The sap was all boiled and bottled, the weather was spring like and my house chores complete, so it was off to fish a local TMA (Trout Management Area) to see if I couldn't get into some open water trout.
The first stop was my home stomping grounds of the Cole Wilde TMA located on the Willimantic River. I wasn't sure what condition the river would be in with all the rain last week and the snow melt off so I was prepared for the worst but was pleased with the conditions of the river. The water was high and it was running fast but much clearer than expected. I noticed plenty of winter stones fluttering about and scurrying across the rocks but no fish activity. I was also the only one fishing which was a sign that the preseason stocking hasn't occurred yet. Oh well, that just meant that I would have to work hard for a fish which was fine with me as I was just excited to be on the water and using my new Greys Streamflex 10' 4wt.
I decided to do some indicator nymphing using a woven stone fly as my anchor fly and a small black Pheasant Tail nymph as a dropper. Up until this trip I always used a 9 foot rod and I really didn't think that a 10 foot rod would be much of difference but that extra foot really helps with line control when nymphing. The Streamflex was a pleasure to cast and handled everything I threw so needless to say i am very pleased with the new rod. I worked over my favorites runs with out a single bump and no sign of fish anywhere.
I knew some of the TMA's had been stocked as I had reports from friends of their "slamming the stockies" outings, but that wasn't the case on the Willi so I packed it up and headed down to another TMA on the Hocknum River. Once again I was greeted with a pretty open and easy to access stretch of the TMA all to myself so honestly I was expecting the same results as on the Willi. The water was moving fast and high just like on the Willi, except it was a little cloudy. I got all rigged up for some nymphing again and worked about a 200 yard stretch of water with not bumps and not a single fish seen. There were stones fluttering around as well as what I would gather were midges. As I was working the last stretch of water by my truck a couple of guys stopped to chat and see how things where going. Turns out they were just on their way back from another TMA where they said it was like opening day. Loaded with fisherman and fish. It was the same TMA that I was getting the "slamming the stockies" reports from my buddy so I wasn't surprised. We chatted for a bit and I decided it was time to head home.
So my first open water trip resulted in a big ZERO as far as fish count goes, but it was great to be back on the streams and to fish my new rod. The upcoming weather forecast looks more like winter than spring but that's okay because the rivers and streams are open and flowing so the trout fishing will only improve and what more can you ask for.