Finding a Gem in the Rough

by | Mar 11, 2019 | Fishing | 0 comments

When I first started fly fishing back in 2014 I mainly stuck to local trout ponds. Trout is not much of a native species in my part of Canada. We have a few larger bodies of water in my province that hold natural spring fed trout but very few. In my posts, I don’t talk about specifics on lakes and river and locations for that matter. It’s solely to protect the waters we do have from mobs of fishermen. I used to visit the website of this young man who had beautiful photos of trout he was catching and detailed descriptions of the bodies of water where he was fishing. He also talked about the pressure he was getting from other fly fishers who didn’t like his advertising of the water they fished as well. Eventually, he shut down his website. 

The information highway

The internet is great for sharing information but sometimes it can be harmful to share too much! It’s filled with information craved new fishermen who are not willing to put the time in to figure things out for themselves. There is still plenty of ways to find information with the use of forums where there are many braggers willing to spew the information in order to one-up the next guy! Haha! Using Google Earth maps is a good way as well as joining Trout clubs as they did in the olden days.

No promotion needed

Though very cozy I’m sure,  this is not my idea of a relaxing day fishing!

Suffice it to say that the provincial government does enough promoting of our fishery I don’t need to. I work hard at researching for viable trout waters and I feel there is a sense of accomplishment that comes from discovering a new fishing hole, and equally as important to keep it to yourself! If you’re fortunate enough to have a friend or two that will share with you, good for you. Otherwise, you end up like the photo to the left! Haha! When fishing out on the water in your own little corner of the world, it’s that solitude that cleanses your soul. I get annoyed when even one person starts trolling circles around my boat. Especially if they start telling me what I’m doing wrong by simply assuming because I’m a woman I don’t know what I’m doing! Grrr 🙁

Local potholes fishing

Within the metropolitan limits, we have maybe a dozen small ponds stocked with trout. We call them “potholes” as most of them are very small lakes, many very shallow with an abundance of vegetation that during hot summer months grows ginormous. The stocked trout seem to thrive in some of these ponds. They are in turn harvested by the children and grownups that fish them. Generally, fly fishers are sports fishermen and don’t keep the fish they catch.

Typical pothole 

Some of the fly fishers only fish in the rivers and streams where in most cases it’s only catch and release. I fall into the category of catch & release as well as I don’t much care to eat trout but love to fish for sport. The local potholes become fished out by the keepers and for those of us wanting to catch sizeable fish for the sport we have to go elsewhere or to trophy lakes. The Conservation groups with fish and wildlife designate certain lakes as trophy lakes where you can only keep 1 fish over  50 or 60 cm or better yet some are catch and release only. By and large, the biggest problem is lack of enforcement of rules in those waters. I’ve seen people keeping everything they catch.

Pothole Rainbow trout

Membership for sale!

I get tired of the fished out potholes and continually search for new waters. The past couple seasons I had been paying for a membership to a Trout club that also gave the rights to fish their lake. It seems crazy to pay to fish a lake but some of the potholes sit on urban developments that squeeze out the public from fishing in their lake. So a Trout club forms and buys a piece of land by said pothole so its members can have access to the lake for angling. 

I had great hopes of this membership but on my first trip there I got stuck in the mud at the boat launch! It took me 2 hours to get my boat trailer out and this would be the telltale of what was to come of this lake for me! I might’ve caught 3 or 4 fish during countless trips, many of which were total skunks!

A new beginning at Lake X

So I spent much of my fishing days going further away from the city to places 2 hours or more away. I love camping so it’s a win-win for me. But it’s expensive to camp and gas hasn’t been cheap. There are just those times when you want to stay closer to home. Last fall I was talking to a fishing friend I occasionally run into, and he suggested I go to lake X. I had heard of X before but had brushed it off as another pothole that was further away. But after another defeat at the membership hole,  I thought I should try X just in case. By late September last year,  I pulled up to Lake X and was surprised to see how many vehicles were in the parking lot.

My new favorite pothole

A Lake X Rainbow last October.

I could feel an immediate connection to X, I had only thus far felt with a handful of lakes that were much further away from home. It was a beautiful day and the water was like glass. The depths of X were perfect, I knew where her drop-offs were from watching a fishing video about the lake. It took the better part of that day for X to reveal her secrets. But by the end of the day, I had caught a couple of very nice Rainbows!

I made changes to my presentations and tried new methods of retrieve and it never disappointed! Time after time I began to catch more fish each trip. On my second last trip on October 5th, I caught 10 fish that afternoon! I was incredulously elated! I could catch fish in potholes after all!

A beautiful  October afernoon at Lake X

Finding a gem in the rough

And that’s how it is sometimes, you fish familiar waters because you’ve caught fish there. Or worse yet you fish there because other people say they’re catching fish there, but you’re not… So it’s time to move on and find another spot, and one can be pleasantly surprised at times. Is it going to be as good when I go back to Lake X in the spring? Who knows… But I’m sure anxious to give it another try! I fished at this one bigger lake where I like to camp at for 4 years and it was always good to me. Until last year it was almost a total skunk each time I went. Will I go back? Of course I will! But I will also keep searching for new waters! 2019 is going to be rivers and streams season! I’m hoping to learn how to fish in moving water and become more comfortable with it. I want to keep learning and stay young forever!

Until then, 🙂

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford