Opening day of trout season

On April 29, the opening day of trout season, sunshine splashes over the East Fork of the Carson River, while fishermen, rafters, artists and others starved for the sun's sustenance, swarm over the banks.

Cerulean-blue sky and recently-laundered verdant pines make up for the river's swift and murky water. Only one person that I talked with had actually caught a fish, but everyone was thrilled just to be out and about on such a glorious warm day.

"We're using red salmon eggs," said Marcus and Marc from the Bay area. "The river has risen since Wednesday, when our buddy came up to scout it. With this warm weather, the snow is melting rapidly so that the river is muddy. The trout are hanging out in pockets close to the banks, and we're hoping that they'll see our bright red salmon eggs."

Inside the Carson River Resort, Brad Davis cheerfully greets returning fisher-folks Lynn and George from the Bay area and brokers a deal for parking their tent-trailer for the entire summer. It's like old home week as loyal, retuning anglers arrive in the store to buy lures, lines and licenses.

Clean and neat, with flowers just beginning to bloom, the resort features cabins for rent, RV spaces, campground-by-the-river and a general store.

"I sell everything that you need and nothing you don't," Davis said, including gas and propane.

Davis, who has been the managing partner of Carson River Resort since April of 1998, says that he loves his work because it's so varied.

"One minute I'm talking to a salesman and ordering toilet paper, and next I'm painting or fixing something, and then I'm selling night crawlers or booking reservations on the Internet.

"Another reason that I enjoy managing the resort is that people are always in a good mood, because they're on vacation."

When asked about his future plans, Davis grins mischievously.

"Get married and have 10 kids. Would you please write that I'm single and 50? Seriously, I want to continue improving and expanding the resort."

Two sisters from Gardnerville, Karen and Kathy, are camped along the river.

"I'm gathering inspiration from the river to paint a card for Mother's Day," Karen said over a portable table carrying her watercolors.

"We're here to enjoy the nice weather, and we love camping in Alpine County because it's so beautiful and peaceful."

A family of four from Reno is preparing to embark from Hangman's Bridge for a day-long float down the river on their gray inflatable rubber raft. Parents Lisa and Matt show 8-year-old Haley how to pump air into the raft via their pickup's battery. Matt asks his daughter if she wants to wear her winter or summer wet suit.

"Winter," she emphatically states. Her 5-year-old sister Hannah already is dressed in her miniscule summer wet suit with short sleeves, and they all will wear life jackets. Their plans include stopping for lunch at the small hot springs downriver.

Though Ebbett's Pass on Highway 4 is still closed by gates across the road at Wolf Creek, Monitor Pass on Highway 89 has just opened, transporting anglers from Highway 395 south. Across from the bright green summer pastures of the Jubilee Ranch, a covey of rafts are bobbing along in the swift-moving East Fork of the Carson River. When I close my eyes, I can picture compositions of granite cliffs and swirling water, surmounted by blue sky. What a fine day this is for fishermen, rafters and artists.

n Gina Gigli is a Markleeville resident. Reach her at


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