Moving water soon fair game for anglers
Opening day of the 2006 General Trout Season ” this Saturday ” is upon us. After what seems like an endless string of spring snowstorms, the Sierra snowpack is well above normal and there will be some snow and wet conditions to contend with for the opener.
While checking area waters this past weekend, I found one thing to be constant: cold water and lots of it. The average mid-day temperatures in the Little Truckee and Truckee rivers were right at 40 degrees. That is cold by most anyone’s standards.
There is also more water in area reservoirs than there was last year for the opener. Boca and Stampede are both virtually full. The Truckee River is running very high and cold, gauged at over 1,800 cubic feet per second at the Boca Bridge.
People should be aware of the very wet and muddy conditions around some of our area waters. Care should be taken when driving on dirt access roads around our area lakes. With all of the moisture that we have had, these dirt roads will need some time to dry out. I would suggest that you park and walk in rather than risk getting stuck and further tearing up the road for future use.
Early-season anglers know that fishing is completely tied to the weather and this year will certainly be no exception. With all of the snow and the prospects of some pretty warm temperatures in the long range forecast, anticipate some pretty high streams with water colder than normal. Water temperatures have been five to 10 degrees warmer in recent years.
Also, fishing early rather than late may be important if the weather is warm and the snow melt increases quickly. The water in the streams can get very off-color in the late morning or early afternoon. Fishing in the morning usually allows the angler access to some high, but clearer water.
The colder water will make fish less likely to move to take an angler’s offering. This is typical of spring fishing. As a result, you should thoroughly work an area, but move quickly if you get no takers. Fish will be found along the edges of the heavy current and around obstructions that act as current breaks. Working these areas well will increase an angler’s odds of success.
With the water so cold, not many fish are likely to be caught. However, this is the time of year when they have not seen anyone fishing for nearly four and a half months. On opening day we always see at least one or two really large fish taken out of the Truckee River. This year will probably be no exception.
While most lakes have been open year-round, I would recommend that most anglers stick to these waters for their opening day fishing. The chances for success are much better in the lake than in the stream during the early season.
If you must fish moving water, I would suggest that you fish smaller creeks. While they will be high like the Little Truckee and the Truckee rivers, they will still be much more fishable.
Another thing common to springtime angling is that you must get the bait, lure or fly down to the fish. That means using more weight if you are fishing streams due to the heavy flows. More weight also means that you will lose gear, so be prepared for that event with plenty of extra tackle.
Opening day is typically a maximum enforcement period for the wardens, as well, so do not forget to get that fishing license. Remember that children who are 16 must have a valid license to fish. I remember one season I had to make a run into town because my daughter had turned 16 and needed a license for the first time!
Also know the regulations on the water that you are fishing. We have a number of special regulation waters in our area and you do not want to get in trouble with the law. Ask the local shops if you have any questions about where you are planning to fish. They typically know the area waters well and can generally answer your questions.
I hope that your opening day will be both a fun and safe experience. It is always a celebration of sorts as it signals the transition from winter doldrums to an active period for anglers. We are all very ready for the change!