Preparing for the annual trout opener
As we head into the month of March, spring is just around the corner, and the opening day of trout season is not too far off. The last weekend in April will be here before you know it.
Anglers should be beginning to prepare for the upcoming season. Make sure your equipment is as ready as you are for the opening. Begin with an equipment check.
Make sure that your reel is cleaned and lubricated. Also, make sure that the line is in good shape. Monofilament can lose its strength over the course of a year. Give it a good stretch and see if it snaps easily. If so, it is probably in need of replacement.
Many anglers will routinely replace their line each year. This is certainly great insurance for not losing that big one on the end of your line.
Fly anglers should check their lines to make sure that there is no cracking, which can severely hamper its performance. Cracked line can reduce the distance and consistency of your casting. Replace it before the season starts.
Many anglers overlook checking their rods. Check the guides for cracking around the base that could weaken or off-center the guide, making it difficult to cast. Either repair the guide yourself or have it done by someone familiar with rod making. Also, look at the guide itself.
With heavy use, a groove can actually be worn into the guide. This can also impact the performance, and if worn too badly, can even cut your line. Replace these as needed. Pay particular attention to the tip top, as grooving will most likely occur at this point.
Check your lures and flies, too. Lures can often become dull due to the oxidation process. To bring back life to them you can use something like a metal polish to restore their sheen. A solution of lemon juice can also bring a lure back to life if not too badly oxidized.
Hackles on flies can become mashed down due to storage. An easy way to restore life to them is to run it over a steaming kettle of water. The hackles will perk right up with the steam and be ready to support your fly when the fish are rising.
Also, make sure you have enough of everything, and watch the opening day adds for deals on things. Things that anglers often overlook are leader/tippet spools, split shot, hooks, lures and flies.
Make sure that you have the necessary tools: A pair of pliers or forceps for mashing down barbs or pinching on split shot, a file for sharpening your hooks and a pair of nippers for cutting line.
Fly fishermen can add fly floatant, a fly floating powder, leader sink and strike indicators to the mix. While not all of these items are essential, anglers may find themselves handicapped without them.
These are only a few early season tips. Most involve a quick check and a relatively quick fix, but can make the difference between a great opening day and one that is forgettable.
Take the time to check your gear and kick your season off to a good start. We will see you on the water!
Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.
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