Though I gripe about opening day of trout, I can’t stay away. So, just before sunup on Saturday, there I was standing at a hole in a local creek, waiting for 8 o’clock to fire a spinner. Those last few minutes are as tense as a New Year’s countdown. Everyone has a finger on the line. Everyone takes a que from the first guy to throw. And when we did, it took two casts for me to hook into my first trout…a sad specimen though it was.

This creek is pretty enough and has a special place in my heart as I learned to trout fish on it. But it relies on rain and run-off, which means by June, it’s a trickle. What I can never figure out is why this creek gets mostly brook trout from the hatchery. They must be cheap or easy to raise, because maybe, just maybe, a good number of smaller brown trout could actually survive seeing that they have the highest tolerance for warm water. These brooks are dull and often lifeless with their clipped pec fins.

As per usual, my #2 Panther Martin, gold blade, orange body, did not fail to impress. Rare is the day when I use any other spinner but a Panther. I’ve tried them all and know many who swear by Roostertails. But I can never get that blade turning fast enough, which hurts you in short pockets. And that small tear-drop profile has nailed everything from stockers to Montana cutthroats better than anything else I’ve ever used. I can confidently say I could leave the house with a handful of Panthers and have all I ever need for trout. So have you caught any ugly trout yet this year? Can you make a case for a better spinner?