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First 2011 opener arrives next week

Dorset resident Chris Davis caught and released this beautiful brook trout on the Root River in Lanesboro during the winter catch-and-release stream trout season. Stream trout season opens in the Park Rapids area next Saturday, April 16.

Solid lakes and snow bank-laden ditches make it hard to believe that the first fishing opener of spring is merely a week away.

I'm neither referring to the 2011 walleye opener nor the bullhead opener (there isn't one, anglers can keep the bottom dwelling rough-fish all year.) Next Saturday is the official stream trout opener.

Although not as many anglers take part in the special day compared to the walleye opener, each angler experiences comparable excitement; listening to the subtle gurgling of the stream, the smell of earthy swamp gas released from the river bed beneath each step and the feel of waders clinging to your thighs from the pressure of the cool water.

Beginning trout anglers often contemplate the equipment required for competent stream trout fishing.

The initial and arguably most important item is a trout license. Not only do you need a current Minnesota fishing license (your 2010 fishing license is actually valid until April 30, 2011), but you also need a current Minnesota trout stamp.

Waders are optional, but undoubtedly beneficial when navigating the uneven terrain of a stream's bank.

If spinning equipment is your preference, short rods will aid in avoiding getting hung up in hook swallowing thicket.

If you desire the challenge of tempting a trout using fly fishing tackle, then the rod will be longer to garner longer casts via physics. On one hand, effectively using a flyrod for stream trout fishing requires refined technique.

Yet gaining the confidence and dexterity to accurately place your fly near undercuts, eddies and slackwater can only be acquired through experience. What better place to learn than along the stream bank environment?

I've always been attracted to fly fishing; not only because of the to-and-fro cadence while choreographing two hands to work independently for the goal of an accurate cast, but additionally the philosophical side of the sport.

For centuries, fly casters have shared their ideas on angling through the written word. Authors such as Zane Grey, Izaak Walton, Vince Marinaro and Sparse Grey Hackle (Alfred W. Miller) have all left their angling ideas on paper for future generations.

Even reading the compilations of fly fishing quotes makes one realize that there's a certain level of understanding about fish, life and personal reflection that's achieved while standing on the bank of a stream.

In 1950, Vincent Marinaro said, "In the lexicon of the fly-fishermen, the words rise and hooked connote the successful and desirable climax; landing a fish is purely anticlimax."

I'd agree with the statement, since the fight of a brook trout is scrappy, the tussle of a brown trout powerful and both comprise the true reason trout anglers return to the streams.

Yet muddled within the contemplation, philosophy and religion of fly fishing is humor, typically the angler poking fun at their own ineptness. Take Koos Brandt for instance, who remarked,

"My biggest worry is that my wife (when I'm dead) will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it."