After the Nebraska skunking fishing became personal. So personal, in fact, that Mrs. Patterson got tired of hearing me bitch about it! So when I went out this past Saturday it was with a Ahab-like determination to catch a fish.
I’ve been out here in the Wild West long enough to have discovered a few good fishing spots on the river and a few on Lake P. I started below Lake A. on the river by the dam spillway. This is my lucky spot where last October I caught 9 rainbow trout and lost another 3. It is also where I caught an almost 5 lb brown trout on a chartreuse Kastmaster. Unfortunately they who control the river had all the gates open to flush the river in preparation for the spawn. The water was moving so fast that this section was unfishable.
Leaving the spillway I decided to take the back road to Lake P. This road passes a section of the river where fly fisherman flock. Without waders, however, there is only 10% worth fishing. Since it was on the way I figured I’d stop and throw a few spoons. After about 30 minutes and no hits I gave up and headed on to Lake P.
I went to my usual spot which is Wolf Point. This point is a rocky peninsula that extends at least a half mile out into the lake. It starts out with gravel beaches and gradually gets rockier. The last third of the point is total rock, has lots of good coves, and has lots of sheer drops and other ways to get yourself hurt if you are not careful.
My typical pattern when fishing the point with bait is to try a spot for 15 minutes. If I do not get bites within 15 minutes I move further down the point. Typically when the trout are hitting you’ll get dozens of bites within the hour. Despite perfect weather I spent the first two hours moving up and down the point with no bites.
After scrambling over rocks and getting annoyed I decided to move in the opposite direction. If I was going to get skunked at least it would be on an easy-walking gravely beach! Well at about 10 a.m. and I had my first bite which turned into this 18″ rainbow trout:
I decided to stay on this strip of beach in hopes that the trout would start running. When they do on Lake P. it’s very easy to catch several in one spot over an hour. No luck, however. In fact, I did not get my next bite until 10:45 a.m. It was on a larger hook that I decided to bait with two fatty worms. When the fish hit my bait it was one of those moments where it did so with enough force to make my drag whine! This guy could be decent and it turned out that my suspicion was correct. My first-ever German Brown Trout and he was 20″ long and a little over three pounds!
When I was trapped in Nebraska I ended up buying a baitcasting reel. I am currently in the process of teaching myself how to use the darn thing. Suffice to say that casting one is vastly different from the technique used for a spinning reel. On the way back to town I pass a section of the river the locals call “The Narrows.” For about 100 yards the river narrows and passes through two cliffs. The water here is deep and abounds with snags. There is supposed to be both rainbow and brown trout in this section.
Since this area is mostly sheltered from the wind I decided to use it as a place to practice casting with my baitcaster. After about 30 minutes of mostly successful casting I finally ended up with a birds nest and no fish. After that I tried bottom fishing with bait on one of my spinning rigs but got three snags. In desperation I rigged one pole with a bobber and some split shot. Here I had two solid bites on worm but due to the slack in the line and fast current I was unable to set the hook before the fish spit it back out.
Last word on the baitcaster: turns out my Nebraska pal was wrong. He preached rigging it with braided line so I did. However, according to this article and the expert I chatted with at our local sporting goods store, beginners should start with monofilament. This explains why it bunched up twice on the spool and broke the line. When that happened I watched two $5 Kastmasters go sailing into the river as they trailed braided line! Consequently my baitcaster is now rigged with 10 lb monofilament!
Until next weekend…