Friday, December 6, 2013

Esther Lake - II

     Right off the old guy asked me what I was usin' for bait.  Bait?  Was that a trick question?  I wasn't sure where he was goin' or which way I should answer.  Dry fly fisherman consider streamers to be bait.  On the other end is the bleach and dynamite crowd.  Mostly I just didn't want to piss him off.
     "Spinners," I said, not knowing whether or not he was gonna come upside my head with an oar.  I'd have said paddle but the only boats I saw had five horse Johnsons on the back that were no doubt bought back in 1948 when the guy I was speaking with was only middle aged.
     "Ain't gonna catch no trout in here with spinners.  Gotta use worms.  Lotta sinkers.  Fish 'em deep and troll real slow,"  all the while staring at our canoe and light weight rods like we were the biggest rubes in the north woods.  Good thing we didn't bring fly rods or he'd have called the cops on us.
     I didn't want to start an argument.  For all I knew he was dead right.  The best I could muster was a "Well, we've got spinners so that's what we'll use.  Anyhow, that's a beautiful lake out there.  We'll have a good time no matter what.  Father and son and all that.  If you have a son, and he hasn't already died of old age, you must know what that's like."
     The man shuffled away, back to his buddies parked in their lawn chairs sippin' coffee and occasionally wanderin' off to the brush where they fumbled with their zippers for a while in hopes of beating the open flood gates.
     Free for a moment, the two of us bolted out on the water as fast as possible before another geezer came up to tell us we were doin' it wrong.
     What I knew about trout wasn't much.  They were in the lake, were a little line shy and could be pretty much anywhere.  Spinners were supposed to work but I had my doubts.
     What I did know was how to catch bass.  Since trout looked more like bass than pike I decided to fish 'em that way.  Work the shorelines.  Of course that's pretty much the way I fish all lakes.  I figure that most fish relate to shorelines for the same reason I do, there's more to see and do.  Out in the middle it's a desert.  No reason to be there 'cause there's nothin' to eat in sixty feet of water, nothin' to see and no place to hide.  Shoreline's where the plants, bugs and hidey-holes are.  Little fish eat bugs and big fish eat little fish.  It's not a foolproof way to fish but it is a way.
     On the other hand, trout are supposed to be in streams not lakes.  The only reason the brookies and rainbows were in Esther was 'cause the DNR dumped them in.  They were so out of place they didn't even reproduce.  Bein' too bummed for sex is about as bummed as an animal can get. So, if we caught any trout, we'd know for sure they'd been born in a bucket.  Not exactly Frankentrout but not all that natural either.
     We headed straight north from the launch till we reached the far shore.  Then we fell into the same routine as on East Pike except we were throwin' tiny spinners, oughts and ones in vibrant colors.  It wasn't so much that we thought they'd work.  It was more on the order of that's what we had.

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