Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Lure Of Calm Waters

Its 6:00 am and the 10 minute walk to the lake from the camp has helped wear off any after effects from a few drinks of rum the night before, and helped digest a great breakfast that was probably too greasy for any man. The walk down the path to the canoe is shielded by trees, but the last right hand turn reveals the view of the lake. The sun is only just coming up, and a thin mist is rising from the water. The lake is flat calm. My love of stillwater fishing started at the age of 10, and hasn't stopped since.

I have walked that same path hundreds of times, on many many mornings. My first job when i get there is simple. Light a Swisher Sweet, sit on the rock by our homemade boat launch, and watch for emerging fly, and rising fish. There is no need to hurry, only a need to observe.

I have read a ton of magazines. I have read about structure, and littoral zones, and cover. I have read about the life cycle of trout, and the life cycle of Mayfly. All of the minutia that makes you a better fisherman. For anyone starting out who asks me, i always tell them the same thing. Go to the lake early, pull up a rock, and start watching the day develop.

Big Brook Trout are often active early in the morning. Picking up the spent fly from the day before, and any new emergers that may be coming alive. The smaller trout will gorge all day on any type of fly, spent or otherwise. Most people who fish backwoods lakes don't bring fish finders, and can't read the structure of a lake electronically. They learn to read lakes by paddling around them and watching. They watch, over a period of time, where the Trout like to feed. They quickly identify points, shoals, sand or gravel bars, and incoming or outgoing streams. Those areas get marked in you mind. They become your go to areas.

The differnce between a person who always gets fish, and one who struggles to get them isn't always based on technique, or what they have read, or the flies they use. It is the time they have spent watching, and learning the way a stillwater works. There is no substitute for it.

I am by no means a professional angler. I have a passion for it. After 32 years on the water though, i do have information i can share, and advice i can give, and i will be doing that here. You can take it for what it is worth. I hope someone will find it helpful. A lake is always a challenge, even if you have fished it for years and years. Sometime when you don't feel rushed, take a walk in early in the morning and while you fish, pay attention to the way the day develops. Enjoy the surroundings and the solitutde. Do yourself a favour and get a journal and start logging everything from water temperature to weather conditions, to fly conditions and wind. The best anglers have something in their home waters that others don't. Familiarity.

I remember fishing a small stillwater with my grandfather when i was 10 or 11 years old. We walked up the path along the boggy sided brook that ran out of the lake. When we got the first point, he showed me a shoal of rocks that jutted towards the center of the lake. He told me to cast to the right of it and bring the fly back slowly. I had a nice brook trout on the first cast. I was in awe. I thought he must simply be the best fisherman ever. He knew that fish was there, and couldn't see it. It was his go to area, and he lent it to me. Like me, hopefully you will find yours.

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