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For the 23rd straight year I traveled to my buddies cabin in Bald Eagle State Forest (thanks Norm!) for the opening day of trout. We first made the trip as juniors in high school, and now as young middle-aged adults, we return every year.

I see a lot of posts about how much people hate the first day, they can't stand the crowds, there aren't as many fish, they are too small...etc. Somewhere along the journey, we realized that fishing the opening day was more than just catching trout. We don't like the crowds, we don't like the rude arrogant fisherman that only care about a limit, and we don't like seeing the trash left behind. But I can't imagine not being sitting along the stream as the sunrises over the water and the clock creeps slowly towards 8:00am. I know it's not for everyone, and normally I'd turn the car around if I saw a crowd on the stream I planned to fish, but not on the first day. Why...because somewhere deep down there is still that 8 year old boy who has been buying and reorganizing his tackle box since February anticipating that magical hour he could cast his line into the unknown. The water was a mystery, that held giant trout. The day might be a bust, but you didn't care, you were finally fishing, and fishing was better than being at home. If I ever loose that feeling about fishing the opening day, put me in the ground.

After a few chores around camp Friday morning, we packed up the fly rods and hit the Catch-and-release section. We explored new water and I landed a brown and a buddy hooked up with a rainbow:

ff (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

smitty (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

3 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

5 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

We then took our usual scouting trip hike along the stream by the cabin...which yielded on fish. We saw, only one fish. Of course we grumbled about the stockings and what not, but ultimately we decided that we would be able to sleep in until 7 and then just head down and pick a spot for a bit and hike around the stream before returning for our traditional breakfast around 9. We really weren't expecting much for that first hour, but on my second cast I got a bump, and my buddies next cast produced a trout, followed by another for him:

6 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

Then I was able to hook up:

7 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

We picked up 5 or so from that spot, then moved downstream and hit a nice pocket with fish, including this beauty my buddy landed:

norm (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

11 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

We then went back for breakfast and packed for our afternoon fishing. We typically drive a car 3 miles downstream and fish back to the cabin. Despite heavy pressure and skipping some better spots due to pressure, we finished with 49 between the two of us (all released except one):

9 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

10 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

12 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

13 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

14 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

15 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

16 (1 of 1) by Jason Weller, on Flickr

My 30th of the day and last one was this interesting chunky rainbow:

Stubby by Jason Weller, on Flickr

Capped the day off with some night pictures of the cabin:

Trout Cabin 2017 by Jason Weller, on Flickr

Cabin 2 by Jason Weller, on Flickr

Stars 1 by Jason Weller, on Flickr

Cabin 3 by Jason Weller, on Flickr

It wasn't our best year, but it wasn't our worst and it certainly exceeded our expectations from what we saw, or rather didn't see on Friday. I can't wait until next year!
 

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Nice pics and story! The weather and conditions over the weekend were once a decade good. Sounds like almost everyone had a great day.
 
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