Saturday, April 7, 2012

5 Species Suprise! 4-7-2012

Our incredibly warm weather in March has given way to more seasonally normal (cooler) weather in April.  I woke up Saturday morning, looked outside to see a good breeze, clouds, intermittent drizzle.  Dreary conditions.  I asked myself, "If I were going to go fishing today, WHERE would I go?"

That really warm March weather warmed local water temperatures FAST.  A nearby lake, Lake Petocka, that had been stocked with trout during the winter offered up some good trout-fishing immediately after ice-out, but the fast-warming shallows caused the fish to drop to waters further from shore...difficult to reach with fly gear.  I thought maybe this cooler weather might encourage some trout to come back in near shore again.  So...Lake Petocka is where I thought I would try.  I mentioned this to my wife, and she said, "Go."  I had to be home around Noon.  I arrived at the lake a little before 10am.  Total time fished was 2.25 hours.

Wind was from the South.  I fished from the North shoreline.  I started at a spot that produced a fair number of trout when I last fished the lake.  I didn't get any strikes there.  I moved down the shoreline a bit further, and got something on my line!  It wasn't a good sign that the first thing I happened to catch was...a clam shell!

 I worked my way down the shoreline.  While at one spot, I noticed a large area just a bit further down the shore that looked like a bunch of fish or baitfish just crashed the surface.  So I moved down to that spot.

I saw a silvery fish slash across the surface.  I started casting.  I was using a beadhead woolly bugger.  After a few casts and a few missed strikes, I got a solid hookset.  A fantastic battle ensued on my 5wt.  I was surprised when the fish came in that it was a nice White Bass!  I shouldn't have been so surprised...My friend Dale G. reported that had caught some on his last trip to the lake a few weeks back.

Let me take a step back here and explain that in all the times I've fished this lake, I have caught MOSTLY Trout (Rainbows and some Brookies), maybe a half-dozen or so Bluegills, a couple small Green Sunfish, and a few small Largemouth Bass.  Without the trout, there really aren't enough fish in this lake to make me want to pick this lake over the dozens of other choices I have closer to home.

Back to the fishing.  I measured this White Bass at 14", and it was a nice healthy fish.

I decided to switch to a Clouser.  I selected a gray-over-white one from my fly box.  I was so excited to get back to fishing, I dropped the fly and started casting.  I quickly realized I hadn't actually ATTACHED the fly to my line!  Total Rookie mistake!  :)

I thought I had chucked the fly into the water, so I didn't look for it, I just dug another one out of my fly box.  The next one I selected was a chartreuse-over-yellow version that was sort of the 3"-4" range.

I caught another white bass.
 I love catching White Bass, so I was pretty excited already (obviously).

Next, I hooked into a different fish.  It looked like about the size and shape of a trout, but the flash was yellow.  Couldn't be a brown trout, they've never been stocked here.  I got it closer to shore.  Yellow Perch!  No way, this couldn't be happening!  It measured 10.75"

That Clouser was a big bite for this fish!

This spot I continued on down the shoreline.  Next fish was the species I had come here targeting, a Rainbow Trout!  I measured this one at 12.5".  
The Clouser was a pretty big bite for this fish too, even though trout DO have large mouths.  Nevertheless, I was still sort of surprised.

I continued moving along the shoreline.  At one spot I got a couple missed strikes, had a nice fish on briefly, and then lost the Clouser to another good strike.  I switched to an unweighted deer hair streamer in a similar color scheme to the Clouser I had just lost.

 Next fish was a Largemouth Bass.  Nothing big, but it fought well.

Next fish was another White Bass.  I didn't measure the last two, they probably weren't quite as big as the first one, but they were nice fish, probably more like 13"+/-.

I quickly fished my way back to the spot I first caught fish.  On the way, I caught another Largemouth Bass.  It wasn't much different than the first bass.  No picture.

I got to that first spot again, and it seemed pretty dead.  I did get a couple small strikes, and then caught a little Smallmouth Bass!

It was time to head home.  I was really excited to have caught 5 Species from this lake in one trip...3 of them were species I had never caught from this lake before, and the White Bass and Yellow Perch especially were nice fish.  I had some excellent battles with fish today.

I had the lake to myself the entire time, with the exception of the last 20 minutes, when another angler with spinning gear arrived, but was fishing a good distance away from me.

I have to wonder if this combination of species has ever been caught before on a fly rod from one lake on one trip?


  1. That's quite a couple hours of fishing! I definitely can't say that I've ever seen that combination of fish come out of a body of water , especially in that short of time.
    Gotta love it....

  2. Hey, it should be 6 species, isn't a clam a species? Just kidding, sounds like a fun day. I want to check out your Hatch reel next time we are out. That thing looks sweet.

  3. Ben, yeah you should check it out! Its a Nautilus, rather than a Hatch. I bought it used, and its been working very well for me. Some large catfish have tested the drag! ;o)

  4. I caught a nice one pound(exactly) Largemouth last weekend. I'm heading to Petocka again today. I always catch my fish on the south shoreline.