Brown trout are a predatory fish known especially for their aggressive behavior and ferocity at the end of monofilament. Yet, the giant brown trout were not alone, there were two predators hunting each other. I hunting them, and they hunting my lures. The semi murky green tinted water gave benefited both parties – the element of stealth. Overcast skies set the stage for a showdown between two dominate creatures. This wasn’t Alaska, this was Upstate NewYork.
Angrily huffing from the south, the warm wind three miles inland at my home had turned near evil. Standing along a public fishing bridge on Sodus Bay, I chatted with other fishermen and women trying to fill their buckets with perch and blue gill. The lady I was talking with tried to light a cigarette in the wind – the southern breeze did not make us feel fine. Seeing white caps on the bay was a near surprise after the seeming never ending winter and ice cap over the water. Yet, as the wind cut through our clothing, the desire to try and catch a perch diminished, but not my desire to continue fishing.
Trading in my light weight perch rod for my heavier spine Ugly Stick, I threw on my waders and lugged myself through the mud and briars to the shore of Lake Ontario with a handful of spoons. This time of year, mid to late April, the annual creek and river run of the giant brown trout and steel head are swimming back to the lakes. These fish which normally make their home residence in depths in excess of 100 feet, can be caught in as little as two feet of water.
The stark contrast of the lake compared to the bay confirmed my decision to change target species. Dead calm, nary a ripple, and overcast clouds. My first two casts resulted in lost fish, less than twenty yards from the shoreline. This felt like a page right out of an Alaskan adventure
Tearing open my tackle pack pondering over every possible presentation scenario taking into consideration all conditions.
Consider the color of the water: If the water were clear, a larger spoon might spook the fish. Considering the low visibility, I looked for brighter colored lures.
Overcast: The fish will not be as spooky. A bigger lure could work fine.
No Chop: Although the color of the water gives the fish less visibility, would the dead calm water and a larger lure spook the fish?
Scrounging up a larger blue and silver Lil Cleo™ and a small rainbow colored stick-bait, the two lures sat in my hands as the fibers of my brain player judge and jury weighing the pros and cons of each. The Cleo gave extra weight and distance to my casts. Extra flash and extra distance, a deadly combination, I snapped it to my swivel.
When you aren’t expecting it, having a giant Lake Ontario Brown trout follow your lure to your feet can be near erie. Standing up to my hips in the water, the colors and sheer power of each tail flick of the predatory fish could be seen as it swam dangerously close to my legs And In that split second instant of closeness, it seemed like our eyes met- two creatures- two hunters- one understanding.
Letting curiosity play the guide, the long shoreline looked like a giant playground. Standing on a rock in four feet of water, I wondered aloud if this were really ten minutes from where I had grown up or if it were Alaska.
Three fish in less than ten minutes later, I sat on a small secluded section of the beach. The overcast skies began receding, the bite slowed to a sluggish pace. My dinner lay still on its carrying stick. The slow lapping of the water on the rocks was music. I’d found my beach.