Successful opening day in Hope Valley
In the spring, there’s a reason this pristine Alpine County meadow lives up to its name.
Fishermen of all types showed up Sunday on the banks of the Carson River for opening weekend of one of America’s favorite pastimes.
Some were lucky. Others were hopeful of catching the big one in their five-fish limit.
Tina Roybal dropped her line into the West Fork of the Carson River at Pickett’s Junction, and 30 seconds later, she rose from her folding camp chair.
Roybal was surprised to have pulled out a 13-inch-long rainbow trout.
What caught her shimmery friend?
“I go for the sparkling stuff,” she said.
Roybal held up a can of Power Bait gook, which was later replaced in the chair cup holder by a bottle of beer.
“It’s too early,” she remarked.
Roybal was joined by her husband, Art, and family friend Katherine Fasing – two fly-fishing enthusiasts who usually separate on the river because they’re competitive with each other, she said.
Fasing took up the graceful sport six years ago because it’s more challenging.
“There’s a lot more to it than throwing the bait in. You have to know the insects. You have to know the area,” the Carson City resident said, snapping the line back and forth like it was choreographed to music.
“It’s kind of lonely. But it’s a good kind of lonely,” she said.
Fasing has learned both the Zen and culture of fly-fishing. This means being patient and discovering what bites because fish are smarter than people think, she said.
“You have to tread lightly. You have to even watch what you wear,” she said. “If you use (fake) crickets and they’re not out, they say, ‘What’s this?’ And if in doubt, throw everything at them.”
The avid trout fisherman pulled out her mini tackle bag where many of her secrets lie.
“I know that at Pyramid Lake, they go for the big spoons,” she said, picking up shiny lures.
To Ed Vario of South Lake Tahoe, worms are still the name of the game.
Vario caught a few trout on the Carson River last year, and he was sold on the sport. He was itching to start fishing again on the first weekend.
Like many others, he showed up midday with the hopes the fish will bite under the bridge where Highways 89 and 88 meet.
“They eat at the same time as we do,” Mary Zboralske of Kirkwood said, while holding her catch of the day – a 14-inch rainbow trout.
Since the movie “A River Runs Through It” came out in 1992, fishing and in particular fly-fishing has undergone a resurgence of popularity.
“More people are out fishing than we’ve seen for some time, and this weather can’t hurt,” Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters owner Victor Babbitt said Sunday. “It sounds funny but that movie built my business.”
Babbitt has seen more and more people taking classes and gearing up – with many opting for tackle packs that cross between a fanny pack and vest.
Entry into the sport can range from $50 to $2,000.
Babbitt said he’s noticed a number of bait and spin-rod fishermen moving up to fly-fishing. The reasons can range from alleviating boredom to seeking a challenge.
“It’s like moving up to that Ferrari,” he said.
– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org