So, How Cold Was It!?
Arriving on the stream in Huntingdon County PA April 3rd 2021 was not like other First Days of trout season. Not only did the season start two weeks early but it was 21 degrees Fahrenheit!
The first several hours of fishing yielded not one bite. My spinners and bait made no impression on the trout. Changing bait and lures with really cold fingers made it very slow going. Even the line iced up clogging the top two ferrules that had to be pushed out so the line could run freely. Tying knots to set up my rig after a snag was a challenge as well. And later when I needed to pee, it was nearly impossible to get a grip on my fly tab. Then when I did get a hold of it, I realized that my zipper was stuck in my shirt! Things were not going well. My friend Andy, however, was able to pull in a 20 inch Brown but there were many, like myself, who had little or no luck at all. I continued in the cold with no bites until around 12:00 noon when I decided to take a break.
Andy's 20 inch Brown Trout
I tried quite a few tackle options but realized that there was one bait I did not consider-- Power Bait. I used Power Bait many, many years ago with no real luck. Back then, I'd use less than half a jar and then not touch it for months or longer. It would get rock hard and eventually I'd throw it away. For some odd reason, I decided to go to a small mom and pop fishing store down the road and buy some Power Bait. They had a pretty good supply in random 'flavors.' I bought a jar that was yellow in color.
Why stand when you can sit?!
By this time, around 1:00, things warmed up to about 33 degrees. Still cold but at least my line was not gathering ice. I returned to the stream and worked my way through the woods and brush with thorns that pulled at my pants, coat and hands struggling to get to a good part of the stream.
With many fishermen gone, I settled on an area where the water was about four feet deep and fairly wide. The water color was green and the stream level was about perfect. I cast downstream between tree limbs several times without a strike. Minutes later I felt a little 'bump,' then another. I set the hook and hauled in a 13 inch Rainbow! Was I ever surprised! Over the next 20 minutes I caught two more Rainbow with the largest being 15 inches on Power Bait. Really?! Power Bait? After the excitement subsided, I fought the brush on the other side of the stream and tried a few holes farther downstream but nothing was biting. I then decided to work my way back upstream and see how my friends were doing. They were not having much luck. A few bites but no new fish were caught. I returned to camp to get warm and find something to eat for a late lunch.
Three dandy Rainbow Trout
The next day, Easter, I only had a few hours to fish before I had to head home so I ventured to where I caught the three nice trout the day before. After a few casts, I caught a Rainbow about 11 inches. Number four and once again on Power Bait. Before I left to return home, I shared the bait with my Brother and friend. Will have to check back with them to see how they did on Sunday.
The reason, I guess, we keep going to the stream is that we never can accurately predict what will happen. This First Day seemed completely doomed. Very frustrating for hours but persistence won out and I was eventually able to catch several nice trout and filet them for an excellent dinner. There were a number of reasons to quit early on Saturday but sometimes you have to keep going. Oh, and did I tell you that the crank separated from my reel?! Yep, completely fell out. Lots of line in the water and no way to retrieve it after catching the third trout on the First Day. Quite a mess but I was able to fix it after getting to the cabin and finding a screw driver.
Fish on and do not be deterred. They're in there. Just be flexible, persistent and have an open mind and try things that you may never have thought of. You may be surprised. Something like life?