Images of fish waiting for you to cast with an open mouth. Dreams of starved and lonely fish anticipating you to feed them. Untouched, pristine waters, just waiting to be discovered…again. Aside from catching a fish, nothing gets an angler as excited as fishing the opener! Can you blame them, with dreams like that nothing is like fishing on opening day!! Which is why every river, every boat launch, every every “secret bay” that has ever been mentioned on the internet or around the bait shop, is certainly packed with people fishing the opener! But the crowds don’t matter, because it is the opener! It is the day you have been waiting for, well, since closing day at least!
You may have spent months driving past frozen or freshly thawed rivers, dreaming of floats dropping in that perfect drift. Or you are waiting to drop a line to the depths of the lake, itching to catch that first shore lunch of the season! Or you are targeting panfish to kill time, spotting all those outta season bass…just waiting for the day you can pitch at them…and really lean into a hookset! No matter what you’re favourite fish to target is…nothing beats the opener!
There is something special about the season opener. It is like Christmas and Thanksgiving, all rolled up into one, with a side of St. Patricks Day. The anticipation that has been building as the day comes closer, much like Christmas. The gluttony of catching fish after unpressured fish, as they eat just about anything they see…like thanksgiving! Then regret when it is over, much like St. Patty’s Day…maybe I should say the day after St. Patty’s.
Fishing the opener is all about tradition
My favourite opener tradition stems back to when my father and the men in the family drove north to a lodge to fish for the May 24 weekend. It is the pike and walleye opener in most places in Ontario. In reality none of them really fished all that much, they enjoyed it but catching was a bonus. They went up to get away from the city, hang out with the guys, cook everything on an open flame, have a few drinks, and pretend they where woodsman. Once I turned 16 I joined the trip and as the years went on and families grew, the trip took a hiatus. But a friend and I took it upon ourselves to keep it going. We have been going to Waterfalls Lodge since! There isn’t a May 24 Opener that I do not remember being fishing somewhere great!
Opening day is a day steeped in tradition spent with special people at special places. Think about it, how many days on the water can you remember as well as an opener? It is a day that is remembered in great detail, told around campfires, dinner tables, and over and over again with your opener buddies for weeks as the next opener approaches. It is the day legends are born and the benchmark for all future fishing trips. No matter how you look at it, the opener is special!