That conditions were going to be tough for the opening day of trout season 2011 was a surprise to no one.
A long, cold winter had streams running high and cold; terrible conditions for trying to land that coveted first trout of the fishing season.
Surprising, perhaps, were forecasts projecting 10 inches of fresh snow with much of the joke of April Fools Day being it is allegedly the twelfth day of spring.
Instead the joke was on those who believed the weather forecasters and chose to stay at home on the rite of spring.
Although temperatures hovered in the middle 30s with alternate bursts of snow, rain and mixed precipitation, a handful of hearty soles plied the cold waters trying to turn up a brown trout or two.
Hank Neddo at South Bay Bait and Tackle said opening day in Whitehall was pretty slow.
“I only had one guy come in, but maybe it was the weather — and a lot of guys are at work,” Neddo said.
With a weekend coming up and Friday payday for many workers, Neddo said he thought the father-son crowd was much more likely to be out in force over the weekend. “Saturday will be better,” he said.
“We come up every year,” Dan McCullough said while drifting a worm through a pool just south of Chapman’s Country Store in Middle Granville. “Getting here wasn’t a problem, it was nice enough where you didn’t have to worry about the roads and the water’s fine,” he said.
Despite the weather conditions weren’t that bad, he said.
“It’s nice, it’s full of water . . . it’s just a matter of the right place at the right time,” McCullough said.
Bundled up against the weather, McCullough looked more prepared to brave the weather at a late season NFL game in a Philadelphia Eagles baseball hat and multiple layers including a hooded sweatshirt.
“It’s not that bad out really,” he said. The worst part of the cooler weather is not being able to wear gloves while you fish. “Your hands do get cold,” he said.
McCullough and four friends come to Granville for opening day every year, driving all the way from Averill Park for what is now a nearly 30-year tradition.
McCullough said he hadn’t had any luck yet, but members of his party had a couple fish. They were scattered at various favorite spots around the area.
A pair of anglers tried their luck just off of Route 22 near Curtis Lumber while other worked the water downstream of the Middle Granville Bridge.
Rain or shine, hot or cold the five men have made their way to Granville again and again, but never facing a storm predicted to have put several inches of wet, heavy snow on the ground by daylight.
As they made their way to the big Lincoln SUV parked off of Route 22 around noon to join McCullough, Don Marcello and Dave Merritt said they were cold, hungry and perhaps worst of all empty handed.
If the forecast storm had panned out? “This might have been the year I missed,” McCullough said.