Trout Heritage Day, on the first Saturday in April, is sort of like the trout opener of eras past. You know where the fish have been stocked. You have to wait until a certain hour to start fishing. Big crowds gather. Some partying occurs. Fishing commences.
The difference? It’s only on a handful of waters.
Today is a similar kind of day.
Delayed Harvest waters, which have been managed under catch-and-release rules since October, open for harvest. (A trout license is required through June 15.)
Opening DH waters for harvest makes sense. Most DH waters are unable to sustain trout through the summer so you might as well yank them out and eat them because they’re going to perish eventually anyway.
You know what might also make sense? Why not make the opening the first Saturday in June? That way school-aged kids could also participate.
That wasn’t my idea. It was pitched to me by a reader who has no shortage of opinions about how public officials could be doing things better. This one is tough to argue with, though maybe there’s a reason that it wouldn’t work that I haven’t thought of.
Is anyone planning to hit a DH water in the next few days? Or did anyone already get out there today?
The good news is the river and lake waters are at good levels so, despite this recent heatwave, so the water is still probably OK for trout. (At this rate it won’t be trout-worthy for long, though.)
I remember a few years ago when the Roanoke River was already so warm on June 1 that trout were floating around dead or dying. I guess that’s maybe one reason to not push the DH opener any later. So maybe have it on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
Thoughts? Other ideas?
By the way, the trout above is not a DH water trout. It’s a wild rainbow, as evidenced by its spectacular coloration and perfect fins. I pulled this shot out of my archives and I honestly can’t remember where I caught it.