This weekend was the first time in about 13 years that I’ve done some serious fishing. The local blue ribbon trout river is dammed at several places. Following my neighbor’s advice I headed out to Lake “P” which is one of several man-made lakes on the river. Lake “P” is about 30 miles from where I live.
I arrived at the dam and figured I’ll plunk around with Berkley Power Bait and marshmallows. There were about six people fishing near the dam so I figured maybe this was the spot.
It was not.
So after an hour of nothing I remember that my neighbor advised night-crawlers and rocky drop-offs. Well the blasted lake is so large that I had no idea where to start! I did remember seeing a sign for the marina and a bait shop so I decided to go get bait.
The bait shop only takes credit card if your purchase is $10 or more. Naturally I had no cash. Damn. So I ended up buying worms, a can of Pringles, and a nifty lure. As I was checking out I ask the bait shop owner where he thought I stood the best chance of catching any fish, period.
Bait shop owner: “See those two rocky points?” [motioning out the trailer window]
Bait shop owner: “You need to go to the far side of either one. You’ll need to go up the gravel, back to the black top, hang a right, and wind around until you make it to one of the points.”
Me: “Okay, thanks.”
I have to admit that as I drove out I put the odds at 12% that this guy was busy radioing his buddy to jump me on the point. Turns out I was wrong.
I take my car as far as I dare and ended up parking in the last visible parking lot (i.e. “rustic” gravel lot). From here on out its feet or a 4×4. I could tell from the view that I was at the first point. I’m guessing that the point is 700 yards at its widest and at least 1,500 yards long. After at least a mile of walking I ended up on the far side where Mr. Bait Shop said I should go.
10 minutes into my first cast and I get a huge hit. The result is a 19″ rainbow trout that is probably at least 3 lbs.
After an hour and one huge hit that I miss I decided to move 50 yds. First cast in and I get another huge hit. This one is big enough that it’s making my drag whine — I’m estimating four or five pounds. I see a flash of white as it rolls and breaks my line!
One more try, one more hour, and one more hit. This time I land a nice 22″ rainbow trout!
Mishaps? Well the reel I bought 13 years ago in Indiana literally fell apart on me. I suspect it’s a metaphor for Indiana and I’m glad it did not happen with a fish on. Incidentally the next photo is of my Shakespeare Alpha 040. I kid you not: This reel is 31 years old. It has caught northern pike, bass, catfish (including a 12 lb channel cat), and carp well over 7lbs. I can still remember biking all over hell and back in Nebraska as I carried it.
It’s fitting that it was with me one more time.
Near the end of my trip the wind picked up to at least 25 mph so I called it a day. The last photo is of the walk out.
Here’s the gallery. It has the above photos as well as many others.
- I’m just plain rusty. At first I thought that I needed to upgrade my rig. Turns out not. For rainbow trout the dogma recommends light to medium spinning rods with line ranging from 4 – 8lb breaking point. “Old Faithful has 10lb test so I probably need to downgrade it.
- Totally thought there would be a million people out fishing. In Indiana on Labor Day weekend I would have been knee deep in Hilljacks. I remember one holiday on Lake Monroe: Jerkwads going way too fast and leaving huge wakes, guys in boats dropping lines near where bank fishers were, etc. I had the entire beach to myself and I still can’t get over that fact!
- Brown trout in rivers is another beast: Dogma recommends medium spinning rigs with line ranging from 12 – 17lb test. I need to replace the rod that fell apart so my plan is a medium rig with 14lb breaking point line. Fishing for brown trout in the river will happen – just not this year.
- Turns out you can also use artificial trout worms for rainbow trout. Given I’ve used them for bass this would be an easy transition. So I plan to add a few to the tackle box.
- Fly rods and fly fishing? Some day. For now I’m more than happy making due with spinning rods!
- When I do replace the trusty Toyota Corolla it’s going to be with some type of 4×4.
- I plan to take one day off in September and go out for one more try.
- The next outing will be catch and release. Dogma advises taking a pliers and flattening the barbs.
One last photo: I could not resist leaving the Trout God a little Zen thank-you!