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11 September 2005
Local lake fishing report [September 10 2005]

We spent our Saturday around home after a plan to spend the day with some friends fell through. But we did treat ourselves to an evening fishing outing on a local lake.

We're lucky to have this small state park only a short drive from home. The park is about 2500 acres in size and has a nice 400+ acre lake within it. The lake is man-made - the result of damming a portion of a small river - and is probably 4 to 20 feet deep. At the time it was built, the lake was stocked with bass, perch, bluegills, sunfish, crappie, pike and muskies; all continue to thrive. It is a lake that receives a lot of fishing pressure since it's one of the few decent fishing lakes around, but it's managed fairly well and provides reasonable outdoor experiences for many. It is a great place for birding; there are lot's of species to find. It's a 'no-wake' lake so we can paddle around in our little kayaks and canoe without risk of being run over or washed up on shore. Thank heaven for that.

We loaded up the canoe last night and headed over to the lake at about 6:00 PM. B chose to take a spinning rod, but I couldn't choose against a fly rod and so chose my 9'9" 5 weight. Our friend Barb called at the last minute and joined us so she could get a little fly fishing in also. Barb and I used mostly surface poppers and rubber-legged bugs while B used big rubber-bodied jigs and sinking plastic baits.

The first location we tried yield absolutely nothing except a visit from a friendly muskrat. I think I stirred one little bluegill to smack at my fly and that was it for all 3 of us. We paddled back across the lake to another favorite area and had a little better luck. First we were treated to a brief owl show. A pair of short-eared owls flew back and forth over the water between a couple of perches and they were close enough that we could get a good view. I started catching 4-5" whopper bluegills once in awhile - sorry I didn't bring my camera. B caught a monster 16-17" largemouth up against the edge of a weedy patch - sorry I didn't bring my camera. She must've landed her sinko right on his nose because he exploded on it as soon as it hit the water. We brought him into the canoe after a strong battle in the weeds and quickly released him. A short while later, she caught another monster just like him. This one must have chased her sinko for awhile; he didn't hit it until she had retrieved it part way back. He did manage to put up a strong fight under the canoe. She got one more big, splashy strike without a hookup on the evening. Barb and I each caught a handful of little bluegill dinks - some in the mouth, some not.

Ratio of driving time to fishing time: 1:6
Wildlife sightings: great blue herons, a pair of short-eared owls, various ducks, cormorants, an osprey, bitterns, a muskrat, a big painted turtle and lots of cedar waxwings
Fishing tackle smackdown: a spinning rod beats a fly rod this time
Did I get to use a spey rod?: No
Enjoyment grade for the evening: A

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