Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DIF&W Short-Changes Brook Fishermen

April 1, the first day of trout fishing in brooks, streams and rivers, a date that I anticipate with a passion. In fact, just the thought of going trout fishing keeps my spirits high during the winter months.

Of course April 1 is an arbitrary date and has no connection to fisheries management. Ideally, streams should open the first of the year and if anyone has the intestinal fortitude to go fishing, then more power to them. If they catch anything, they should get an award.

But while the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIF&W) recently opened lakes (with certain exceptions) to year-round fishing, it has steadfastly refused to allow those of us who enjoy tromping along little wandering brooks and streams, to have an advantage.

The thing is purely on account of tradition. But then again, the opening day was once April 15. So what happened to tradition when, many years ago, DIF&W changed the date to April 1?

Anyway, we have had some perfect conditions over the last week or so. I visit my opening-day stream and literally drool, all the while shaking my head at the needless stubbornness of DIF&W.

And now, after all the anticipation, waiting and hoping, the National Weather Service predicts that a Nor’east snowstorm will slam us on Thursday night and continue during the day…opening day, Friday.

Will I still go out? I haven’t missed a season in over 50 years and hope not to miss one now. If humanly possible, I plan to at least go through the paces of fishing. But why can’t I and every other brook-fishing Mainer, be allowed to go today, when conditions are perfect? It’s just plain mean.

I have included some photos of my yard here in Waldo. Note the lingering snowbanks. I’m in a north-facing valley, where sunlight comes late and departs early. Looking at the photo, does it really seem as though we need any more snow?

Oh, I have also included a photo of some crocus blooming along a woodland path out back. This is my “before” photo. I’ll post another picture of the same flowers (or the same location, at least, depending upon snow depth) as an “after” shot.

All I can say is that this winter stuff is getting old, real fast. I want to go trout fishing. Badly.

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