Ah, what a relief it is to finally see some real spring weather! After what seems like eons of foul-weather weekends, my family and I exploited a beautiful Saturday and took a long drive in search of some lunker tiger trout.
We picked up our friend, Holdsworth, some minnows, and traveled north. Along the route, we stopped at a rest area in Echo Canyon, where we've always enjoyed taking a breather and playing with the squirrels.
They'll come right up and take food from an open hand, so the kids really love that.
After our break, we continued our journey to the north and eventually made it to our destination. This lake has historically been a tough one to fish, leaving me skunked and scratching my head more than once. All the same, it has also given up some great fish, so it's worth checking out a couple of times per year.
As is the norm with family trips, we arrived much later than we should have and the notorious canyon bellows were already pumping up a wicked breeze. This particular lake has a narrow window of calm conditions in the early mornings and then it's wind-in-your-face for the rest of the day. It makes casting a weightless dead minnow very difficult and you can forget even attempting to use a fly rod.
Despite the gusts, we got busy with the usual tiger techniques and it became clear that the fishing was going to be rough. The first hour ticked by without any sign of life, but a well placed shiner eventually found its way into the kype of a thickly-shouldered male of 18 inches.
It was great to break the monotony and it gave the kids something to be excited about. Their patience is typically on the verge of tantrum status when the fishing is slow, so a good catch is a major morale booster.
A short while later, from the same spot, another minnow found a mouth and I handed the rod to my 5 year old son so he could get a feel for an angry tiger. He was very happy to reel in a 17 inch female.
The next fish, again from that magic spot, was a real pig and it gave me a very nice battle, making strong runs and then going vertical with head shaking aerial displays. It was very entertaining to bring in this 22.5" beast.
It weighed 3 lbs, 1 oz.
So in a relatively short amount of time, I'd managed to bring in 3 nice fish (counting the one I hooked for my son), but nobody else had so much as a bump so far. Sure, I was glad to catch fish, but it was hard to watch my wife and friend get the skunk while I cashed in.
My wife informed me that it was "her turn", so I took a break from fishing, got some lunch ready for the kids, and kept them entertained for about an hour.
After my break, the skunk was still hanging around the rest of my party, so I started casting various lures. Kastmasters were good for cutting through the wind, so I shuffled through several colors of those. In the end, it was my favorite gold that got slammed on a slow retrieve.
Right away, I could tell that this fish was another big one. My companions looked on with bitter-sweet enthusiasm as my rod remained doubled over and my reel moaned in protest of the powerful runs the fish was taking at will. Once the valiant battle subsided, I gazed proudly at my new personal best (in terms of length) tiger trout of 25 inches!
That really put the cherry on my sundae and a smile on my face! At 25", it only weighed 4 lbs, 1 oz, but it was still a great catch.
So it was a great day for me, but my poor wife and friend got the shaft. They were glad to be out in the nice weather, day-tripping to far away places though.
Happy Fishing, Humans.
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