Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spinners, Shiners & Some Trout About on Round Valley Reservoir

Had used a shiner the other day and today felt rushed to get out the door, so I reverted to marshmallow & mealworm. But the two guys I spoke to, one of them with a Cabelas reel that lost the finger grip, used spinners, one of them nailing an 18-inch brown that hit hard yesterday on two-pound test line. 

That excited me. A hard hit in water that must not be above 40 degrees. A month ago I met a man who uses Redfin floater divers fully four or five-inches long. He had been nailing browns in 30-degree weather. 

Those are the sort of conditions that force you to shake the ice out of the guides. That didn't pique my interest, but now with temperatures on the incline, I guess I'm in the mood and may cast a spinner soon. But next time out I'm trying another shiner. I have enough--if they survive in the aerated bucket--to try the Delaware and Raritan Canal on a day auspicious to walking, also. Pickerel there, maybe bass. 

The pickerel behave like little devils you meet in the submerged brush right along the bank. They streak out and grab the shiner in full view with water clear enough. Then they turn and dash out of sight all in a blur of quickness. 

Another man came along excited about driving out--to Cabelas. He had made the stop here at Round Valley to get two hours of trout fishing in before driving all the way out there in Pennsylvania to browse. Nothing. But he filled me in on a spot. 

The implication of his story is that I should have fished there all winter. He also said Lake Wawayanda had 10 inches of ice over the weekend, but that it was second hand information and I doubt it, but Wawayanda is way north and elevated so I can't say for certain. All I know is that ice thickness during the season certainly does vary in New Jersey; in the northern counties alone it does. It does on a single lake too. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feel Spring's Presence in the Environment Just as a Tiny Change in the Tide Implies the Whole

Have run into John at Lot 2 Round Valley Reservoir for a couple of years now. He told me about the 24-inch, 5 1/2-pound rainbow he caught this January. "It leapt four times, clear out of the water." His fishing buddy had passed away recently and he uses his rod as a memento, the tag from the Round Valley Trout Association he plans to attach to this rod he caught the trout on. The Association was good enough to return the tag to him. He always fishes trout with three rods and his buddy's made the big difference for him this season. The fish looks great in the photo print he showed me. I first met John late in November 2011. He had caught a four-pound largemouth just minutes before I arrived, showed me on the cell phone. Last February almost to the day, he showed me the first lake trout I had seen caught from shore.

Two other groups of anglers arrived and one fly fisherman. The weather conditions were very auspicious: heavy wind blowing into the cove, clouds, and falling barometer. It seemed to get everyone interested, but no one caught anything. John had two hits in four hours. 

I always feel spring stir in late February and I wasn't the only one who felt it today, even though temperatures are in the low 40's. You can sense the change if you are immersed enough in nature on a regular basis. It's an almost imperceptible difference at first, like tide that has just shifted from slack to barely coming in. But you feel the hint of spring large in the environment just as a tiny motion in the water implies the whole.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Boy Scouts Ice Fishing: It's the Sort of Thing They Don't Ever Forget

25 acre Brule Lake in Pennsylvania's Black Mountains or thereabouts must be about on the same lattitude as the Jersey state line shared with New York, but the ice was about 10 inches thick, unlike any here. Supposedly, the elevation is above 2000 feet.
We drove 3 1/2 hours Friday night, arriving well before midnight, and left this morning at 9:30. The Scouts built Quinzies to sleep in last night, closet thing to an igloo. And they caught some pickerel, actually quite a number of pickerel 14 to 18 inches.
Tom had cut the first dozen or so holes and set tip-ups. A couple of hours later, I figured most of the tip-ups were too deep and away from weeds. There are some largemouth in this pond, but apparently mostly pickerel are expected. So I slung the power auger onto my shoulder and cut a line along the west side, setting tip-ups so the shiners swam just over 7 to 10 foot bottoms. Not only did I finally man my own power auger, doing this made all the difference in numbers of pickerel for the boys. I found it to be an awkward machine, but it sure cuts through 10 inches of ice easier than a split bar.