Got out earlier this week in search of larger than average rainbow trout on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. I was being treated to a lake with limited public access with promise of rainbow trout to 6 plus pounds so how could one refuse. Its always hard to know how to measure the weather. The forecast called for warm temperatures and sunny skies – a pleasant way to spend a day in a float tube but maybe not the most productive weather for fishing. We sided on the pleasant tubing weather and headed out.
We arrived just after 8 in the morning to blue skies and relatively calm winds. After stringing up the rods and getting our tubes organized we were on the water. I had barely pushed back from shore when Wade shouted he had a fish on. It wasn’t one of the big ones but it was definately a promising start to the day. As it turns out, the first one was a teaser with the fish slow to come after that – at least as far as trout were concerned.
We decided to work our way around the lake in opposite directions and meet up somewhere along the way (I guess if you keep to the plan it should work that way). Not too long after we made the split I floated over a section of shoreline with some really rocky structure. Looking down through the clear water, this looked like such a fishy spot and I wasn’t disappointed when I felt a sharp hit. There we go I thought, first trout on my line. However I was somewhat surprised when I worked the fish into sight to see a bassy looking mouth. No one told me there were bass in the lake but sure enough it was a smallmouth bass. Since they were still out of season, it was a quick flip of the hook to release him. But at least there were fish in this spot so I decided to stick around to see what else I could coax onto my line. Sure enough, another hit. This time a lot harder. With some heavy duty head shaking, it seemed this might be the trout I was looking for. It was definitely a big fish and eventually I worked it to the surface only to see another smallmouth. And talk about mixed feelings – it was easily the biggest smallmouth I have hooked into. Without picking him up or measuring him before a quick release, I guess 4-5 pounds. Too bad it wasn’t bass season.
From there things slowed for a while. Despite trying every sort of fly imaginable, fishing shallow and deep, fast and slow retrieve there didn’t seem to be anything the fish were interested in. Lunch and a bathroom break was a welcome break from kicking around the lake.
With the store bought ham sandwich and apple gone, it was time to solve the trout problem so back into the float tubes. Wade indicated he had caught fish further along so we decided to push into the wind for a bit more before beginning the drift back to our put in spot. And a good thing we did. A short time later I had a hit on a brown wooly bugger. After a nice fight, a healthy, silver-sided rainbow trout came alongside the tube and was quickly released. That was more like it and hopefully an indication of things to come. But sadly, no more trout felt in a cooperative mood. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the anticipated drift with the wind didn’t exactly work out when the wind shifted so it was a bit more work getting back than expected.
Despite the slow fishing, it was a great day. We packed it in around 3 which was probably a bit early. With the expectation of better fishing this is certainly a lake I would return to for another try.