Even for non-trouters, word that the trout stocking trucks have been seen warming up is a signal of good things to come. Every spring legions of anglers set out for their first fish of the new season, often times it comes in the form of rainbow, brown, brook or even tiger—trout that is!
I’ve written about it many times, but trout fishing hasn’t always been a big interest for me. At my last job prior to joining The Fisherman, I worked in an office of about 150 people. Yes, I was a cubicle jockey for many years and I acted out a real-life version of The Office on an almost daily basis. Anyway, I was one of just a small handful of fishermen employed there yet everyone knew about Opening Day. I would get no less than 20 inquiries on the days leading up to Opening Day in Connecticut as everyone wanted to know my big plans. Did I have my license yet? How early did I plan to be on the water? Was the anticipation of the big day keeping me up at night? It felt like more people were interested in my plans to fish than congratulated me after I got married! Most of the time I just smiled, said that it didn’t do all that much for me as my true passion was in saltwater fishing and did my best to respectfully change the subject. Sure I would sneak out for a little while every year to take my nephews fishing or to join a friend as he and his brother had a tradition of fishing at the crack of dawn on a local pond, but it was less about “Opening Day” for me than it was about just being outside.
However, in recent years I have found myself jockeying for a prime position amongst the many other fishermen at a local trout-stocked stream or lake in Connecticut on the second Saturday of April. I set my alarm at an hour otherwise only reserved for pre-dawn hunts in the surf, but instead of a wetsuit I slide into rubber boots and a warm coat. In place of my 11-foot Lamiglas I pack a 6-foot St. Croix. Where darters and needlefish would be my lures of choice, I now loaded up on Kastmasters, garden worms and PowerBait. Yep, I fell into the trap and I enjoyed every minute of it!
Fast-forward to 2020 and the COVID craziness, and my trout interest blossomed even further as a perfect storm of an early opening of trout season plus an increased interest to fish by my son sent me running for my local trout waters with newly-found vigor. Along the way I also rekindled an interest in the fly rod, and in 2020 I spent more time targeting trout than I had done in any single year of my life. Whether I was throwing Rapalas or even mouse flies, I put a lot into trout fishing this past year and it hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
So regardless of which camp you fall into—the fanatical purist or the fun-seeking fair-weather angler—may your Opening Day bring you all the fun and enjoyment that we all seek in this common interest of fishing.
OPENING DAY 2021 ACROSS NEW ENGLAND
Massachusetts: Open year-round
Maine: Open-water fishing begins April 1
April 10 Open immediately effective March 4 – see news item here
Vermont: April 10
Rhode Island: April 10
New Hampshire: April 24 in trout ponds, 1/1 in rivers and streams
OPENING DAY TO BE ELIMINATED IN CONNECTICUT?
Recently a proposed bill filed in Connecticut in January came across my computer. It was introduced by Sen. Craig Miner of the 30th District and co-sponsored by Rep. Craig C. Fishbein of the 90th District. In short it simply seeks to amend the general statutes to establish a year-round trout season with the statement of purpose noted “To promote fishing in the state.”
I am actively pursuing further information on this subject and will update as news comes my way.
** Updated 3/1/2021: The above-noted bill (SB-373) died. Subsequently, SB-838 was filed.
*** Updated 3/5/2021: Trout season was opened immediately by way of Executive Order 10B.
STOCKING UPDATES IN NEW ENGLAND