If America’s sportsmen and women had to identify the people in their life who can turn an otherwise bad day into a good one, I think the one person who could and probably should show up on every outdoor enthusiast’s list is the UPS driver.
Your mailman could make the list because he delivers the odd letter or card from family or friends, those that are not sent electronically, anyway. The problem is that postal workers are obligated to leave those pesky bills in your mailbox, and bills have the potential to make an already bad day worse.
Monday was not a good day. My pickup lost a rear brake pad and the rear rotors needed replacing, so it was brake job day. A trip to the auto parts house, and more than $250 later, I found myself up to my elbows in grease and brake dust. Keep in mind that I am not one of those guys who enjoys working on his vehicles; I do so only out of necessity. To top things off, the day was unseasonably warm. Nothing like the sting of sweat as it rolls into your eyes when you can’t use your hands to rub the sting away.
Just as I was beginning to get a little grumpy, something that always happens when I play auto mechanic, the UPS man dropped by the house and left two boxes on the porch. Both were addressed to me. When I looked at the logo next to the return address, my fortunes seemed to change, and suddenly the day didn’t seem to be so bad after all.
In one of the boxes was the new float tube I ordered the week before. To top things off, it arrived just in time for “ice off” and some of the best trout fishing of the year. While I celebrated the moment, my sweetheart’s response was much more subdued. One look at the box and all she could say was, “Oh, what did you get, a little boat?”
Some people just don’t appreciate the value of a highly specialized, easily portable, manually propelled fishing apparatus when they see one.
My plan is to use that apparatus to catch rainbow trout in the coming weeks. With the ice off all Nevada trout waters south of Ely, and several at the lower elevations in Utah, the door on fishing opportunity is wide open.
In the first couple of weeks after ice off, trout tend to be lethargic. Nightcrawlers, Velveeta cheese or commercially prepared baits such as PowerBait can be productive because it doesn’t move and the fish don’t have to chase it.
If you arrive at your destination and find that a portion of the water remains ice-covered, work along the edges of the ice. The fish are comfortable there and use the edge for cover, not unlike the way a trout will use an overhanging tree limb or boulder along a stream.
As the water temperature warms, trout will become increasingly aggressive and seek to take advantage of the insects and other food sources that begin to emerge. This is a good time for moving baits such as lures and spinners. My favorite spinners are the Panther Martin, followed closely by Mepp’s. Super Dupers, small Kastmasters or L’il Jakes in gold or silver with red dots can provide exciting action when the fish are on a feeding binge.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.