There is the opening day of the season and then there is my personal opening day – the day that marks my first opportunity each year to fish for wild brown river trout. This is that day.
Over the years I’ve learned to temper the enthusiasm with a measure of realism born from experience. There have been a few memorable halcyon opening days and a few that fell short of expectation. Today is one that will simply fail to materialise.
The snow that fell overnight is continuing to fall as I take my first peak at the day. There is an instant realisation that this seasons opening day is postponed. I’m not a fair weather angler, but the heavy snow and strong wind is not what I have in mind and I’m resigned to doing something else with my morning. I think the dog walk will be extra long. The snow is not as deep as a few weeks ago and I know the Land Rover will get me out, so I’m not confined to the hills and woods around the house. I think I’ll head to the river.
The Usk has something to offer every Season. Even now when Spring is confused by the refusal of Winter to leave, the river is determined to impress. Heavy rain that preceded the snow is pushing the flow through at a pace I would not like to test. I enjoy wading, but I know my limitations.
Today, even Ollie, my daft retriever has enough sense of self preservation to stay out of the water. The snow stops and I look for any signs of fishiness. Nothing to report. The river offers no hint of its (deserved) reputation for early season trout. I contemplate the coming week and consider if it affords me a chance to open my season or will it be next weekend? As I wander down-stream I continue to explore every inch of the current. I rehearse where the fly will land and how the line will track. I note where I’ll stand to fish the seam below a boulder and where I might try a left handed cast to avoid the tree trout.
My eye catches a little back eddy and I see a distinct ring. It’s almost certainly something that’s fallen from the overhanging branch, but I know it’s a hulk of a brownie that is going to spend the next few days working its way upstream a couple of miles; where I will be waiting on my opening day.