Wild Northerner Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 76

BY SCOTT HADDOW

Wild Northerner staff

I can think of few greater outdoor joys than fishing brook trout in the spring.

It means I will do at least three multi-night excursions into the bush and have a lot of fun.

I love strapping the canoe down, loading camping gear and owning the tremendously good vibes associated with the anticipation of chasing these fish at ice out for a few days in the backcountry with friends, family or solo.

It’s a sweet time to camp in the wilderness. Tiny buds are just starting to form on trees. There are no black flies or mosquitoes. Days are warm and nights are cool. And the trout, well, it can be some of the best fishing of the year for these beautiful creatures.

It’s tough to beat a good day on the water when you haul in some brook trout, enjoy an amazing shore lunch and sip away a few cold beers around a campfire, under a canopy of pine trees and blistering stars to end it all.

Putting a couple of trout in the boat is a priority. In the spring, using a troll and pound method is simple and highly effective. This is an old style of fishing and it works like magic for two people and a canoe.

All it takes is getting the canoe going down the shoreline by both people. Once the canoe is moving at a good trolling speed, the stern person takes over paddle while he/she tucks rod in-between their legs. The person in the front pounds the shoreline with casts. Start about 20 to 25-feet from shore and work your way out if need be to find fish. My buddy, Ryan, and I have found this method gets fish in a two-prong attack. We like to start with EGB spoons in the No. 1 size. Aggressive fish obviously strike the spoons on the casts. Many trout follow lures to much frustration of anglers, but with a second spoon going by in a slightly different manner by trolling, those chasers usually turn to biters.

We like EGB spoons with gold, silver, red and black on them. There is something about these lures. For me, and other anglers I know, they can flat out produce.

This method is also an outstanding way to locate trout at the very least. Then you can use other presentations to dial them in as necessary.

Specks, like in any other season, can be a bugger to figure out if they are not “on.” Have plenty of options. I have seen these things take everything from a 99-cent fire tiger in-line spinner to one-inch plastic grubs.

Last spring, Ryan and I hit a small speck lake north of Sudbury for a two-night outing. It presents like a perfect spring opportunity for these fish for any anglers. Use maps, stocking sheets from the MNRF and Fish On-Line to help locate lakes to hit. Our second day got ruined, but more on that later. It’s a drive-to lake, but it takes close to four hours to get to, it is far away from any main roads, and the last hour requires a truck and the ability to absorb a lot of bumps and scratches. It’s also a stocked lake.

We arrived late on the first night and set up camp in the dark. We set up a brilliant fire and put down some cold brews while talking about the potential action to come. We woke up the next day and ate a breakfast of hot oatmeal and coffee. We hit the lake about 6:15 a.m. The sun was just cresting the treeline. There was barely a breeze. We set about with the troll and pound method, with Ryan in the stern and me in the bow. It took about 15 minutes until Ryan dropped his paddle and grabbed his rod. A fish was on. A few moments later I netted a chunky and spunky 16-inch speckled trout.

We enjoyed a brooky rampage for the next hour as we caught our limit of 10 trout. They ranged between two and four-and-a-half pounds. Several fish hit the 20-inch mark and put up some crazy fights. It was action second to none. We paddled back to our campsite on the lake and set about cleaning our bounty. We got a roaring fire going to produce a big bed of glowing coals. We slow-cooked some fillets over the coals on cedar wood. I couldn’t wait to eat some. I fired up the portable stove and pan and whipped up a batch of fried brook trout in butter on toasted buns.

I can’t imagine a better meal than one you have caught, cleaned, prepared and cooked yourself. It can’t be outdone. Extremely satisfying. We packed the rest of the meat up in freezer bags and placed them on ice in a cooler to take home.

As we sat back on the ground and rested our backs against pine trees, the wind picked up and clouds blew in. We knew a storm was coming, but it was forecast for the next day - when we were leaving. Mother Nature didn’t care about our plans. She dropped the storm on us a day early. At about 3 p.m. it started to pour rain and the wind howled and shook the formidable trees around us with ease. It could explain the fury of activity we saw from the brook trout earlier in the day.

We were glad to have Ryan’s truck at our campsite. We took refuge in there to wait out the storm. LOL, we were there until 1 a.m. We drank rum and coke. We ate chips and chocolate. We listened to sports games on the radio. We joked and laughed our asses off. We couldn’t beat the rain so went to bed.

We woke up the next day to face the fact that it was still raining. We packed up and left.

Still, for that short window, we enjoyed some memorable trout during the outing.

It made everything worth it.

This is why we do it.

Speck trip sets tone for season