Steph and I had an interesting day at O’Neill Forebay today. Every year it seems, there is day in the year when I stumble into the nursery and today was the day. The day started out early at 6:30 when I arrived at the gate and found nobody at the ranger station. The two cars in front of me both waited at the station for a couple minutes and drove through. The lights were on but no one as at the window. There wasn’t a sign saying to wait, no locked gate. I figured someone would be down at the lake to take the tag of my boat, but again there was no one down there either. I launched my boat and all of a sudden a park worker comes down a half an hour after I entered the park in a white truck and asks me as Im launching my boat, if I stopped at the ranger station to check in and get my tag pulled. I told her I waited for 5 minutes and then drove through and told her my tag is on the dash of my truck in parking lot with the annual pass hanging from my mirror. She then requested that I walk back to my truck to show her my annual pass and my boat re-entry tag. She delayed me getting on the water by half an hour and didn’t even drive her truck to my truck to check. I figure I spend 300 dollars a year on an annual pass to use the boat ramp and park my boat. The least the park service can do is show up to work on time, Just saying
I started catching fish right off the boat ramp. The skies were overcast at daybreak and there small fish surface feeding all around the dock and in the shallows in the morning. I threw some topwater flies that were ignored and caught several 17 inch stripers on clousers. I headed out to the islands where I had caught some good fish last week and worked the weediness with me limited success. By the time Steph made it out I had 8 fish . Steph forgot his fly box so I set him up with some flies and leader and we went in opposite directions to look for fish. I fished the weed lines from the islands to the Medrious Boat Launch and ended up with about a dozen fish by 11:00. I had two good fish at the boat on the Rock Wall when Steph pulled up to tell me he found a school of fish. I wasn’t really into leaving the wall since I did hook some good fish there, but he insisted and said the spot he found was really “good”. We got to his spot and it was the dink nursery of all nurseries. We spent the next three hours there side by side catching over 100 fish on virtually every cast. I tried to catch two at once by throwing a dual fly umbrella rig. I caught them on flukes, rattletraps, big flies, little flies. It was a fun day. A perfect situation to teach a beginner to fly fish. I wont think Ill ever get tired of that initial bite and “set” even if the fish is a dink.
A couple of years ago I found a school of 12-15 inch stripers and brought a 4wgt fly rod out to play with them . I still had a 5 wgt Sage Salt in the boat for such an occasion and had a blast catching stripers on virtually every cast for three hours. I have to thank Steph for finding me on the lake to share his spot with me, We had a blast catching stripers till are arms were numb. Those tiny stripers fight so hard for there size. In that first second that you set on them, its hard to tell just how big or small they are till they make their run. Even a 12 inch striper can put a full bend on an 8 wgt the moment they are hooked. Im pretty sure a 12 inch striper fights harder than a 12 inch trout. There is no doubt that the stripers are reproducing in the Forebay.
Michigan beat the Ducks yesterday in a close game. I am a bit depressed but its early in the season and Michigan could be a top 10 team. I was impressed with how close the game was, but obviously, Vernon Allen is not Marcus Mariotta. We had lots of chances to beat them but didn’t execute. Similar to my execution in trying to catch a keeper today.