“Wow, we’re the only ones here!” I said half-jokingly. The fierce wind brought the air temperature to something you would expect on Christmas morning, not in the heart of springtime. We leisurely put on every layer possible, set up our rods and took the cam straps off of our boats. This was going to be cold, very cold, but it only takes one trophy rainbow trout to warm the hands and the soul. Many of our “trophy” lakes are managed as catch-and-release, have a massive population of free-swimming scuds (freshwater shrimp), and have a purposefully low population of fish that inhabit them. If you add all this up, it is the recipe for fish that will easily break the tenpound mark. Do they come easily? Absolutely not. Are they worth it? Of course, why else would I be pushing my boat into the water as a wall of precipitation quickly approaches? The air temperature was hovering 5 degrees above Celsius, with the howling wind making things that much chillier. I drop my anchors and send out two lines, each rigged with a
small chironomid pupa. I am parked on a shoal with one line set at 5 feet, the other at 7. I could’ve fallen asleep in my little one-man aluminum boat, there were no bugs hatching and only ten minutes in I was already chilled. In a near trance-like state, I look up to see a strike indicator is buried as the line is swimming through the water. “There he is!”I lift the rod to no avail. There he was, I guess. I couldn’t believe I had even managed to convince a fish to eat in these conditions, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. In the first hour I had hooked 6, landed 3 and was filled with a slightly optimistic feeling about the rest of the day. The bite was steady, the fish had likely adjusted to the low barometer that had been present for the few days prior, and there were just enough chironomids hatching to get them on a feed. After a few moments of stagnancy, I had a fish take my indicator down with such force that the 4X tippet was broken before I could get the rod out of the holder. I was shaking with adrenaline, figuring I had just blown my shot at a trophy fish while my frozen hands tied on a new bug.