release wild trout.

Summit Park Spinners
grousedog20 is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Outdoor Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome