First Outing of 2020
Unlike last year, I didn't have to wait a long time for suitable weather to venture out for my first fishing trip of the year. Last year, due to cold weather or poor stream conditions my first outing didn't occur until early April. My intention was to arrive early before other would be anglers. Unfortunately, when I arrived at my preferred spot on a small limestoner, there were two cars already there and I knew that one was certainly a fisherman and the other likely was. I could have walked downstream a long way, but before long I would be in already fished water, so I drove to another section. There were no cars there, so I parked, quickly assembled my gear and walked a long way downstream.
A trout followed but didn't hit on my first cast of the year. A followup cast produced a hit but I whiffed on the hookset. I had two other hits before I landed my first trout of the year, a colorful 9 inch wild brown trout.
I took the water temperature, which was colder than expected at 45 degrees. I made my next cast, wondering how long it would be take to get my first back-to-backer of the year (trout on back to back casts). An hour, three hours, more? It turns out it was less than a minute as a 9 1/2 inch brown pounced. Another trout followed on the next cast, but it took another five minutes or so before I landed another trout, an 8 3/4 inch brown. I caught browns of 9 and 7 1/2 inches before I heard a noise and saw a fly fisherman upstream from me. I waded out and circled around well out of his way, walked upstream a long way and got back in. I only caught one more trout the remainder of the hour, a sub-legal brown.
The action was very slow to start and I wondered whether I was in already been fished water. Finally, an 8 1/2 incher broke the ice. Six more browns came to hand during the hour, including a 12 incher. A 10 1/2 incher immeditately followed the 12 incher, for my second BTBer of the day.
Hour #3 produced six trout, browns ranging from 5 to 11 inches. I lost three trout during the hour. I took the water temperature again, which had warmed to 48 degrees.
As I moved upstream, I expected the action to improve, which it did, but not by leaps and bounds. Speaking of leaps and bounds, one of the eight trout I caught during the hour, an 10 incher, cleared the water four times. The trout ranged from 5 1/2 to 10 inches. I hooked a nice trout in the 13-14 inch range, but lost it.
I had reached posted property, so I walked back to my car. I headed to a section that I didn't fish once the previous year. The action was again very slow as I only had two follows in the first 20 minutes before landing a 6 incher, then a 9 incher on the very next cast. I saw lots of boot tracks along the bank so I waded upstream until I reached some deeper water, where the action improved. I caught five more trout, including a triple jumping 10 1/2 incher before again reaching posted water. My legs were sore and I had a long walk back to my vehicle, so I decided to call it a day. I caught 36 wild browns, all on spinners, and lost 6-7 others in 5.5 hours of angling. Not bad for early January. The biggest trout was only 12 inches. My phone said I walked 6.1 miles on the day.
I wondered how that compared to past first outings, so I looked it up.
2019 - April, 35 trout in 5.25 hours, 2 hogs, including a 20 1/2 inch wild brown
2018 - Mid-Feb., 26 trout in 6 hours, biggest trout: 14 inch brown
2017 - Mid-Jan., 44 trout in 5.5 hours, biggest: 14 1/2 inch brown
2016 - Late Jan., 22 trout in 4.5 hours, biggest: 14 inch brown
2015 - Early Jan. 34 trout in 5 hours, 2 hogs, biggest: 17 1/2 inch rainbow
2014 - late March, 46 trout in 7.25 hours, biggest: 15 1/2 inch brown
2013 - Mid Jan. 42 trout in 6.75 hours. Largest: 14 1/4 inch brown (first trout of the year)
2012 - Early Jan. 16 trout in 5.25 hours. Biggest was 14 1/2 inch brown
2011 - New Year's Day, 19 trout in 5.25 hours. Largest was a 22 inch brown