An Opening Day Trout Story – The Last Spawn Bag

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 10.56.28 PMWe had been working on our cottage for the last week. Opening day of Trout season was here and there was no way I was going to be up north and not fish on opening day. My plan was to fish a spot I had been taken to a long time ago. I had not fish it since. It was a stream with steelhead in it and it was opening up with the Trout opener.

At 5:05 AM my phone went off. I made a cup of coffee and had my breakfast. The sun was just starting to rise over the lake as I left.

I showed up to a parking lot full of cars. I expected it being the trout opener. I put on my waders and grabbed my center pin. When I started walking the river I wondered if I was in the right spot. Nothing looked familiar and it was super low. I didn’t remember fishing shallow water where the fish spawn. After a mile of walking, I decided to turn around and look for better water.

I jumped in the truck and went for a drive, checking all the roadways looking for something that looked familiar. I finally decided to fish a section because it had deep water. Surprisingly, there were no cars along the road. It wasn’t the place I was looking for. On my 5th cast, I had a bobber down and reeled in a smolt. 6th cast the bobber dropped but this fish pulled a little harder this time. The fight was on. While fighting the fish I realized I was 4 feet off the water with no net. While the fish was jumping I was trying to figure out where I could land this fish. However, the thinking got the best of me and the fish wrapped me around a log underneath the water while I was no paying attention.

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I then started jumping around from hole to hole trying to find areas where there were not a million smolts. I packed up and ended a few miles down river. I was putting on some miles looking for good water. I found a fishy hole and found a snag on the first cast. I shorted my lead between my bobber and hook. While walking I found a raccoon skull and a small warbler nest about 3 feet off the ground. I also found a fiddlehead patch about ready to take off. Fiddleheads are so tasty and I look forward to gathering them every year.

I was down to my last spawn bag looking for the perfect hole. I finally found the area I was told about. Up above, however, was a prime hole. There was a bend in the river with a tree across the entire river. It was a medium sweeping hole. I couldn’t resist making a cast. I threaded my last spawn bag onto the hook and made the cast. The first cast resulted in nothing. The second cast was into the corner between the log and the bank. The bobber floated 5 feet and got sank. I set the hook hard and the fish came flying out of the water. The fish was all over the place. I had thoughts of dinner going through my head. I quickly rid those thoughts because I knew how quickly a fish could come off. Finally after a few minute battles, I pulled the silvery, 7 lb steelhead on the shore. It was a good feeling after the day of long walks and new trails. I quickly bled my fish out and grabbed it by the gills to head out. My last spawn bag was smashed up and useless. I scouted out some new water in excitement for next year. I never did find that section of water I fished a long time ago but that was ok. I did find a new area to fish a few minutes away from our cottage. I walked off with my fish in hand and happy. It was time to get back to the cottage with dinner in hand.

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As I made my mile in a half walk back to my truck I got thinking. Since I got my boat a long time ago, I have avoided the little creeks because of the walking and the private property that slows me down. Fishing small creeks is how I started steelhead fishing and something I really enjoyed. I forgot how I could get away from people and actually fish holes by myself. On the big rivers nowadays there are boats everywhere. I decided every new year I am going to try and hit a new section at least once a year by foot and continue to learn these rivers. I am looking forward to the future and finding new spots to fish around our cottage. I don’t know if I will get out anymore this season but I definitely will look forward to fishing this river next year.

If you would like to read more, please check out my archives. Enjoy the weekend and make sure to take some time to spend with your mother.
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