Here in PA we just had our opening day of trout season on Saturday. So come Saturday morning the local trout streams are packed with people trying to take their limits on trout. I couldn't believe how many times I saw 6-7 people fishing the same pools. Even saw a group using powerbait trying to get every trout in the pool!
I was just wondering what everyone's thoughts were on this; if it's beneficial or not. It seems to me a waste because once opening day hits the streams are fished out within a day or so. They do restock but they list when they are restocking so everyone waits and you have the same situation all season long.
I just wonder if there is not a better alternative so the fish have a better chance at making it in the wild longer and give all fisherman a better time at the sport.
I can remember many opening days in California but once I figured out a few things about catching trout I stopped going. In those days opening day was May first and a lot of the high Sierras streams were still under a lot of snow. I found a month later was a much better time to fish. The water levels were down and the opening day guys had went on to other things.
I have found that if you can hike, you can find water to fish with out pressure. I also found that on waters where fish are harder to catch you won't find as many fishermen. I use to go up into the high Sierras on Friday night and get ready for the next morning. I would pack in for half a day and fish that evening, fish the next morning and then pack out again. If I ever saw any one it would be a pack train packing in a party. A great in my life.
I voted yes even though I could live without it.
Opening day is a springtime holiday is the truest sense and many casual anglers look forward to spending the time with family and friends in the great outdoors.
Good for them and I can handle the added pressure because I know that the majority of these 'anglers' will be gone after two weekends at the most, leaving the streams to us hard-cores
The fact is that the state makes a bundle of money selling licenses to these 'opening day anglers' and that helps the program and hopefully keeps fees down for the rest of us.
It just irks me to see guys grab as many as they can just because they can.
But on the plus side, after seeing the guys with the powerbait I stomped off to the other side of the park and find a nice little hole all to my self that seems out of the way enough that not too many people will bother it.
I voted "yes" because I like the concept not necessarily fishing opening day. Got to admit that I used to get excited about a new season.
When I lived on a river I use to walk down to the river on opening day to to see what was going on (never took my rod). I was always amazed at some places guys were able to get. The crowds were usually gone in just a few weeks.
I am a capitalist pig at heart. Opening day makes for a great ploy to bring customers into the shop.
Seriously, I like it. Opening day gives people goals to strive for. During the off season, fly fishermen work hard to tie up flies to fill their boxes. Some take the time to head out to the local parks to practice their casting skills. I know some who enjoy the off season just to trash talk their fishing buddies. When the season starts, it is put up or shut up. Opening day is a ritual. We have all been there.
I see the valid points of the mad rushes to very accessible fishing holes. It can be disheartening to get to a spot to find someone fishing it. Depending on where one goes to fish, a crowd can be there.
Do I fish on opening day? Sometimes. It is more of a social event for me. Whether I get some serious fishing time in is irrelevant. This season (as of today), I have 22 fishing days marked on my calendar. I have had plenty of opportunities for my fly fishing fix. And I know that I will have plenty more.
I haven't gone out on an opener, (on purpose) in many years. On the East side of the Sierras, it feels like the land grab race of the past. As Frank said, a little effort, and thought, can get you to a place where no one else stands on the water with you (if that's what you want).
As MP suggested, we who fish year round don't really give it a thought.
I do think it's nice the fish can take a break for the winter, in some places. I think the Little Truckee (for example), would benefit from a rest, because of intense angling pressure, and low flows.
As a kid, I used to feel like a pressure cooker, as we approached the opener. To those who waited all winter to fish, I say enjoy!
I like opening day as a way to get potential future fly rodders in the door - especially kids. It causes alot of hoopla....newspapers that would otherwise never mention trout fishing print the story etc etc. Kids and adults get excited ...The "masses" at least get an introduction to trout fishing. Some ( maybe most) will never pass the point of simply following the stocking truck, bagging their limit,or more, and quitting once fishing is no longer like shooting fish in a barrell..and what a sad loss for them. Others will gradually become so enamored that their journey leads them to ones similar to most of us - and for that reason alone I'm a huge fan. I avoid opening day like the plague. I like nothing better than fishing either a wild trout stream...or one that hasn't been stocked yet and has only holdovers. But I didn't always have this outlook..and hopefully due to opening day - others will be given the good fortune - as we have - to become addicted to the greatest sport in the world.