One day, three kayak fishing locations

CWF05282016A fine Rainbow Trout from the kayak, at Wallace Lake

BEREA, OH – The previous weekend’s Kid’s Fishing Derby at Wallace Lake had me wondering if there were any stocker Rainbow Trout remaining.  If you read my previous post covering the event, you will know I did not give the fishing it’s due effort, which also left me feeling a bit bummed.  I was hopeful fish would remain, but also knew the lake would have had considerable pressure.

With an opportunity to fish nearly all of the day, I was fortunate that my plan could include multiple destinations.  I decided I would fish Wallace Lake for a few hours before moving on to the Rocky River at Emerald Necklace Marina and then into Lake Erie.

Getting on to the water at Wallace Lake, I was greeted with a nice Bluegill on my second cast.  This didn’t end up meaning anything as to the pace of the fishing as I would go nearly an hour and a half before the next strike.  That strike turned out to be a small Largemouth Bass.  Fortunately, I got this bite or I may have been out of the water by the time I hit the two hour mark where I had planned to leave.  As I fished on, I began to convince myself that it was unlikely many fish remained.  The lake is not so big as to not see a good number of shore anglers at any given time, and I had not seen a single trout taken by anyone.  I am not sure what motivated me to keep throwing my inline spinner and revise my departure time, but I did.  Finally, I got another hit and felt the pull of a bit better fish than the previous two.  As I got the fish close to the boat I could see it was a trout, and a fine sized one for a stocker.  Fish landed without issue, just under 17″.

The kayak view at the mouth of the Rocky River

With goal number one for the day accomplished by catching a trout out of Wallace Lake, it was on to the next missions.  While not so specific, I just wanted to catch some fish in the Rocky River and Lake Erie.  I headed north through the Rocky River Reservation and put the kayak in at Emerald Necklace Marina.  The river was pretty busy with boat traffic, both large and small crafts.  Who knows if this contributed to keeping fish out of the area but I had no hookups, just conversations with other paddling enthusiasts.  Moving on to the lake, my luck didn’t change.  All of my offerings were refused other than drifting worm harnesses that were getting destroyed by Round Gobies.  I landed a few of them to confirm what species was bait robbing me, and gave up on trying to get anything else to bite.  The weather changed too, and I called it a day.

I wish the river or lake would have given up a nice fish or two, but I was happy I got out, and I always get ideas for the next trip and how to be more successful.

Christmas hangover at Wallace Lake

CWF12262015troutA nicely colored Wallace Lake Rainbow Trout

BEREA, OH – When I recently posted my “Year end recap…” I fully expected that I would not get to fish in the last few days of 2015.  Surprisingly, the unseasonably mild weather and some other favorable circumstances found Bryce and I fishing at Wallace Lake the day after Christmas.  The hangover spoken of in the title isn’t related to anything alcohol related, rather the emotional refueling required after getting a 4 year old and nearly 2 year old through Christmas.

This trip was somewhat on a whim and the fact that my 4 year old was eager to tag along, kept expectations low.  I took very little tackle and assumed Bryce would wear out quick.  I was lured to the lake by a recent trout stocking that included Rainbow Trout that were fed higher amounts of beta carotene increasing their colors, some Brown Trout, some Golden Trout, and even a single Cutthroat Trout!  All of these potential catches made even the shortest of efforts worthwhile.

As unpredictable as fishing can be, this marginally prepared for, highly distracted by toy dinosaurs, and completely under geared trip, was hugely productive.  In the few hours we fished, I would hook up with 9 Rainbow Trout.  Bryce was thrilled and enjoyed helping out and this was his first time seeing live trout.  We kept a stringer of one legal limit (3 fish) and it was like looking at myself watching him pull the stringer up to look at the fish over and over.  I emailed Cleveland Metroparks one of the photos of him admiring our biggest trout, which ended up being the cover photo for the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Blog for the December 31st weekly report.  It can be seen here.  Bryce was very proud of this accomplishment and made sure everyone knew.

