Fishing for Supper
I often say “hunting isn’t all about killing.” As well, fishing isn’t always about bringing home supper or even fishing. Both methods of putting supper on the table involve little killing. We were fishing for supper last weekend when we went to Pleasant Lake (the one off Rt 6) to fish for the first time. I’m a die hard bass girl. I grew up with a pole in my hand and catching mostly bass and white perch.
Fishing for supper was more about learning one shoreline of the lake. Boulders, sudden shallow water, a gorgeous and noisy outlet, a tiny stream that’s surely seasonal during melt and again after a heavy rain, and what might be biting where were our agenda that day. Catching fish was a bonus.
The dock belongs to someone who has their camper parked in the campground for the summer. It isn’t for public use.
We took a slow ride out to the first point, trolling for salmon and togue, neither of which we caught. I’ve never seen a togue (big lake trout) and haven’t caught a salmon in years. I’m allergic to boredom so once the first inkling of “this is boring” popped into mind I was done. I started casting.
Steve turned off the motor while he changed lures. Whatever the salmon and togue wanted weren’t anything he was offering. I heard a splash and looked up to a big circle of ripples. What was that? Splash. Splash SPLASH splash. A feeding frenzy. Mayflies were hatching. I changed to a smaller lure, cast a few times, and figured out how to work the lure. The fish were rising for the mayflies but I had nothing small that floats. By keeping the tip of the rod up I was able to keep the lure a couple of inches beneath the surface and was rewarded with brook trout! HA! I love brookies! They have a soft mouth so the hook is easy to get out, they’re “hand sized” so I can wrap my hand around it if it’s a fish I’m going to keep, and have a good grip while I remove the hook, and they don’t have a big dorsal fin to avoid while holding them in your hand. Best of all, they’re delicious.
We’re told the best bass fishing is on the other side of the lake but what the heck. The water was 54° at six inches, colder below. Bass are a little sluggish now, not at all like July when they’re almost hitting anything you want to throw at them. They need a slower reel and sometimes a smaller bait. I thought I had one heck of a big brook trout on during the feeding frenzy but it was a small smallmouth bass, about 14″. It didn’t put up much fight. I wasn’t disappointed, remember I’m the bass lover, but I let him go. As far as bass go it was small and I hadn’t looked up the regulations for a minimum size bass in Pleasant Lake. Fishing for supper has its rules. The bass had no parasites that we could see, something that isn’t all that common around here. Had it been two or three inches longer it would have been coming home with us. I was going to change lures to something a little bigger when the brookies stopped but didn’t need to – still go the bass.
During a lull in catching I tried Steve’s fly rod. It’s a little too long for me and it’s heavier than mine. I didn’t get comfortable with it but I did learn a few things. Steve fly fishes for salmon on the Restigouche River in New Brunswick, Canada. They fish from huge canoes and have a guide. He’s had the benefit of working with a guide who can tell him what he’s doing right and wrong, and he passed that along to me. I know now that I’m still using my wrist too much, and more than once he reminded me to not use my whole arm. A man Taylor, Erin from and a strong cup of coffee, and I met in Grand Lake Stream approached me while I was working on my casting. “Would you like to learn how to catch a salmon,” he asked. “I’d just like to learn to cast well.” He gave me a great tip that helps me keep my elbow where it belongs. I hold my net between my hip and elbow for the first five or ten minutes as a reminder. Without the net I was immediately making that mistake. I’ll make it a habit to take my fly rod with me from now on. I’m still trying to land my first good fish (by good I mean not a chub… a story I don’t tell) on the fly rod.
The pouty look I have when it’s time to leave the water. I don’t use photos of myself here very often and now that I have, it’s a pouty face. You’re welcome. The sun was sinking behind clouds, the fish stopped biting, and we had chores to do at home. It won’t be long til we’re back on the water, fishing for supper.