Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Rituals

     Some of my fondest memories as a kid growing up in small town Maine was open water fishing season.  Open water season opens April 1st here in Maine, but in reality in my neck of the woods, May 1st is the practical open water season.  I remember times wading small trout brooks in early May with some friends on Saturday or Sundays with snow still surrounding the edges of the trout streams in many locations.  Under those conditions with high flows of bone chilling water typical catches for us were pretty low.  If we were lucky we'd put 3-4 native brook trout in our creels for a tasty meal, but we would work for those fish.
     We first had to get to the trout streams.  Usually that involved riding our bikes for 30-60 minutes one way with our rods and worms, then walking 30 minutes or so through the woods before working our way to the streams edge to anxiously bait our hooks and send our offerings into the babbling brook to test our luck.  Before too long we would venture into the brook into the knee deep bone chilling water to try and get a better presentation into a particularly good looking pool of water.  Often enough this practice yielded positive results, so even though we would lose the feeling in our lower extremities, we caught fish.
     After several hours of wading and casting we would have worked our way back down the brook to our bicycles.  We would then pedal our way home to show off our catches of native brook trout to our parents and siblings.  In my case, my siblings could care less about going fishing, let alone riding a bike for an hour to do it.  That was work. I loved it.  Still do.  
     I have learned over the years to be a bit more patient though and wait for water levels to mitigate some.  As well as water temperatures to moderate.  Pleasant mid-May temperatures will find me pining for an opportunity to drop my canoe in a favorite trout stream of mine and spend half a day or so fishing for native brook trout.  If I time it right I will encounter fiddle head ferns along the way and stop to fill a basket with those tasty greens of spring that are a delicacy in our area.  The combination of trout and fiddle heads is hard to beat.  By my reckoning i only have about 8 weeks until prime brook trout and fiddle head season.  I can hardly wait.

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