It would have been very cool to catch any of the other ‘special’ trout that were stocked, but it would be hard to complain about the day’s success.  All of these traditional Rainbows had beautiful color and we were fortunate that mixed into our catches was one of the bigger class fish (pictured above).  While Wallace Lake continues to be a ‘hit or miss’ fishing venue for me, I am happy that I am having more good days than bad.

‘Launching’ into kayak fishing

Behind the scenes, for at least a year, I had been considering getting deeper into the sport of kayak fishing.  While I have had a cheap recreational kayak for many years, it was a big decision to fully invest all the resources necessary to take it to the next level.  Kayak fishing has evolved into a niche within the angling community that you could literally devote every aspect of your recreational time to.  While I am still just scratching the surface of custom- ization and all aspects of rigging, I am far enough along that I made a trip out, had success, and wanted to get the readers up to speed on this endeavor.

Before I get into my first excursion report, there have been numerous entities that have helped in one way or another to motivate me into the sport.  Although I am fearful I will inadvertently omit someone, my ‘shout outs’ of appreciation go to; Brookfield Angler, CLE Kayak Anglers, KFGL, YakAddicts, Hook1, Lucid Fishing, Ocean Kayak, ACK, NRS, and The Backpacker’s Shop.  I know many people will be curious what yak I bought and why.  While that could be suitable for an entire post itself, I will just say the decision largely came down to the following… 1. Kayak weight vs. kayak weight capacity 2. Ability to handle a decent day on Lake Erie, yet small enough for creeks 3. Size as it relates to transport and storage when not in use.  Other aspects were considered as well before making a final decision.

My 2015 Ocean Kayak Trident 11 Angler in Orange Camo

A few weeks ago, a maiden voyage took place, but it was for an overall familiarization with the boat from comfort to safety.  Today’s trip was for getting down to serious fishing business.  I knew Wallace Lake (Berea, OH) had been stocked the prior week for a kids fishing derby yesterday.  I was optimistic that the snotty nosed little brats (err… I mean little angels) hadn’t fished everything out the first day.  My species of choice would be Rainbow Trout, but more importantly I just hoped to catch fish.  Everything would be catch & release, other than the trout.  It is doubtful there is much, if any, carryover.  The first few hours on the water were not overly productive as I only caught a few small panfish.  I saw a number of Largemouth Bass, some rather decent, but nothing could convince them to strike.  I also came across a nice catfish resting in the submerged timber that I was only successful in waking long enough to swim away.

So much of fishing success is knowing when to switch techniques or a pattern.  It suddenly occurred to me that if I kept doing the same thing, I’d get the same result.  I then paddled to the deepest portion of the lake, put a split shot above a small inline spinner and started casting.  This was something completely different than I had tried all day.  After letting my spinner sink for a few seconds, I began a slow retrieve.  After 3 or 4 casts, I felt the smack of a fish hitting the lure and a minute or two later I had my first ‘real’ fish landed from the yak.  It was a dandy 15 3/4″ stocker Rainbow Trout.  My experience with most trout stocking events is that the fish are 10-12″ and often drab in coloration and markings.  This fish was nice in size and plenty handsome, I was thrilled.  The next step was getting an opportunity to test my solutions for kayak self photos, and overall, I was pleased with the results.

CWF061715rtroutThe first noteworthy catch in the new yak

The ACK Hawg Trough removes all doubt when it comes to measuring fish

CWF061715troutThe second trout was a clone of the first

A three fish trout limit was exactly what the author hoped for

While I was content with the catch, I was eager to see if I could reproduce the success again.  Fifteen minutes later, a second similar sized fish was guided to the net.  With complete confidence, a third trout was landed within 30 minutes of the second.  My day was complete as I had my 3 trout limit on the stringer, but I did fish a bit longer.  A fourth trout was caught and released, and I called it a day, I had achieved complete contentment.  As I paddled to shore I thought about the fact that people could argue there are far more exotic locations and fish out there to be had, but this moment, this water, this day… was perfect to me.