Kicking big-lake madness via trout isolation
Most of my time spent fishing since May has been in a boat on big(ish) lakes. Lately, though, I’ve started to lose my desire for 4 a.m. alarms and the inevitable recreational boat traffic that seems to start earlier and earlier each day (and which really reaches a fever pitch by lunchtime). This has me thinking about small streams and trout.
Trout are generally the first fish to have a wave of open-water anglers descend upon their haunts, usually in April. By mid-May, the hordes die down to the point where you’re far more likely to see a solo fly fisherman standing in a good run with plenty of elbow room upstream and downstream to work with, as opposed to multiple fisherman running everything from flies to spinners to crawlers.
By August, you’re likely to not see anyone out. That’s what has me putting aside 7-foot, 6-inch flippin’ sticks and picking up rods that are a bit whippier right now. Even though small stream trout are generally, as a rule, pretty small, they are also current fish which means if you’re stealthy they’ll bite. That’s probably reason enough to get out there, but for me it’s more about the places they live and the fact that I’ll probably be the only person there.
I saw this my whole life growing up in southeastern Minnesota, and even more these days now that I target brook and brown trout in northern Wisconsin every time I’m over there scouting deer. While the bugs can be bad, the fishing won’t be and it’s usually easy enough to find a stretch of quality water without a single angler on it. It’s low pressure, quiet, and usually productive fishing.
There’s plenty to like about that in my book, and if that sounds interesting to you, consider leaving the lakes to the jet-skiers and head out to some small, meandering water. You probably won’t catch any giants, but you’ll have all of the peace and quiet you want on some of the most beautiful waters available, which is not nothing.