Thursday, May 15, 2008

Super Star!

In my last post, I shared a day at Muir Lake with you. Muir is my second favorite lake in the Edmonton area. My favorite is a lake called Star Lake, known for quality fish but not for quantity. Star Lake is the fishery I named my Star Scud pattern after which I'll feature in this post. Before that though, I'll tell you how my day went.

I got out on the water at 5pm. I was looking for a buddy of mine that was supposed to meet me but I didn't see anyone else on the lake nor did I see his vehicle in the parking lot. It was a windy day and it took me a while to row my pontoon over to the shelter of the island. I stopped in my usual early spring spot near the beaver house and anchored in about 10ft of water. Every spring I usually do well here as this bay seems to get some good chironomid hatches not long after ice out. On the way over to the island I noticed some chironomids on the surface, some big (bombers) and some small, nothing to get overly exited about but enough to maybe start my evening off fishing them. In the bay, I saw a good number of midges hatching but not enough to put "that smile" on my face. So I tied on my usual, a black Thread Midge and Redd October blood worm pattern as a dropper. I measured the depth of the water and fastened my indicator accordingly keeping the bloodworm one foot off the bottom and began casting out my presentation. After about 10 minutes I noticed the indicator slightly bobbing up and down. I went to set the hook but there was nothing. That told me the fish were hitting very soft and for me to be successful, I'll really have to pay attention. It seamed like forever before I had to set the hook again but I finally hooked up. This time I noticed the indicator moving sideways only seconds after I cast my flies. When I lifted my rod, a nice 18 incher was on the other end. I brought it to the 'toon, did a quick throat pump to see what the rainbow as feeding on and let it go. Two black chironomids and a small water boatman. The trout took the top fly being the black thread midge. Seeing how the trout took my fly near the surface I started experimenting with depth. I got it as short as 5ft down when I hooked into my next fish, a fat 17 incher. I continued to fish at this depth and lost a couple trout due to those soft takes. I then see this guy in a float tube heading straight for me and continues until he's right up on me. I was thinking to myself; "Buddy, you got the whole lake. Why you gotta poach my water?" Now he's quite close so I say a friendly hello and he replies; "Hey Doc!". I know that voice. It's my buddy Chuck Harvey (the guy I was suppose to meet). I was expecting him to be in his blow-up raft and two hours earlier. He then explains how he was fishing on the other side of the island for the last two hours and didn't recognize my vehicle in the parking lot even though he parked right beside me. Chuck, like me, is a stillwater nut. Chuck is also a rod builder, making some very fine graphite fly rods and he occasionally works at the north side fishin' hole tackle shop. We talked a bit and did some fishing but we weren't having a whole lot of luck. Chuck had caught three fish on the other side of the island using leech patterns but they didn't seem to be producing over here. By this time the clouds had made there way over head and since it was getting darker I decided to tie on a scud as the dropper and fish it near the bottom. Not long after that I hooked up again but when I netted the trout I took the scud out of the fishes belly ( it was foul hooked). I guess that explained the incredible fight for a 16 incher. It also told me the trout was taking the first fly (thread midge) higher up the water column. I then asked Chuck what depth the fish were showing up on his depth finder. He told me mostly four feet. So once again I shortened my indicator. I caught two more and lost two in the next hour on the scud casting closer to the shore. One 16 incher and one 15 incher. I pumped the throat on one of those and found (in the words of Don Anderson) lake lint. Lake lint is tiny minuscule life forms that you couldn't possibly match with a pattern. The lint looked like hook size #52 scuds. I'll let your imagination come up with that pattern. Anyway the evening ended with five trout for me brought to the 'toon and I believe Chuck caught the same. That's a decent day on Star especially when the only reports we're hearing as of late is "caught one" or "I got skunked."

Star Scud

I invented this pattern in the summer of 2005 after seeing the shallow waters of Star lake littered with thousands of tan colored scuds. A great scud pattern with sparkle attractor qualities.

HOOK: Sizes 12 to 16 C49S Mustad

WEIGHT: Lead wire
RIB: Fine gold wire.
BODY: H&H Rainbow sow scud dubbing
SHELL BACK: Stillwater Solutions calibaetis midge flex 1/8"

Click here for step-by-step tying instructions.

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