Ahhh... nothing like the smell of fish as Winter snows melt and Spring rains come. The mix offers an interesting sort of fishy lake or river smell. I love it and just goes to show spring is for fishing and turkey hunting, but that's a story for later.
With the melting snow and spring rain, the famous Oncorhynchus mykiss returns from Lake Michigan to their original hatching ground to spawn... ya know make little Oncorhynchus mykiss's.
Since a large majority of the fish are hatched at hatcheries, I often wonder how they get back to the rearing ponds when they aren't connected to any rivers or such that meet with Lake Michigan. Maybe the Oncorhynchus mykiss are smart enough to know what river the DNRE dumps them into out of the truck? Only the Oncorhynchus mykiss really know.
Either way Oncorhynchus mykiss are not only a lot of fun to catch or at least trying to catch them, but offer some of the best table fare you will find at the end of your line.
Huh? Whats a Oncorhynchus mykiss? Really? Don't you have google, too? That's where I found the scientific name for the steelhead.
After dropping Monkey off at his institute of higher education, I talked Yoop into letting me stop at the local bait and ammo shop. I ran in grab some eggs and ran out. Munda didn't even miss me. Of course she was out cold in a midday nap, but still didn't miss me.
We slid home in the sled and I dropped of Yoop and Munda to continue the midday nap and off I went to the local steelhead honey hole. Not exactly a honey hole, but a creek that runs off the main river in the area.. and a place the steelies are known to come up during Spring.
There were a group of guys right at the bottom of the damn. They were casting over and over and over again. My arms were getting tired watching them for 15 seconds. It looked like a lot of work and was already a bit crowded so I moved to a place further downstream. I would have this spot all to myself and would not require as much casting.
I loaded up my fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a mesh knit bag of eggs and sent it on its way to the creek. I kept a watchful eye on it as it float with the current, bobbing in and out of view. I waited eagerly for the fish I knew were nearby to swim out and snatch the offering but to no avail. Odd. Seems like any fish in the creek would come swimming to a bait that resembled the eggs laid by the female of their species tied in a small mesh bag.
The bait floated its way into a nearby bush in the water and got hung up on one of the branches
Realizing this wasn't the way things were supposed to go I got suspicious instantly. Something was afoot. I wasn't sure exactly what it was but I knew something was.
I gave my pole a quick jerk and the mystery got more confusing. At the point in the jerk where all my strength was put on the line the hook didn't come free. The twig didn't snap. The hook didn't straighten. For what was at the time an unknown reason the line snapped at the eyelet of the hook. After I reeled in the line, I carefully examined the broken end to find the knot I carefully tied had come undone. Weird. In all my too many years of tying knots in fishing line this had only happened a few dozen times a year. So this occurrence was certainly a rarity and again I could tell something wasn't right.
I tied another hook on the line and placed a bag of eggs on the new hook and again tossed it into the current. This time I was careful to keep the hook away from the shore bushes, at least until I could figure out what had happened before.
After awhile of trying different parts of the current I decided to move a little further downstream. Maybe the Oncorhynchus mykiss hadn't made it all the way up to the dam yet. While I worked a spot about 75 yards downstream I saw another guy walk up to where I was previously at. I tried to tell him there weren't any fish there but he couldn't hear me.
As time wound down on my excursion, and the need to pick up Monkey on time out weighing the desire to catch a fine Oncorhynchus mykiss, I wrapped everything up. I reeled in my line and picked up my net. As I set off for the sled the guy who was fishing where there wasn't any fish began to yell.
At first I thought he had fallen into the creek or had snagged himself with his hook. I quick stepped to him and as I got closer he said he needed a net. Odd I thought for someone who had fallen into the creek or snagged himself with a hook. Then I realized he must have dropped something in the water.
As I reached the man in distress he said its right there, pointing to the water. I looked down expecting to see a cell phone or wallet at the bottom. Instead I saw a nice sized male Oncorhynchus mykiss. Instinctively I scooped the net into the water and got the fish. I carried it to where the man was standing and set it into the grass.
“He asked is that big enough?”
Since the only need to be 10 inches to keep, and this one was about 20 inches or more. I replied “Yes.”
“Ok, I have only been here 10 minutes and this is more than enough for me.”
I forced a smile and told him congrats, I have to go.
As I finished my walk to the sled I pondered how he caught a fish in a spot I knew there were none. My mind wandered but I knew one thing for sure. That fish could not have been there 10 minutes before hand or else he would have snatched up my offering way before that of this other guy.
I think Murph had put him up to hooking a Oncorhynchus mykiss to his bait before he put it in the water; its the only conceivable way he would have “caught” anything out of that hole
I met the luck fisherman in the parking area. I offered him more false congratulations for the second time, started the sled and left to get Monkey.