Thursday, February 5, 2015

First Lake Trout

Wind raced through in 30-40 mph gusts from the north making 24 degrees or so feel like who knows. Felt good to me, since I like the zest of my native response, but after submerging my right hand in the bucket of shiners, I stuffed it in my right pocket, drying it off while I cupped the shiner hooked through the dorsal in my left so it wouldn't freeze. Snow under boots gave way just enough to grip as I walked half a football length or so to where I could cast, the pocket frozen where the ranger boat is kept during warm weather. I made the round twice, each time jabbing a rod butt into the stiff snow to keep each upright, rather than hauling my bucket to the reservoir's edge.

Then I sat in my car, turned on the ignition, warmed, and wrote in a 4 x 6 notebook I stash between the seats. I checked on the rods a couple of times before Mike showed up, my having discovered I had left my SD card at home, camera useless, a crowd of three species of waterfowl present I desired to photograph--bufflehead ducks, gadwall ducks and common mergansers. They fed at the edge of ice, and I needed additions to my collection of photography, but what the hell, Fifteen years from now I may own a $7000.00 600mm lens. And then I'll really need to get out and use it.

Mike told me he gave up four or five days ago. Hasn't caught a trout since I saw him last week. I told him about the laker caught Friday. He said he's caught two on Power Bait over the years, news to me.

"I saw your rod bounce, is that the wind?"

"That's not wind," I said. I ran like the tumbling breeze, felt like a kid.

...I was into a good fish, Mike cheering me on. It took awhile, hoping it would be a laker, hoping it would weigh five pounds.

Good thing he wore rubber boots. I didn't want to soak my hikers. The snow right at the edge was thick, ice covered, making any maneuver a little difficult. Not a five-pounder, but good size.

Lots of praise for my fish and salutations to a good dinner tonight, I packed the trout and Mike drove off.

For the past 10 years, more than any other fish besides Spanish mackerel until 2010 when I finally caught Spanish after trying since I was 17, I've wanted to catch a laker, a desire shared with my son. We rented a boat on Wawayanda and really tried. Matt hooked something big 60 feet deep and lost it. We tried on Green Lake in Maine, marking lakers 63 feet down--lots of them--Matt jigging a Kastmaster as I backpaddled the canoe against wind to keep in place. None would hit.

I can't wait to go and try again.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Round Valley Reservoir Slow but Fishable

With lakers in mind, I bought shiners at Behr's, no word there of recent Round Valley catches, not surprising that not many have been fishing. My usual spot iced over, I looked further back into Ranger Cove and, as expected, saw open water I could fish. The situation much the same last year, the reservoir never really froze over until the very end of January. It's a cold winter. Is it as cold as last year's? In any case, I don't think quite as much snow has fallen.

I stuck the butts of two rods into snow coagulated by the recent rain mix and trudged back up to my car with two upright poles behind me. When I looked back from behind the driver's seat, I was surprised to see another angler setting up near my rods. Some 10 minutes later I went back down the bankside to check my lines, and we struck up conversation. He had caught a five-pound laker on Power Bait Friday, fishing the bait not far from shore, but at least 10 to 14 feet deep.

That's the only trout I've heard of since last I was out, and I don't expect to see any trollers out there for awhile. But I'll be back.