Fish had easy opening day of the 2010 season
LAKEVILLE â€” Last year, at dawn on the third Saturday in April, a line of trucks hauling boats on trailers stretched down the street from the gate to the Town Grove and Lake Wononscopomuc.
This year, Grove Manager Stacey Dodge said there were two boats waiting when she pulled in for work. By 6:30 a.m., eight had showed up.
She didnâ€™t have a ready explanation.
â€œMaybe we lost some to the rivers, which arenâ€™t crazy this year.â€
An equally sparse group of youngsters and (mostly) fathers fished for the 120 rainbows stocked in Factory Pond â€” including 20 20-inchers. There were reports that one or more youngsters caught 4-pound fish during the fishing derby in the pond.
The crowd at Beckley Furnace on the Blackberry River in East Canaan was small too. Die-hards were standing shoulder to shoulder below the dam, but the usual families lined up along the banks just werenâ€™t there.
Nor were anglers on the Housatonic out in great numbers. The Trout Management Area between Salisbury and Cornwall was deserted, and downstream at Cornwall Bridge there were a handful of spincasters, but nobody with a fly rod.
The weather was mid-April standard, meaning chilly and wet. The Housatonic was running a little above 1,000 cubic feet per second â€” a vigorous flow, but hardly unwade-able, and the water clarity was excellent.
In recent years, itâ€™s worth noting, large crowds came out to fish even though there was still snow on the ground.
On the Blackberry River, â€œJerryâ€ from New Britain (who declined to give his real name or to be photographed with a really splendid brown trout for reasons that will become apparent) blamed the hike in fishing license fees for the poor turnout.
Resident freshwater fishing licenses went from $20 to $40 this year, but a last-minute reprieve from the state House of Representatives, in the form of a provision in a deficit mitigation bill, knocked the price back down to $28, in time for Opening Day.
The bill does not contain any provision for refunds for those who bought the more expensive version.
None of which mattered to Jerry.
â€œI didnâ€™t buy one at $40, and probably wonâ€™t at $28 either.â€
He followed this with some caustic (and highly entertaining) comments on state government.
This reporter suited up and caught two medium-sized rainbows in the Housatonic, on a birdâ€™s nest nymph tied by Mike Vincent of North Canaan. This reporter also discovered the leak in his waders, and suffered a minor spill, resulting in slight bruising to the fundament and worse to the ego.