The First Day of Fishing Season, Part I

The first day of fishing season was a huge event where we lived. Nestled in our little Valley, the creeks were well known as some of the best fishing streams in the state. The fresh water streams flowed down from the mountains across large rocks with occasional deep ‘holes’ that provided excellent habitats for Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout.

My father was an excellent fisherman and a talented fly fisherman. He could make a ‘fly’ (artificial lure) dance on the water. The idea is to make the lure look like a natural insect to the fish causing them to rise to the surface and grab the fly. My brother soon learned the same skill and remains an excellent fisherman to this day.

Houses in our Valley were usually built along the creek’s edge so we were always aware of the habits of fish and spotting them as we walked along the creek banks was not difficult if you knew where to look. There were always the elusive big fish that the local fishermen watched until fishing season opened.

We were not trophy fishers. We ate what we caught. We learned to ‘clean’ a fish early on. By examining the content of a fish’s stomach you could see what they were feeding on. A boon to the fisherman as he could bait his hook accordingly.

Wild streams are not stocked meaning they are NOT populated with fish from state hatcheries. Stocked streams are repopulated throughout the year with fish from local hatcheries. As a kid, my father often took us to the hatcheries to ‘feed’ the fish. These hatcheries were squeaky clean, in beautifully maintained and well-filtered cement pools. My dad would buy ‘food pellets’ from the park rangers for us to feed the fish. I was amazed at how many fish were there.

The Valley had two creeks that flowed together – one was wild stream and the other a wild stream that was also stocked from the hatcheries. Fishing season did not open until the stocked fish had a chance to acclimate to their new environment allowing them their best chance for survival. The buildup to the first day of fishing season was palpable. It was a big day for sure.


29 thoughts on “The First Day of Fishing Season, Part I”

  1. As someone who has never been remotely interested in fishing, I enjoyed your recollection of this, and could feel the excitement of the ‘catch’ too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. For some reason here in MN opening weekend of fishing season is always Mother’s Day weekend. In the land of 10,000 lakes that causes a lot of problems and a lot of expensive gifts to pacify hurt feelings.

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    1. We just watched “Grumpy Old Men” last night and I sure did not see many women out on the ice! But then ice fishing is a whole ‘nother ballgame!


      1. Ice fishing in Mn is for men what beauty salons are for women.
        There is no coed fish houses.
        I was busy during the filming of Grumpy Old but my 3 nephews built all the ice houses. The hands were really impressed on how nice those big name actors were.

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        1. In Maine, there were some ice shacks but more holes in the lake with tripod “traps” with flags that would raise when a fish took the line. Fishing requires a particular level of patience. Especially in the winter!

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          1. That it does, but if an ice house is involved chances are it has all the comforts. A fish on the line might interrupt watching tv or playing cards or taking a nap.

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  3. I always feel like I’m back in time observing your experiences because they’re so vivid! What great times
    My Dad loved deep sea fishing…..particularly flounder and blue fish. Nothing like the taste of fresh fish!

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      1. Wow, they’re a challenge cause they’re big and strong. My Dad loved the challenge of the fight!! Were you able to reel them in?

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