On tuesday may the eighth the lakes officially opened for pike. The government keeps them closed from April the first in order to protect the pike as they spawn. Good weather was forecast for the weekend, and I was planning to get out and get my first real full day of fishing in this year. As usual various road blocks had to be navigated to achieve this. First, we needed to keep a supervisory presence at work this weekend due to some scheduling problems. Second, the in-laws decided to throw a birthday party for my sister-in-law and invited them into town, (they live 130 miles away), for a barbeque on saturday evening. I was able to extricate myself from the first one by giving the weekend shift to one of the young men on my crew who really wanted some overtime. The second one was tougher to solve, but, seven come eleven, luck was on my side when my brother -in-law decided he would take the kids dirt biking all day, thus freeing me up to head out fishing if only for half a day.
The mountains were exceptionally beautiful on the way out this morning.
I woke up early saturday morning to a beautiful spring day, it was warm, sunny, calm and the birds were serenading me as I loaded the truck with boat, motor and rods. How much more perfect could the day get, I wondered, as my tires hit the highway heading east toward the resevoir? Well, not more than forty minutes into the drive, my question was answered. I realized that I had forgot the plug to my boat at home! Seeing as how I was halfway to the lake, and there was a town not too far from the resevoir, I decided that instead of turning around I would just go and buy one there. This worked out well, but it was eating up precious fishing time on what was turning out to be a stellar day, (weather wise anyway).
My "Boat Launch"
Crawling Valley Resevoir
I finally arrived at the lake, began to assemble the boat (it's an inflatable) and load it up with gear when I realized that I had not only forgot to bring the plug, but also the anchor! Meanwhile there was one of the fiercest hatches of chironimids coming off that I have ever witnessed in my life. They were crawling over everything including me. It made me wish that the resevoir had trout in it, but alas, no trout. Only pike, walleye and whitefish are found here.
The "Beast" with bugs.
The fact that I had no anchor concerned me at first, as I like to anchor and cast the fly, rather than troll or drift and cast. Again, luck seemed to be on my side, as it was still quite calm for a sunny spring day on the prairies and the lack of an anchor didn't seem to be too much of a problem as I began to move around the lake prospecting likely spots for the pike. I caught a few here and there throughout the afternoon, no pictures were taken of the first few pike of the year as they were not exceptionally large, and I thought more,and bigger fish would come to me as the day progressed. Just south of where I launch there is a nice bay where, in times past, I have caught some of the largest pike I've seen from this resevoir. And it was there, as I made my first cast into that bay, where the day really began to unravel. As I retrieved the fly, I felt the sudden stop and weight, of what I thought could be the first good fish of the day. I set my hook....hard. Too hard. Before I really had time to comprehend what had just happened, I realized that all I had left in my right hand was the cork grip and a short, stubby shaft that used to be an nine and a half foot fly rod. I remember hearing the "SNAP" as I set my hook, but in my confused state, as I watched my fly, fly line, and most of my rod exit the bay connected to a pike that wanted nothing but to rid itself of a metal lip piercing, it didn't register in my brain that my rod had just exploded. Once the fog began to lift and I realized just what was happening, I grabbed my fly line in my hand and broke off the fish. No small feat either as I had thirty pound test leader connected to twenty five pound test wire bite tippet, but break it did. I never saw the fish, but it felt heavy, both as I set the hook and broke him off. Thus ended my first real day of fishing this season! Oh well, you know what they say. "When you hit rock bottom there are only two ways to go. Straight up...or sideways". Here's to looking up!
The broken rod