Opening day in SE PA
So in order to avoid the circus, I did the only sensible thing and went to the special regs section of the Tulpehocken Creek in Berks County. I figured it would be safe from the crazy hordes of Powerbait Commandos. When I reached my favorite spot I was pleased to find not a single vehicle around. The light rain helped with that, I think.
Once on the water, fish were rising like mad to something tiny, so I tied on a #20 dry. No luck. Not a bit of interest from any of them. I tried several different drys. No luck.
What to do, what to do?
Conventional wisdom says they are on something small, gray, and on the surface. Since that isn't working for me, I decided on something larger and subsurface...the reliable wooly bugger. I had several hits but couldn't make the hook stick, so I naturally blamed the fly and tried a streamer of unknown name that I've never tried before. In short order I brought four nice rainbows to hand, between 11 and 14 inches each. I had a number of strikes that didn't connect with this fly as well, do I concluded the hook was dull, but as I was about to change flys again I ran it over my thumbnail...nice and sharp. Realizing that it was I that was being dull, not the hook, I set about trying it again and doing a better job of setting the hook. In the middle of rising fish, I was taking them on streamers...conventional wisdom isn't always right.
All in all, it was a great opening day. The whole time I was there I saw only four other anglers, none closer than 50 yards. The air was 43 degrees, the water was low and clear, and the sky was gray.