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 large...in 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 died...so 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?