Monday, October 17, 2011

Stealing a couple of hours to go fishing during a family vacation

My wife doesn't eat fish.  The idea of catching fish is even less appealing to her.  But she is a pretty good sport and is usually willing to let me steal a couple of hours to go fishing when we're on a family vacation.

It's pretty easy to stow away my trusty vintage Eagle Claw pack rod, a Mitchell 300 reel, and a half dozen of my favorite lures.  I can nearly always find a canoe to rent.  The only problem is finding fish when I arrive at a lake I've never been to before.  I have a few methods for finding fish that have yielded pretty good results over the years.
On lakes I always try to locate either the inlets or outlets and will fish those first if possible.  For a second choice I try to imagine just where an original channel might be based on a quick look and surrounding terrain.  If I'm too far from an inlet or outlet, I look for large rock outcroppings near the water's edge.  Often there are springs flowing into a lake below such outcroppings.  

The next most important factors are wind direction and barometer change.  The wind will generally blow debris containing food, and I want to be where it accumulates along the shore.  Dams are usually great places to find wind-blown food.  If it has just quit raining and the water has turned glassy smooth, I can't get there fast enough.

My wife, mother-in-law, and I were visiting Banff and Jasper national parks in Canada a few years back.  The ladies wanted to take a scenic boat cruise to Spirit Island on Jasper's famous Lake Maligne.  It was the perfect opportunity for me to rent a canoe and do a little fishing.  I paddled a zig-zag course over an imagined channel and in a short time caught a beautiful fat brook trout.  I had learned long ago that when you catch a fish you need to turn around and paddle over the same area again.  Voila!  I picked up a second fat brookie.  It was just enough for my mother-in-law--who loved fish--and me to dine on.

I filleted the fish and took them to a four-star restaurant to see if the chef would cook them for us.  Within a few minutes of sitting down at a table the chef appeared and said,  "I'll make a fabulous meal for you if you just tell me where you caught those fish."  The chef was French and he really kept his word.  I hope he found the same hole I pulled those Brookies out of.

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