Well after my trip to Nipigon, Ontario and not being able to coax any fish I was pretty discouraged. Had I really become that rusty over the winter? I still craved that tug on the end of the line. So no sooner I got home from Ontario I headed out west to Patterson Lake, Manitoba to try my luck at some ice-out stillwater trout.
When I arrived at the lake it was beautiful! Sunny and nearly 18ºC. The lake was still mostly covered in ice with only a couple football fields worth of open water. I walked down to the dock to check out the bug situation and spotted rainbows chasing eachother in the shallows. I hurriedly got my rods together, float tube all geared up and set off. As I kicked out from the launch I spotted a pod of atleast 25 fish all chasing one another and hanging around the gravel section at the boat launch. I assume they were staging.
The water was really cold, only 4ºC, if that. So the feet felt it immediately. On my third cast however I forgot about the cold. Not two minutes on the water and my indicator goes down. YES! Been waiting all winter for this. I set into the fish hard and kicked out away from the reeds. The fish ended up diving into the reeds and I lost it. Not discouraged though. Next cast I hooked up another, this time I got it out of danger and was able to land a beauty spring hen.
I was using a quick-release indicator with only 24-inches between it and my fly, as I was fishing pretty shallow. The fly that worked best for me was a beadhead scud, rust coloured with a gold bead. And small, only size 12-14. I opted for my 8-weight with 10lb tippet. These were heavy fish and I didn’t want to fight them too long. Even with heavy tippet and rod they were a handful to bring to the net.
My total for the afternoon was 22 rainbows over 20-inches with the largest pushing 25-inches. I also lost another 10 on top of that to either straightened hooks, thrown hooks or fish taking me into the reeds.
Was a heck of an afternoon and definitely made up for my lack of fish on my previous trip. I could have easily sat and caught 50+ fish but opted to give em a break. No need to poke holes in that many fish. Doesn’t prove anything. I decided to switch up and casted leech and minnow patterns for browns. Didn’t entice anything though this time around.
The weather turned within an hour of me arriving. From beautiful and sunny, to driving sleet and pouring rain combined with howling winds. I still caught fish during this freak weather front but it definitely slowed afterwards. Was fish every third cast instead of fish every cast. =P They also wanted the fly closer to the bottom after the weather moved through.
I actually got bored of catching fish. Pretty sad! It was taking me longer to fight the fish then it was to catch another. I only fished for about 4 hours before my feet got just too numb from the cold water.