Thursday, October 30, 2014

Out For Trout

A couple limits of nice Rainbow Trout
So last Thursday was my day to spend with Bill Lundeen of Lundeen's Tackle Castle on the corner of highways 169 and 27 in Onamia, MN.  I seldom get a chance to fish with Bill and usually when we go it's not only a great time but more often than not, very successful. It's been a tough year for Bill with the current situation at Mille Lacs however he is a survivor and while others are leveraged to the max, Bill has persevered through this difficult time.  I have a friend that states when a guy dies he probably has less than 5 guys he can count on as his true friends and Bill is on my list.  So when he asked if I was interested in a trout fishing outing to one of the many old pit mines near the Crosby/Akin area it was an invitation hard to refuse.  Setting the date of Thursday, October 23rd, I opened my calendar and was ready to meet him at the crack of dawn.  Unfortunately an important customer asked at the last minute if he could stop by at 9:00 the same morning I had little choice to oblige.  Now what our planned start time of 7:00 in the morning was now 11:30, oh well Bill is an understanding guy.  After a successful 2 hour meeting I headed north and pulled into the bait shop in record time.  Bill was ready to go as we loaded his canoe carrier and canoe onto may truck we headed north.  The day was absolutely gorgeous and if the fish weren't biting it still was going to be a great day.  Arriving at the lake we unloaded our gear and carried the canoe down to the landing about 50 yards down the hill. These old mine pits are deep, clear, and usually are stock with trout as they do well in the deep water during the summer.  With the water temperature around 50 the trout would be found in the shallower water as we headed to the 20 foot range and started trolling with small nightcrawler rigs.  Its kind of interesting to fish out of a canoe, it takes a while to get your sea legs and the confidence to move around and feel comfortable maneuvering around.  Our strategy was to troll the 20 foot water, looking for fish that might be suspended.  I ended up putting a 2 hook crawler rig on 4 pound test
Reflections of a day trout fishing
that Bill tied up for me which had a gold hammered spinner then weighted with a 1/2 ounce sinker. We probably went 50 yards when a tap tap was felt, I dropped the rod tip back still feeling the fish, gave a jerk yet still missed the fish. It was another 20 minutes before I felt another fish and letting it take the bait a little longer the hook set yielded a very nice rainbow trout in the 14 inch range.  Although it was a smaller lake and we could circle it in a reasonable time we decided to get back where the fish were biting. That last fish I caught ended up breaking the line (it was only 4# test)in the net so I put on another rig Bill had tied up but I don't know, not much confidence in going from Gold hammered to Red and White spinner color.  After another 20 minutes I decided to tie my own rig using 6# test, the hooks from the broken rig and the gold spinner blade I was back in business.  Almost immediately I got another rainbow trout, then another and another.  Struggling to put a fish in the boat Bill finally landed one but in the end our limit of 10 trout was predicated on my ability to out fish him 3:1.  I was just one of those days.  Most of these trout are stocked and represent a stock and take fishery, these fish had been in the lake for over a year as they were all 13 - 15 inches and had a nice pink/orange flesh.  It was a super day watching the trout leap out of the water, catching our limits, and the most important aspect........spending the day with Bill, the most important.  Heading back to the bait shop and home we cleaned the fish, had some pizza, a few beers before heading home.  It truly was one of the best days fishing this year.  One of the more striking pictures was the one of the reflections of the trees off the water as we pulled into shore.  With no wind to disrupt the water, the scene was fabulous.

Loaded with fish
Sunday was slated for getting the Ranger out to run some SeaFoam through my system for its long winter sleep.  I asked my neighbor Tom Olson if he wanted to go and he affirmed so we headed out. The lake was Indian Lake north of Annandale, MN, not particularly deep but it has 3 distinct areas in the lake that drop to 25 feet.  I have an old crappie fishing book and they claim that in the fall crappies will congregate in these holes, stack up, and should be easy to fish.  Well the first small hole proved both windy and impossible to fish so we moved south on the calm side of the lake.  Maybe thinking the fish were shallower we worked the 7 - 10 foot depth around the south shore but nothing was biting. With a southeast wind and a 25 foot trough perfectly positioned for a drift we dropped the trolling motor and using a slip bobber and jig, floated right down the middle.  With the weed line at about 12 feet, anything we marked should be fish. Just at the point where the bottom started rising was about 4 marks close to the bottom and one of our bobbers went down.  After putting the trolling motor in anchor mode we hovered over the spot and the longer we stayed the more fish congregated below us.  We caught a few crappies with the first one being awfully small with a couple of keepers in the mix, I was surprised by the amount of fish showing up on the depth finder screen.  The fish were biting very light and maybe it was just our setup that used standard light jigs verses maybe a plain hook in the dorsal fin presentation.  We ended up with 5 and I'm sure that given time we could have sorted through a limit of fish but it was time to go.  Forgetting to take a picture of the screen showing all the fish I went online and found one that exactly duplicates what we were seeing, it was pretty incredible.  Either way the day accomplished my 2 main objectives, the first was to get the SeaFoam mixed into the gas and into the motor and second, to prove the schooling crappie theory.  It would have been nice to catch more but at least I know it is true!

It time to set up my deer stand although it's more like setting up my deer blind.  With my bad luck this year all I need to do is fall out of an eighteen foot high tree stand.  My friend Jack has secured a place to hunt this year as we really don't feel like trudging the swamp again for the wet summer has surely filled it up.  There's still work to be done winterizing the boat as the oil needs changing, the lower unit is do to be changed, and it has to be tucked away in the garage for it's long winter's sleep. Slowly the ice fishing stuff is coming out and I'm looking forward to drilling a few holes soon.


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Shoot, you were in my backyard fishing trout. When I last did it the go to lure was a small shad rap. Fire tiger was the hot color. Good to see they're still keeping the pits full of trout.


Duane said...

You should be hunting Mr. Anderson! Oh, and don't shoot any trees this year.....

Jeff King said...

gorgeous pic of the lake, the fall colors there seem to be electric

Dave Anderson said...

Oh, it was one of those Jeff King moments, you have a successful day of fishing then the place that you have just spent 5 hours at starts looking radically different. Lucky enought to take a picture.

Duane, I'll shoot trees if I damn well please!