Cold weather, cold water fish

By: Noble Smith
Special to the Sun

It’s tough this time of year fishing for our warm water fish. Although our bass, crappie, and catfish are catchable year round the bite slows down to a crawl during winter. There is one species of fish that thrive when water temperatures cool during winter, Rainbow Trout. Trout remain active when temperatures are in the forties and fifties. The D.F.W. has stocked the lake twice this winter and trout fishing has been good. I thought I needed some practice trout fishing for our upcoming fishing derby. I went out to fish some of these fish. I know when the D.F.W. stock the lake they usually back the truck to the water line and open the valve letting the fish flow into the lake. It would have to be a launch ramp or hard packed shoreline for the truck to back up on.

I headed out with my six foot medium action spinning outfit that I use for trout fishing the lake. I picked a shoreline that I thought would hold fish. When shore fishing for trout I like to throw artificial lures that cast well. If I have to battle wind or get past shallow shoreline I can do so. I like the Thomas Bouyant spoon in copper or rainbow trout, a Kastmaster in silver or gold, or a Rapola Husky jerk in silver or firetiger. They all cast well and catch trout.

I decided to go old school and throw a good ole red and white daredevil spoon. I can cast this lure a mile and cover a lot of water. I decided to work the shoreline in Stine Cove. I like this area for trout, the lake bottom is like that of our river, a lot of rock and gravel. I worked the entire cove over and back. Bad call, no fish. The lake was very calm and the water was very shallow in the cove. I would have been better off fishing the lake point or South Fork Recreation Area. Since there is a launch ramp at the South Fork Recreation Area it makes for a great place for the D.F.W. stocking truck to back up and drop fish. Bait fishing would have been a better call. Stock trout are used to eating food pellets in a controlled environment. I think it takes a little time for their natural instincts to kick in. Eventually they will adapt to their surroundings and start chasing food.

I have never been a fan of winter fishing. Especially now, older age and a medical condition make the cold and I enemies. It’s comical how many layers of clothes I wear for a simple shoreline fishing trip. It’s for the love of the sport. Fisherman from the far north would get a good laugh if they saw me. I was wearing the same amount of clothing they would wear to cut a two foot hole on a frozen over lake to get a line wet. Those same anglers would probably wear tank tops if they fished with me the other day.
The winter seems to be getting shorter. Super bowl, Whiskey Flats, and spring are right around the corner. March is usually when things start to happen. Crappie and Bass should start to be active. All this and the derby right around the corner. I am ready. See you on the water!