Opening Dayimg_9745
    When I was a kid growing up in SE Minnesota opening day of trout fishing occurred on the first Saturday on May.  It was a festive event for a lot of people and I and some friends always camped on one of the branches of the Whitewater River, it was a tradition that we always looked forward to every year.  Military service interrupted this tradition for me, but after I got out I got to do one more with my friends.  I remember those weekends fondly.  When the opener changed to the first of March and then the middle of April there was some gathering of friends to go fishing, but not as much as before.  Today though that has changed.
    The winter trout season started in SE MN in 1986, if I remember right.  On January 1, 2001, a new opening day tradition was started.  I and my friend Mike Tomashek decided to go fishing together.  Mike had bought an old farmsted on Camp Creek a few year previous and had remodeled the old house.  We went fishing that year and it was cold!  The temp was in the single digits and the wind was blowing.  To top it all off, there had been record snowfall in December, I have photos of Mike up to his waist in snow fishing.  You know what, there were trout rising and some were caught on dries.  We fished for a while and retreated back to the farm house to warm up, have a little single malt and some food.  It was a good day.
    The following year we invited a couple of more people and every year since more people have been invited and most keep coming back every year – a new opening day tradition has taking hold.  Since that first year Mike has had the old barn on the property remodeled into what I would call a fly fishing lodge.  This was the first year for the (Barn).  The photos in the article are of fishing on Camp and the Camp Creek Gang from this year.
    The fishing this year was OK, but not great.  There was a lot of snow on the ground that made walking around a chore.  The temp was in the mid 20’s with a lot of wind, comfortable enough to be out in, but not for too long.  Trout were caught, but not as many as last year.  Last year the temp was 4 degrees with the wind chill around -20 and a lot of trout were caught even though it was a sunny day.  This year with clouds and warmer temperatures, not as many were caught, go figure.  The most productive flies were orange scuds, pink squirrels and midge pupas, the takes were subtle, but it was good to be out.
    A new opening day tradition has taken hold and it will continue to happen.  New people are invited every year.  It is good to be with people who have the same interest as you and who you like and admire.  An opening day tradition is important.
Wayne Bartz