Saturday morning trout openers in Minnesota and Wisconsin can be too much of a circus for my tastes. I’m often guilty of skipping a fishing opener just to avoid the crowds.
I opted to put on some miles and hit a few different streams to kick off the full 2012 season a few days after the circus left town. The caddis were popping pretty good in some of the stretches I explored. I spent a fair amount of time the first few hours throwing a dry with a freshly tied San Juan Worm dropper in search of bigger fish. We’ve had a generous amount of precipitation throughout the Driftless over the last week and I suspected the fish would be on a worm bite. Most streams I’ve fished this spring have been running extremely low, with the rain bringing some streams up while others have appeared to be virtually untouched. It became readily apparent that the infamous pink “fly” had the fish licking their chops like a grizzly bear staring down a fat kid in a sleeping bag. Needless to say several quality specimens were brought to hand.
Opener provided me the first opportunity to put the Echo Ion reel to the test. My wife had given me the reel a few weeks back with a Cortland Precision line for my birthday. This inexpensive reel claims to be the best reel ever produced in the sub $100 category and I plan to test that claim this season. The jury is still out on the Ion. It has good tolerances and smooth performance, though the drag control seems a bit clumsy and I fear the durability may not be up to snuff. In addition to the Ion I was looking forward trying out the Cortland Precision trout line. Cortland never seems to get the buzz that other lines get, but I’ve had several solid performers throughout the years. Unfortunately this test drive would be cut short as I found our cat, Louie, absolutely shredding the last couple of feet of flyline, as if it were catnip flavored dental floss. Long before this line ever saw it’s first drop of water it was damaged goods, and it fished like a limp noodle.
Next up on the cavalcade of meaty offerings was the bugger. If you haven’t figured it out by now I am hardly a purist when it comes to fly selection. The older I get the more I tend to throw meat, as if there are a finite number of casts left in me, so why not swing for the fences?
Both big fish and small were committed to hitting the bugger. This was unquestionably the first good streamer bite I’ve had this season. The hits were hard, determined, and in predictable locations. Dead drifted, stripped, whatever, it was a smorgasbord of hard fighting browns. Just what the doctor ordered after my last couple of brookie outings.
By the end of the day I left the last stream feeling content, as if things were “right” again. This was one of those days that you lay in bed dreaming about in the dead of winter. Spring training is now over. I’m ready for “the show.”
Damn it feels good to say, “Open Sesame.”