Author Topic: Brook Trout in the Fall  (Read 2008 times)

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Chris Puchniak

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Brook Trout in the Fall
« on: April 07, 2012, 09:58:59 PM »
It was the 7th of November.
 
I had hoped to get away a couple of weeks ago, but work was too busy.  On the Monday though, I decided work or not, I had to get up once to the Interior before the ice came on.  And I figured at the 3500’ elevation, first week of November might be the last week.
 
I decided to go after Brookies at a lake that stumped me more often than not (I’d had more fishless days at this lake than successful days over the past 15 years I’d fished it).  I got away a little late (get kids ready for daycare…) and arrived at 10am.  I purposely picked what I hoped would amount to be a quiet day of fishing: I went on a Monday to keep most City Slickers away; picked the first week of November so that even most of the diehards were at home; and, picked a lake that was notoriously moody.  It would have to be a quiet day...
 
Driving past a few lakes on the way up there, I saw ice on some, and nary an angler – but it still looked promising.  But,  what happened when I got to my destination lake?  Seven trucks and a like number of boats on the water…  and one guy shore fishing… What the heck?  I figured I must have hit a fly fishing club outing for retired people (who else would have a week day off to fish a tough lake?)…  however, it turned out they were all locals from the nearby town, which was a good sign.



Since I had made up my mind to fish here, and I only had about 5-6 hours before it grew dark, I decided to go out on the water despite the unexpected crowd.  It had started out as a nice day in terms of weather (see above picture), but I knew blustery conditions were chasing me from the Coast.  So I figured I had better get some fishing in while I could.  No point in wasting more time driving when I had such a scant amount to time to be here in the first place.  Besides, I thought, it was a moody lake – and what better way to determine if it is ON or OFF than hanging out for awhile and seeing if any of us “8” anglers hooked into anything.  Maybe they knew something I didn’t. 
 
First thing I did was to throw a few casts just around the boat launch.  It's thickly matted with weeds, and past experience had shown me that some large brookies patrol its steep drop.  But 10 minutes of casting produced nothing.  So I decided to move over to the sunken shoal (almost an island)  I knew about, which again was a rich area. 
 
After twenty minutes, while pulling a Mottled Maroon-black leech with a Fast Intermediate line through the weeds on the edge of the sunken shoal, I missed a fish.  Nuts – but resisting the urge to strike at the soft hit, I continued the retrieve...  and she came back.  The hit was hard and the fight heavy, but there were no massive runs (as expected from a brook trout) – but it was a big fish.  I was surprised she had the aerodynamics to even put up a battle!  20 inches long with a 16 inch girth, and 6.5 pounds.  Hmmm.  I hadn’t hooked a brookie that big in years… this day could be interesting. 




Twenty minutes later, I laid out a cast and with two medium speed strips... a solid take.  I brought in a nice 3-pound female.  Thirty minutes later, in the same area, my line tightened and a nice 4.5 pound brookie was caught (19-inches) on another medium speed 10-inch strip retrieve.  Nice.  Maybe the lake was being generous today. 
 
As I was releasing the last fish, it spat out some of its stomach contents, most of which were decent sized glassworms (say a size 10-12), and two water beetles.  Of the beetles, one was about 1.5 inches long, the other, more decayed, at least 2 inches long (the last one wasn’t a water beetle – more of a terrestrial bug likely).  No pattern to match that, but if I was a duck on the “smallish” side, I’d be staying away from this lake. 
 
These stomach contents reinforced the reputation of the brook trout as a voracious feeder, one that would eat small rodents such as mice if they were foolish enough to cross the surface (though I cannot say I have found such an item in a BC strain brookie - mind you, it would be tough to suck a mouse down a stomach pump - but East Coast Brookies, such as those in Labrador, are certainly witnessed feeding on such large surface "bugs").   
 
By this time it was noon.  And this was when it started to slow.  I had only seen 3 fish surface up to this point (no surpirse there for brookies, especially in the fall when there is little surface activity from insects) and witnessed the other anglers get only one fish combined.  The weather was getting a bit blustery, and I knew that meant things weren't going to start getting any more active (falling barometer).  I fished another 3 hours before packing it in without seeing or tagging another fish.  The bite was off, likey due to the foul weather and the extra cold air.  I was the last one left on the lake by the time I left.



The other anglers weren’t too social through the day, even though our paths brought us close together at times as we moved from position to position.  I made a wave every now and then when it seemed one of them was looking my direction, but it took awhile for one of them to wave back, despite my attempts to salute them a few times - likely though this was because they were all locals from the nearby town and actually knew each other... and not knowing me, weren't too keen to share information with a stranger (I may have been the intruder on their "holy" land). 
 
But, finally I managed to talk to one of the others for a bit before he left - he stopped by just as he was motoring back towards the shore.  From him (and listening to the chatter between the other boats) I learned that three of the other boats together managed just one 2-pound brookie (which confirmed what I witnessed firsthand), which they described as the biggest fish they’d seen all weekend...
 
That made me feel good inside. 
 
Darn that pride.
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

John Kent

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Re: Brook Trout in the Fall
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 04:42:06 AM »
Good article Chris. I love the brookies and that lake has produced some hogs in the past.

Todd Oishi

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Re: Brook Trout in the Fall
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 05:13:54 PM »
Great article Chris, and that's a very chunkie Brookie!!

We'll definitely have to plan a trip their next fall!

Cheers,
Todd
:)
For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...

Chris Puchniak

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Re: Brook Trout in the Fall
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 10:22:10 PM »
Great article Chris, and that's a very chunkie Brookie!!

We'll definitely have to plan a trip their next fall!

Cheers,
Todd
:)

Sorry, top secret.  Only John and I know about it.  Well, plus the dozen other guys from the local community... heh heh.

All kidding aside, it would be a fun lake to target together Todd!
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

John Kent

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Re: Brook Trout in the Fall
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 11:08:42 AM »
Great article Chris, and that's a very chunkie Brookie!!

We'll definitely have to plan a trip their next fall!

Cheers,
Todd
:)

Sorry, top secret.  Only John and I know about it.  Well, plus the dozen other guys from the local community... heh heh.

All kidding aside, it would be a fun lake to target together Todd!

Ah, alas, I used to be one of those secretive locals!