Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May Weekend on the Water

I spent the past weekend on the water. Both days with folks I have known well for a long time. 
Scott working a usually productive corner bend...

Saturday was a gorgeous day. My friend Scott's wife Marlena had booked a trip with me for him as a birthday present. I was really looking forward to it! Scott wanted to brush up on his trout skills because he hasn't had a lot of time on the water lately because he is now a proud papa to two awesome little boys. Now I don't do a lot of trout guiding but I certainly can. So I brought Scott to one of my favorite smaller trout waters. It is loaded with wild fish and there are some real bruisers in there. 

The conditions were tough. We have not had much in the way of rain in the past 6 weeks or so. There wasn't a huge snowpack either and what we had melted off fairly quickly thanks to some spectacularly warm weather in late April and early May. This made the river low and clear. The fish weren't in their usual spots. Places where I would see a dozen fish most years were devoid of trout. Not good. Scot worked those spots and we kept going and going. 

Pete breaking the ice!
After taking a lunch break I decided to hit a different stretch on a whim. Scott had a couple of takes there but didn't get a hook set on either fish. Both looked like decent rainbows. We had another similar situation upstream and then a fish broke off. Moving to another river didn't produce any fish either. Low, clear water does not make trout fishing any easier. Scott was great about it but I do have to admit feeling badly for not putting a trout in his hands. Scott said that next year when he comes back I will get to choose what we chase... 

This pike's for you Cordell!
... and that is where Pete comes in. My brother and I got together on Sunday to chase big toothies out on the lake. I knew that we would find bowfin and pike so we got after it. It didn't take long to find fish. We had big bass all around, there were schools of panfish everywhere and the bowfin were all too ready to play. Pete got into one right off the bat. They are thick as thieves in the right spots right now. The really cool thing is that the males are in full spawn colors now. Turquoise fins and emerald bellies give these fish a really nice coloration. 

We nailed a bunch of bowfin and took turns switching spots so we both had a chance to put the cork to the fish. I got a nice pike too. I knew that is what Pete really wanted.
Pete's personal best bowfin of 28"

I started to have Pete work the shoreline. It was a pretty nasty day weather wise. A bit on the cold side and the wind (forecast to be 7-13 mph but was at least 15 with gusts pushing 25 or better) was not fun. The rain made it even more pleasant (huge dose of sarcasm in that statement). I had not been thinking when I got my gear together and I was in a short sleeve shirt and sandals. Pete was over prepared and had given me a jacket. 

I have to admit that I was doubtful that Pete was going to pick a fish up. There was a front rolling through and pike really don't care for unsettled weather too much. Well, I have to admit that I love being wrong in these situations! Pete got into a fish- a really nice one. He wanted very badly to get into a personal best. He definitely had that on here! A nice fish of 33" was landed. We got some pics and got it back in the lake. 
Pete's first personal best! 33"

We kept fishing and Pete picked up a couple more small ones. Then we got to one of my favorite spots. The fish were there. Pete definitely had the hot rod. For whatever reason I could not seal the deal but Pete was on his game! He nailed several more fish and then he had a bigger fish on. That thing tore him up and got him almost to  the backing. We got it next to the boat and Pete thought it was smaller than his earlier fish. I knew he was wrong (I love proving my younger brother wrong!). It taped out to be 35". Pete crushed his personal best twice in a day! Great stuff!

Pete's new personal best- 35"
What a difference between the two days though. Trout are really a pain sometimes. That is one of the reasons I don't guide them frequently. There are times in the year when they are just awesome but there are also times when all the planets align right for a huge hatch and not a single fish shows itself. Saturday there were plenty of bugs on the water and we saw only one rise in 10 hours. Contrast that with the shear biomass we saw on the lake... And the fact that the smallest fish we caught was 4 or 5 pounds... hard to beat the warmwater game!
The obligatory dropped fish picture


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