Opening Day, Open Season, Open Water, Open Sesame. Spring!

Saturday, April 1, was Opening Day, so I opened a nice Cabernet and enjoyed a glass — or two? did I have two? — with an excellent cheese from Treats, in Wiscasset, a terrific little shop that I find really difficult to pass without stopping in.

You think it’s a coincidence that fishing season opens on April Fool’s Day? Nay, nay! A few gullible anglers fall for the joke each year, and wade through hip-deep snow to reach open water somewhere and lob artificial flies into swollen, turbid waters while their line guides ice up and their feet turn to blocks of ice. The only bite they get is frostbite.

Opening Day on Chickawaukie Pond, Rockland

Those of us who tumbled to the gag long ago do our April 1 fishing in comfy armchairs, browsing through fishing catalogs, watching angling videos on YouTube, rummaging through our fly boxes for the umpteenth time, or not washing our fishing vest for the 17th straight year.

April 1 was not only Opening Day for freshwater fishing in Maine; the skies over Maine opened and dumped a thick, soggy wet blanket of spring snow in some areas. Portland got ten inches of new snow while Rockland got a scant three, and most of that melted as it hit the ground. Fishing? I don’t think so.

But a few days later most of Lake Megunticook was free of ice, and what ice remained was at the vanishing point.

Lake Megunticook, Early April

April 2 was Opening Day for Major League Baseball, and a happy one at that — at least for Red Sox fans, because the Yankees lost. Opening Day at Fenway was on April 3; more happiness as the Sox beat the Pirates.

The early days of April were opening days for spring flowers, and garden shops. By the warming stonewall of the Camden Public Library crocuses bloomed, proclaiming spring to the strollers and dog-walkers enjoying a window of sunshine in Camden Harbor Park.

Camden Crocuses

This is the great thing about April in Maine: it’s a time of openings. Open season, open water, open buds on trees whose branches have been bare since November, open blossoms on spring flowers; soon we’ll be opening camp and hitting the open road for new adventures.


Nick Mills

About Nick Mills

Full disclosure: I was not born in Maine, alas! I was born in Massachusetts, but the family moved to Maine when I was eleven, and I grew up in Thomaston. My dad was skipper of one of the draggers that sailed out of Rockland, in the days when it was a rough-tough working fishing port. When he came in from the sea his favorite activity was freshwater fishing with me and my brother, Peter. We learned together to flyfish for trout in the Alder Stream in Eustis. Once hooked on the sport, pun intended, I fished at every opportunity in every place I could -- in the rivers, streams and ponds of Maine; in the mountain ponds of Utah, where I was stationed for a year in the Army; in high Andean lakes in Colombia, where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer; even in a lagoon that surrounded one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in Baghdad. I tried once to go trout fishing in northern Afghanistan, when the U.S.S.R. occupied that country; a landslide blocked my path, but that led to a more interesting adventure, which I will tell you about in a future post.