It can’t come soon enough

Opening day of fishing season can’t get here soon enough.
To some degree, that statement is always true. At least emotionally. It’s not too long after the Vermont fishing season closes at the end of October before I’m beginning to miss the sport. Some time around February, maybe even late January, I start actively longing to get out on the water, to stand in a moving river with a fly rod in my hand.
I start imagining my favorite fishing spots, and looking through catalogs for new fishing gear — whether I need any or not. I buy a few flies, just because I want to buy a few flies, because you can never own too many flies, and because buying flies makes me think about fishing. When I’m really desperate, I look at travel photos of other people fishing.
It’s not that I don’t like winter. I do. I like snow. I love winter sports. Hockey. Nordic skiing. Sledding. Snowshoeing. I don’t really mind the cold. I like fires in the woodstove. I don’t even mind shoveling. But from Nov. 1 through the second Saturday of April, days that I can get out fishing are few and far between. It’s made worse by the fact that many nearby states, including Maine and New York, open their fishing seasons on April 1, while I have to wait until some time between April 8 and 14.
So I look forward to the opening day of fishing season in some sort of spiritual, abstract way. I just don’t always look forward to it in a physical way. By which I mean that actually getting out and fishing on opening day isn’t always very pleasant.
The second Saturday of April in Vermont, in my limited experience of a bit over two decades, is more likely to be below freezing at dawn than above freezing. At noon, it’s still more likely to be below 50 degrees than above. Rivers are more likely to be high and roily and difficult to fish than they are to be clear and low and wade-able. And, to cut to the chase, I’m much less likely to catch something on opening day than I am to catch nothing.
Not this year. This year my longing is as physical as it is spiritual. I’m actually looking forward not only to the idea of getting fishing again, but also to actually fishing on that opening weekend.
The reason, in the year 2010, should be obvious. The temperature at my house has already broken 70 degrees on at least three days in the first week of April, and 80 degrees once. There are only a few patches of snow high up in Lincoln that haven’t yet melted. Spring melt is essentially over, and water in the New Haven River is already down to May levels. 
Granted, the few days leading into opening day this year are supposed to be wet and rainy and a bit more seasonable than the last few. At least according to the current forecast. But not frigid. Not miserable. Definitely fishing weather.
If you need any more evidence that the 2010 fishing season can’t come soon enough, consider the following: Two weeks ago, the state of Maine passed emergency legislation to open its fishing season early. The key word, here, is “emergency.” Needing to get out fishing is an emergency. Like needing a drink of water in the desert.
With early ice-out on the lakes, very little snow to melt, and unusually warm weather — much like Vermont — conditions for spring fishing in Maine were ideal and the state’s anglers simply couldn’t wait any longer. Roland Martin, the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said it clearly and succinctly: “People have been anxious to drop their lines given that ice-fishing season ended too soon in some parts of the state.”
So on March 25, the Legislature passed, and Gov. John Baldacci signed into law, a measure to immediately open fishing season on Maine lakes, ponds and brooks. The measure was sponsored by Sen. Bruce Bryant, from Oxford County in western Maine, which boasts some of the state’s and indeed some of the country’s finest wild brook trout water.
What else is there to say? Can’t get out soon enough. Furthermore, I predict a 2010 opening day to remember.

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