April 6 — Opening Day (wide open after the opener)

Trinity River guided trip
Bob Jones and Glenn Burton.

The hype, anticipation, preparation and simply down right feeling good about getting together with your favorite hombres and stretching a line—nothing quite like opening day on your favorite trout waters. In our case the Trinity River’s “Fly Only” waters reopened April 1 with near perfect low water conditions and offering a full plate of well rounded opportunities for dry, wet, nymphing and streamer fishing techniques. These waters are very unique to anglers in that this brief two mile section of the Trinity below Lewiston Dam is managed as “fly fishing only” (no bait/artificials) and support a zero limit. It is only one of only two “fly fishing only” managed waters in the state—the other being Hot Creek. Why? In the case of the Trinity these waters represent major staging and sanctuary waters for its anadromous fish returns (including spring-summer-fall steelhead-chinook salmon as well as fall Coho). The method and zero limit regulations imposed and governing these waters are obvious, to reduce or minimize impacts on both juvenile out migrants and returning adults while permitting anglers to utilize the resource. Although the season is brief, April 1 through Sept. 15th, these waters offer exciting diverse opportunities and appeal to a variety of fly fishers of all skill levels each and every season.

River drift boat
Boat full of good times.

Even though the opener occurred midweek, this year’s opener was no different and very popular. Trinity Fly Shop was swamped with excited and eager anglers including: Chris Christensen, old school Chuck, Steve Hopkins, the “Hogs” (Tom Weseloh, Gary Seput. Ken James, Glenn Burton, Scott Stratton, Bob Jones, Kit Kat, CB), Gary Rosenburg, Hardy Bettinger, Jess Arnold, Rich Aims, Berry Badger and “Shortbase.” (We Thank You!) Motels, campers and popular camp grounds were booked with anglers engaging in a variety of extra curricular activities. Camp fires were surrounded with anglers reminiscing sessions and riverside social groups gathered, rekindling friendships, talking tackle, casting new equipment and sharing new fly patterns. Tailgates were dropped chairs and coolers were displayed, barbeques sweetened the air and anglers simply got it on. Some scenes represented a pre sporting football/baseball event. We observed from,”the rail” (local hang out and vantage/overview of the upper fly water) and counted over 24 vehicles in one parking lot. On popular waters anglers were lined on both sides of the river while streamside festivities rocked on with good tunes and opening celebrations of all levels. It didn’t make any difference, if you were in the water or not, everyone was totally jazzed. Certainly not the place to be for those seeking solitude. (Although plenty of unmolested promising waters were readily available below the Old Bridge boundary. The entire Trinity River, South Fork upstream is open year-round). Hands down—social celebrating dominated the opening day fly water scene. Great to see and experience the comrade of fellow anglers taking time out during economic times that have not been easy for most. Not to mention the importance of understanding personal values and how vital it is to share the stoke and charge the batteries every now and then. Oh yeah—how was the fishing? It just didn’t matter.

Trinity River steelhead
Gary Seput with a dandy.

Last minute update— April 9-10-11 Jimmy Green International Spey-O-Rama Fly Fishing Festival at the Golden Gate Angling/Casting Club: Golden Gate Park San Francisco. Open to the public and attendance is FREE! Trinity Fly Shop’s Kit Kreick, Chris Burton, and Chris Christensen will be there as well as numerous (got to see to believe) spey casting greats. For more info: www.spey-o-rama.com… Rev it up this weekend!!!