June 12, 2015

Catching Rainbows and Taming Tigers

My father-in-law took me fishing for my birthday a few days ago. We headed up to a lake that we've had some of our best days on numbers wise. This lake is mostly known for it's rainbows and Cutthroats, but in recent years,  it is starting to become a good spot to hunt for Tiger Trout.
 
We launched around 10 am to perfect weather. We both started trolling flies making our way around the lake. We would pick off 10-12 inch rainbows from time to time, but nothing consistent. I wanted to try getting into some tiger trout, and after a couple more rainbows, I decided to switch things up. I put away my fly rod and pulled out my spinning rod and decided to try a big Rapala. I also adjusted where I was fishing on the lake.
 
I've always had more confidence when fishing Raps compared to flinging flies, and since it was my birthday, I figured I had good vibes on my side. That must have been correct, because on my third cast, I had a great hit. Once I felt a couple of violent head shakes, I knew I had something good on the end of my line. At first he came straight to me, and I could hardly reel fast enough to keep tension on the line, but the second we made eye contact two things happened. 1: the fish took off on one of the hardest runs I've felt from a fresh water fish, and 2: my mindset went from having fun to "holy crap, I need to land this fish" because I knew it would be a new personal best if I could land it. My father-in-law said my voice got higher and higher as I fought this fish and got more excited. Each time I got the fish close I'd get a better look and realize just how big it was before it tore off again on another hard run.
 
My first attempt at landing the fish didn't go well, as I didn't get the net low enough and I thought I had knocked the Rapala out if its mouth. Luckily I got one more try, and this time I got him in the net. This Tiger measured 24 inches in length which confirmed that it was a new personal best by a few inches. What a great birthday gift! My Father-in-law snapped a few pictures, and then I released him to grow bigger. While taking pictures, he had a fly drifting in the water that a rainbow apparently couldn't pass up. He hurried and put the camera down and grabbed the rod so he could land it. That's multitasking at it's best in my view.
 
I ended up landing 3 more 14 inch range tigers, but had a couple good sized fish follow me all the way to the boat. My Father-in-law landed a bunch of rainbows making for a fantastic day on the water. On the way home, we saw three bull elk just off the road, and just around the next bend a cow moose right on the road. They were the exclamation point on a perfect day.

We had the lake to ourselves.

Typical Rainbow we caught on this trip.
 
Beaver lodge.
 
Thick, with solid shoulders.


Great colors.


24 inch Tiger; a new personal best.