Saturday, April 1, 2023

PA Opening Day 2023


Opening Day 2023

The morning began with questionable weather.  Fortunately however, I stayed on the water throughout the rain.  Despite being slow early on with most of my time spent re-rigging, fumbling with numb fingers and donating more than my fair share of flies and fluorocarbon to the tree and rock gods.  Immediately following the last downpour, the skies brightened and the fish turned  on.

I opened the season with the Livingston Glass rod, expecting nymphing throughout the day.

 First fish of the day was a brown that I only glimpsed briefly before 3 to 4 heavy head shakes and slow reactions allowed him to snap off my fly. Then shortly after I fumbled and grumbled at myself for not reacting fast enough while tying on a new fly, I was rewarded with a fat 18" brown.  I felt a little better. 

Spotting the tell-tale orange glow of a Palomino, I opted to throw something at it and after a short while was able to bump it in the nose with a C2C nymph and it took it. Pali's are either the highlight or the scourge of PA fishermen, but I will say, at 21" and ample girth, it was like playing a Steelhead.  It was a blast, and I thank the glass rod for protecting my 5x tippet all the way to the net.

They are pretty, even if they are crowd magnets. But it's still swimming so somebody else can have fun as well.

The morning gave up another fat brown before my bones said it was time to get out of the waders.  Which was good timing because my crossing had increased  in flow and if it weren't for my wading staff waiting for me I would have arrived back wet for sure. 

Some observations.  The water was clear, and even after the rains it only slightly colored up.  I saw no hatch activity until just after lunch. The Early Brown Stones (Willow Fly), easily copied with a #14 2x long pattern, was more abundant than I have noticed in recent years. Which would explain why they took so well to the Squirrels Nest Drake. 

See you on the water


  1. Great report Ralph. Nothing like opening day. My state did away with opening day last year and while we can now fish 12 months a year, something was lost when we cannot celebrate the "opener". Congrats on a great morning and I am glad you had that wading stick with you.

  2. John, I agree...something is lost when traditions go by the wayside. That wading staff is making me a believer. LOL

  3. Ralph
    What a way to start the season! Are the Palomino trout rare to see on the streams there? I read an article the other day about the millions of trout stocked in the Northeast's streams. Were all the trout you landed on this trip wild or stocked? It would make no difference to me if I landed trout that size. That is a nice-looking combo you were using to land some quality trout ----thanks for sharing

  4. Bill,

    the Palomino's are stocked fairly regularly across the state. More of a novelty for fishermen than anything. Some love them for that reason. Others hate them because if one lands in your favorite hole, it brings everybody in until its caught.

    Most of the trout I catch on my run are stocked. I stock annually, and it's all catch and release. Last few years however, I have been catching an increasing number of 4-6" browns with a few rainbow as well. so there seems to be some natural reproduction taking place. A few reds are showing up as well. The palomino was a stockie from up stream.