Fond memories of opening days

To us older folks, the third Saturday in April brings back fond memories.   It marked opening day of the fishing season.  In those days, the fishing season closed on February 28 and by the time April came around, we were ready to get out fishing again.  There were a lot of preparations for opening day. Fishing licenses had to be bought, new fishing equipment was purchased, night crawlers caught, live bait bought, leaky boots patched, outboard motors tuned up, preparations made for boat rentals, etc.  The night before, sandwiches were made and thermoses ready.


For a week or so before opening day, many of us drove from lake to lake checking on their conditions.   We wanted to make sure that the ice was gone off of them and there was open water in which to fish.  Some lakes were unfishable due to the ice.  There was great speculation as to which lures would work.  Would it be the gold colored Al’s Goldfish, the Silver and Blue Wobble Rite, the Red and White Daredevil?


If you wanted to get a good spot to fish, you had to get to the location around 4:30 AM on opening day.  With all of the excitement and anticipation, sleep was practically impossible the night before.


One year, in the early 1970’s, my long time fishing partner, Jerry Zink and I decided to not even go to bed so that we could be the first to get to our chosen spot.  It was the back side of Laurel Lake in Lee where the “white bridge” was located.  We knew for a fact that the DFW stocked trout off of that bridge, and we wanted to catch some of them.


We decided to spend the evening at Joe’s Bar in Lenox, socializing with the crowd, playing the pin ball machine and watching a barroom brawl or two until closing time.  After that, we would go to my house where I would cook up some bacon and eggs.  After that, we would get our fishing stuff together and arrive at Laurel Lake around 4:00 AM.  The plan progressed like clockwork and we pulled into the parking spot near the white bridge around 4:00 AM.  We were the first ones there.


It was still dark, so we got all of our gear ready; leaned our fishing poles against the car and put the bait and creels on the hood.  It was a little chilly, so we sat inside the car to keep warm.  As soon as we saw a car headlight approaching, we would jump out of our car, grab the gear and go immediately to the bridge so that we would be the first there and have the best spot.


The next thing we knew, the sun was high and shining brightly and the hordes of the world were in our fishing spot.  Both sides of the bridge were crowded and fish were splashing as they were being hauled in.  Kids were running around shouting, fish were flopping on the roadway, bobbers were hanging from trees and a couple of fishing lines were already tangled up in the overhead telephone line which ran nearby.


Jerry and I had fallen asleep and were awakened by all of the commotion.  We couldn’t even get near the water.  We left there and tried our luck at Richmond Pond and met the same conditions there.   No fish were caught that opening day.  It served us right for being so smart and trying to be the first there.


Jerry suggested that maybe next year we’d make some adjustments…..perhaps eating beforehand made us tired……yeh, that’s it, next year no bacon and eggs.


Actually, we never pulled an opening day all-nighter again. *****


The following Western District waters were scheduled to be stocked during the week of April 6:   Hoosic River (SW) in Adams and Cheshire, Green River in Alford, Egremont and Great Barrington; Westfield River in Becket, Chester, Cummington, Huntington, Middlefield, Savoy, Windsor and Worthington; Deerfield River in Buckland and Florida; Williams River in West Stockbridge and Great Barrington; Housatonic River (SW) in Pittsfield, Lee(C&R) and Stockbridge (C&R); Konkapot River in Monterey, New Marlborough and Sheffield; Lake Garfield and Onota Lake*****


The following waters were scheduled for stocking last week:  Walker Brook in Becket and Chester, Yokum Brook in Becket, Deerfield River in Buckland and Florida; Westfield River in Chester, Huntington, Middlefield, and Worthington; Hoosic River in Clarksburg, Housatonic River in Dalton and Hinsdale, Wahconah Falls Brook in Dalton, Sackett Brook in Dalton and Pittsfield,  Town Brook in Lanesborough, Greenwater Brook in Lee, Goose Pond Brook and Hop Brook in Lee and Tyringham, Depot Brook in Washington, Green River and Hemlock Brook in Williamstown, Yokum Brook in Lenox, Factory Brook in Middlefield, Farmingon River in Otis and Sandisfield, Potash Brook in Russell, Buck and Clam Rivers in Sandisfield, Larrywaug Brook in Stockbridge, Windsor Brook in Windsor, Pontoosuc Lake, Laurel Lake, Lake Buel, Plunkett Lake,  Littleville Lake, Windsor Lake, Onota Lake, Stockbridge Bowl  and Goose Pond. Stocked waters are subject to change based on water conditions, staffing functioning trucks, etc. *****


The results for of the Greylock BASS Club for 2014  are as follows:  1st Place and Angler of the Year  (2 years in a row)  Bill Gates, 2nd Place – Joe Chague, Chip McCann, Jim Underhill (3 way tie), 3rd Place – Dave Benham.  Benham also won the Big Bass of Year Award with a 4 lbs 12 oz largemouth out of Onota Lake.


Their tournament schedule for 2015 is as follows:  May – Richmond Pond and Pontoosuc Lake,   June – Onota Lake, and July – Saratoga Lake.  The Tournament of Champions is in September on Lake Champlain.


To become a boat member, contact Bill Gates at 413 243 1744. *****


Questions/comments:   Phone:  (413) 637-1818

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