March 1is opening day of trout season in Missouri’s four trout parks. Thousands of winter weary anglers will travel to Bennett Springs, Montauk and Roaring River State Parks, as well as the James Foundation’s Maramec Spring Park, to stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow fishermen to catch rainbow trout.
Opening day is the beginning of spring for many outdoor minded people. Opening day provides a reunion for experienced anglers who have been attending for decades. These mature anglers will have their fun and catch fish, too.
On the other end of the fishing spectrum is the inexperienced or fair weather fishermen. They, too, will have a good time. However, when it comes to catching trout, they will not fair as well. Far to many begin trout season ill prepared. Following are some tips that are sure to get any trout fisherman off to a good start.
Check That Line
One the biggest problems anglers experience on opening day is bad line, according to expert trout fishermen Roy King.
“I see it every opening day and sometimes well into the season,” he said. “Monofilament line deteriorates quickly and every angler should start with new line each opening day. Line that has set on a reel for months will have a memory. There is nothing worse than having your first cast of the new season look like a huge bird’s nest.”
Line weight should be appropriate for trout as well. Trophy hunters often use line up to eight pounds. It is easier to get away with heavier line in the early season because the water may be a bit colored. However, as the water clears it is necessary to drop to two or four pound test line.
Work Your Rod & Reel
Use your rod and reel well before the season opener. Make sure it is is in good operating condition. Take the reel apart and clean it. Line often gets inside the gears. Clean them and apply oil or grease. Check bail springs and replace if needed.
Rods need attention, too. Check for nicks and cracks in the rod shaft. Make sure all guides are straight and that wrappings are tight. Check guides for grooves worn into them. Grooves will cut your line. Replace them if they are worn.
Try Your Waders
As a past trout park superintendent, I saw lots of opening day fishing trips ruined because of leaky waders. Some die hards try to tough it out when their waders leak, but opening day temperatures are often frigid. Under such conditions, frost bite and hyperthermia are possibilities.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to leaky waders. Try them out well before opening day so that you have time to repair or replace them if needed. You will be glad you did.
A word on lures...go small. Small jigs in a variety of colors, lightweight spinners, trout worms, prepared baits and even marshmellows and corn are excellent baits. If in doubt, visit your nearest Bass Pro Shop. An associate can help you quickly.
Above all, have fun and don’t elbow your fishing neighbor.