Letter for April 29 2018
Traditionally, Michigan’s trout season opener is the last Saturday in April. In some years in the UP this is, as the saying goes, “a bridge too far.” Be patient and let me explain. Winter’s grip often doesn’t end in the UP just because the opener arrives. In fact, many a year the snow is still piled high along the many small tributaries that hold the “ hungry hounds “ we call brook trout. If the snow and ice has not disappeared the muddy and impassable roads sometimes deem the opener a non-starter. Weather here can be a real bugger too, as many a Yooper can attest to. Cold rain can be an ugly deterrent soaking through the most expensive rain gear that money can buy, leaving many a fisherman looking out the cabin window with a longing for skys that don’t resemble an “El Greco” painting.
The days when the opener greets a fisherman with pleasant weather are too few to comment on. Weathers usual nasty retribution, like Sisyphus chained, can foul up the best plans of any deliberate man. All of this misery can happen before a man, or woman, casts a single fly upon the water. Even if one is lucky enough to have all of his, or her moons aligned, the tangled line in a tree high above reach is almost an inevitability. Many a local leaves the high priced fly fishing gear at home and instead relies on a simple rod and reel and a box of redworms. An option that I have used on occasion and can personally attest to.
In a faded memory, like cabin curtains too long in the sun, I remember one dismal opener in the far north. I was particularly discouraged by my lack of success on a blue ribbon trout stream in the Sturgeon River Gorge. I pulled my old car over to the side to the road and sat fuming. A gurgling creek ran in a culvert beneath the road. Sitting entranced, a small lad, fishing on the upstream side of the gravel road let his worm float carefully into the current. The babbling creek pulled the redworm into the galvanized culvert much the way a magnet attracts steel. I watched transfixed as the boy caught several nice size brookies out of the culvert. He smiled at me and held up his catch. I smiled back. Now that’s what you call fishing.
Good luck on the opener.