Countdown To The Trout Opener: It’s Here!

We’ve counted down to the statewide trout opener with stories from our April trout preview issue. Today: The opener is here and we hope you have a great weekend of trout fisbing no matter were you head to. Here are some memories of trout openers:

Photo by Sierra Drifter’s Guide Service.

I’ve always found the first day of just about anything significant; a fresh start, if you will.

Jan. 1 brings me some hope that the pending year will be better than the previous one. I’m a longtime baseball fan and Opening Day has forever been a special event. As a (now disgruntled) Oakland Athletics fan, one of my favorite memories is tailgating with buddies in the Oakland Coliseum parking lot way back in 1988, grilling sausages and drinking beer while anticipating the excitement of what ended up as a World Series season. Even the dreaded first day of school was noteworthy whether in high school or college, wondering who’d be in each class and how cool or sinister our teacher or professor would be.

Fishing has also been a season-opening tradition. As a native of the Bay Area suburban jungle, my spring opener experience usually took place at either San Francisco’s Lake Merced in late April or the East Bay’s San Pablo Reservoir in February. I can remember scrambling to find an open spot along the shoreline of either fishery, as anglers would get to the lakes as early as possible.

I sadly have never participated in the thrill of an Eastern Sierra opener. (Call me Scrooge for not embracing the Fishmas spirit.) But in working on our annual trout opener preview story (page 12), I heard two different perspectives.

Jeff Simpson, economic development manager for Mono County, looks forward to the Fishmas chaos each year, during which his multigenerational family targets trout at Bridgeport Reservoir. “It reminds me why we live here,” he told me.

Doug Rodricks is also a local to the area. He operates Sierra Drifters Guide Service and wants nothing more than to get his clients on a hard-fighting rainbow or brown. But the crowds, the fishing pressure and the overall craziness makes Rodricks long for quiet days on the water.

“As a guide now, it just means a lot of fishermen during that weekend,” Rodricks said. “And I usually avoid the popular areas if I can.”

I can’t blame him. I too enjoy the quiet days over the combat fishing circus. But there’s a reason why the Oakland A’s always had sellout crowds on previous baseball season openers and a fraction of that in most other games. It’s a big deal, as will be the Eastern Sierra’s last Saturday of the month show. Merry Fishmas for those who celebrate on April 27. -Chris Cocoles