FIRST TRIP


Written by Bob Melrose.

In the journey of life we sometimes have to make some tough choices. This weekend is one of them. Should I tackle the "honey do" list or go fishing? My choice is easier than most. My partner has gone down to see her nephew so my choice is simply where to fish. Considerable less guilt attached to this. So many lakes to fish, and so little time.

The May long weekend is usually the unofficial start of the season. All of our lakes have been ice free long enough to have turned over and trout should be getting a little more active. As the water warms the trout's smorgasbord starts to show some variety.

Chironomids are a favourite of the early season angler. Often called "Heave and Leave" fishing it is extremely effective at times. Fishing up to 20 foot plus leaders with sometimes very small flies, with or without a strike indicator, it is a demanding, intense art, if you have the patience. Patience because you need to fish chironomids painfully slow, hence the "Heave and Leave" moniker.

Dragonflies and damselflies have a 3-4 year life cycle and so are always available to the trout. They are a big mouthful and trout will seldom pass them up unless they are keying in on a specific bug. There are many well proven dragon and damsel patterns developed over the years for our BC waters. They are best worked in slow, short strips with the odd quick jerk. They can be trolled but are most effective when imparting some action or kicking the motor in and out of gear.

Trout love leeches and marabou or bunny leeches can illicit some savage strikes. Often trout will hit a leech so it recoils into a tight ball, easier to swallow. So a lot of anglers upon getting a touch will drop the leech back and pick up the fish on the second go round.

Off the mouths of the creeks as the fry come down, some of the minnow patterns can yield memorable days. Caddisflies and mayfly nymphs will come on a little later this month and scuds/freshwater shrimp make up the rest of the trout's diet. Learning to recognize the trout's food goes a long way to becoming a better angler. Examine the stomach contents or use a stomach pump to find out what is on the menu for today. Many sites are available on the web to expand your knowledge but your best bet is your local specialist tackle shop who can give you that "value added" hands on assistance.

If you are trolling the lakes this time of the year I find the best tactic to troll parallel to the shore. I usually like to see the bottom on one side of the boat, that 5-15 feet of water at this time of the year is the best bet. Concentrate off the mouths of creeks, where legal, as trout wait for food or fry to be washed down. At this time Triple Teasers, Dick Nites or Needlefish are just about a guarantee. For the bigger trout and char my own favourite is a Rapala in blue, silver or chartreuse. The Williams Wabler has been a Canadian classic and always produces. Apex and flatfish have their devotees and your favourite lure will always catch more fish because it spends more time in the water.

Of utmost importance is "sticky sharp" hooks. Probably the single most critical thing you can do. Also check your line. It has been stored on your reel all winter and probably has the memory of a slinky. If your line is twisted, walk your line out and wind it in under tension. Remember to stretch your fly line as it too has a memory.

Check to make sure the boat plug is in, motor running smoothly, and life jackets are on board. Best to prepare a list as Murphy is often an unwanted companion, especially on that first trip of the year. And don't forget the licence as I did one year and had to go back to town and wait for two hours for the shop to open. Remember that any boat that is powered needs an operators card and/or necessary safety equipment.