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Thank PG&E on opening day fishing
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Opening day is always special to me. Each year my primary goal is to fish all day and see no other anglers. When you consider that over two million Californians buy trout stamps and that most of them are out fishing opening day, you can appreciate my goal. In the last ten years I’ve only had one opening day that I’ve seen anyone else astream. My secondary opening goal is to catch fish. One opening day I caught no trout at all and on another, I caught only four.

Usually, however, I do manage to catch lots of fish. My average over the last ten years, on opening day has been 36.2 trout per day. No, I’m not bragging because I readily admit that I am only an average angler. Chances are that another angler fishing side by side with me will catch just as many fish as I do. The difference is that the average person is not crazy enough to go into the remote and inaccessible places I venture into in my search for solitude.

The trick to catching lots of fish on opening day, or any other time, is knowing where to fish, and when to fish there. This year for example, it looks very much like it is going to be an extremely wet year. The snowpack is large and should be even larger by opening day. With normal spring weather, by May 1t, the spring snow melt should be well under way. That place you did so well at last July is probably snowbound and even if you could get to it, the water would probably be too high and muddy to provide good fishing.

If steam conditions are as I’ve anticipated, there will be only two exceptions which may provide good fishing for opening day: 1. streams controlled by dams, and 2. small streams whose headwaters are below snow level. This year snow level on May I should be between 4,000 and 5,000 feet in elevation.

Pretty simple isn’t it? All you have to do is pick the right stream at 4,000 to 5,000 feet or lower. Right? Wrong! You have to pick a stream that starts at 4,000 to 5,000 feet or lower. That means that you would end up fishing at an elevation of 2,000 to 3,000 feet. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many trout streams at that low of an elevation and that those that are, usually lie on private property. Your best bet is to get as many forest maps as possible and search them carefully for a public, low elevation stream that’s in a fairly remote location.

Fortunately PG&E is very conscious of public opinion and really tries to foster good relations with the angling public. It has been my experience that even when they have a surplus of water, PG&E will hold back water on opening day just to help anglers like you and I.

I certainly don’t look forward to getting my PG&E bill each month, but they deserve a pat on the back on this issue. This spring if all goes well, you’ll find fair fishing below the major dams, when otherwise, opening day might be pretty bleak. Next time you see your local PG&E guy, buy him a cup of coffee and thank him for the fishing.

Until next week, tight lines.