Though I typically fish my favorite streams back in PA, I decided to take my kayak for this trip and visit a lake I hadn’t fished since high school. The lake holds stocked trout, bass, panfish, and a few toothy critters. I was ready for them with my light spinning outfits, bringing the hopefully irresistible slow troll with the aid of my new Lowrance Mark 4.
There were a few shore fishermen when I arrived, but the lake was serene. I launched and started methodically searching for marks. The marks weren’t looking for me, however, and it was over an hour before one of my rods knocked down. The fish came unbuttoned, and I checked the hooks of my tiny Rapala—all intact and laser-sharp.
A heron and a few mallards kept me company as I continued slowly paddling, looking for structure, bait, and fish. The shorebound anglers weren’t hooking up, and we exchanged knowing glances as I glided past, giving them a wide berth. Eventually, I marked some suspended fish, and the Rapala rod doubled over. If I couldn’t actually sight fish, the targeted troll was a fair proxy. I landed the small rainbow and snapped a quick pic before releasing the stockie to wind up on someone else’s plate.
I doubled back and hit the school again, and this time, the spinner on my other rod produced. This fish was larger, and I entertained visions of a big bow crisping in the pan. Something wasn’t quite right, however, and as the fish broke the surface, I laughed: a little pickerel.
I slid him back into the lake, and paddled back to the launch, hoping he’d be able to fatten up on the hatchery bows. I took a few pictures of the lake in the setting sun, and drove back with my folks to enjoy a home-cooked meal.