So the deer season is done and there is no venison in the freezer.
The old zig zag favored Mr. Big as well as Mr. Middle, Mr. Little and all the does and fawns.
Could haves, should haves, and maybes just aren't edible
Up until this past weekend the fall weather has been a lot more like summer than autumn. No need for hats or jackets. I hadn't even pulled on an old woolen sweater until late last week. But then here it is today coming down raw and white. Time to pay attention. Get all the nuts stashed.
Please accept my request for a week's vacation - to start immediately.
My customers and co-workers are very supportive of the idea.
now, where the hell are my keys
come on, they were right here a minute ago
what have I done with that fly box
my five weight should be right there!!
waders, where the hell are my waders
glasses? oh sweet Jesus
babble, babble, babble................................
It is not unusual to hook a pike while fishing for crappie and bluegill
It is usual for said pike to dive into the pondweed or the chara never to be pulled out
Or to snip the tippet
A four weight and three pound leader isn't exactly pike gear
So when a pike of interesting size behaves well
And comes alongside the kayak
Whipped, after a few good runs and sounds
It is an unusual event that seems to deem a measurement and a snapshot
But bringing a twelve pound pike into a twelve foot boat?
Nothing good can come of that
So let's just unhook and estimate
They are bigger memories then
Out for a little paddle at dusk to procure a crappie fillet or two. Stealth is required, as the water clarity is pushing twenty three feet. The last stroke is made about 50 yards from the fishing spot so that I silently drift up to the edge of the weed bed. The bottom falls away to forty-three feet deep. A fish inhales the little jig about halfway down, and as I set the hook, my attention goes to a six point buck that clambers down the steep bank and into the water. He hears the crappie splash as it reaches the surface and instantly freezes both body and stare at the old grizzly guy in the little boat. The buck scrambles back uphill and disappears under the lower boughs of a big spruce as the flopping crappie comes unpinned.
I catch and lose a few more fish while listening to the deer bang around in the near shore woods. A rustling of brush or a thrashing of a bush and a few good clacks and whacks for good measure. Action packed. Then some splashing and movement to my right 50 yards farther on. Where the wetland necks down the valley to meet the lake proper. The high cattails obscure the commotion. It is past sunset and too far away. My little camera won't reproduce shit. But hey, I'll take the shot.........
Three bucks single file it across the little wetland neck. Heads above the screening vegetation. First the six pointer that clattered down the hill. Right behind him an eight pointer takes the same line. And then another eight pointer - higher and wider than number two.
Snap snap snap. Two crappies in the bag. Paddle home. Kiss summer goodbye.
The past week has been one of the true gems of the year
Calm winds with warm days and nights
Full on spring songbird migration
Courting ducks and loons
and now the bloomin' blossoms!
Broiled bluegill with wild plum blossoms
Recipe modified from the Angry Trout Cafe
The proper recipe is available in their cookbook, but I do it like this:
one quarter cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lime (very cold)
pinch of salt
pinch of dried tarragon
Paint the bluegill fillets with the mixture
place under broiler or over wood coals
for 2-3 minutes
Wild plum blossoms for garnish
Savor this fleeting week.....................................................
When the green fuzz appears, the fish really start to move. Today there were hoards of red horse and suckers massed in the current at the outlets of several lakes that I visited. Large mouth bass and hybrid sunfish were stacked just downstream of the spawning fish, no doubt gorging on sucker eggs. They ignored my flies.
The quaking aspens are the first to pop their buds. To green up. To return from six months of dormancy.
I remember as a kid, listening to my Grandfather and his cronies telling fishing tales. One old grizzly guy says, "When those "popple buds are the size of a mouse's ear, you better just drop everything and go after speckled trout!" Truer words.........................
The same applies to panfish in my locale. The bluegills run into shallow water from their winter depths and the crappies are not far behind. They are picky biters until the water warms into the fifties. They reject a fly as fast as they take it. A strike indicator could help, but I am not a bobber guy.
This evening there was a blizzard hatch of large black chironomids and the fish were taking them just below the surface. For a few minutes just as the sun dropped below the trees, the lake surface did a little boil.
A big, buggy, well munched number 8 stonefly is just the ticket. Easier to remove than a midge emerger. Small flies and low light and eager sunfish make for trifocally challenging releases, so a bigger fly is a better deal.
Hybrid vigor of an old fighter touching the magic ten. Split tail might be the result of some earlier angling encounter. Perhaps we have met before.