Last year I really stunk up the place fishing. I got skunked almost every trip out. I fished a LOT, and I think I only caught five fish the whole summer. It was really getting embarrassing.
I decided to start out the season by going to a Washington Dept of fish & Wildlife Crappie 101 class last weekend. They were holding it up at Silver Lake, near Mt St Helens, and that was on my list of places to go explore anyway. The lake is HUGE – well, a lot bigger than my home lake – but our fishing was confined to a little canal inside an RV park on the lake.
They told us that in the winter crappie and perch all gather in this canal. In the summer they will head back out to the lake, but right now it was easy pickin’s here, and good practice for the kiddos who came to the clinic. Pretty much everyone was going to be catching fish if they threw a line in there.
I spent about 10 minutes tying on a couple crappie jigs I bought at the RV Park office, setting up a double jig rig as the instructor suggested, then headed out to the canal. My first cast was ok but didn’t quite go where I wanted it. My second cast went in a tree behind me, and broke off – so both jigs were gone. I went ahead and just tied on another jig I had in my box and tried that, and boom – first fish of the day!
A nice little crappie. Then another, then a perch, then another perch, and another. I switched to a different color jig, they were hitting that too. Finally I went too deep and caught the jig on the bottom and lost it, so I tied on a Trout Magnet, and it was just as effective. What a joy to finally be catching fish and get to practice landing them for a change!
I was chatting with the nice family next to me, and they had driven up from my area too. One of their kids wasn’t having any luck though, so I let him have my spot and I wandered down the canal to try a spot down past the crowd.
It was pretty, but there were no bites and if there was one thing I learned that day, it was to ‘fish where the fish are’ – and the fish were back where I had been fishing!
So I headed back down to the other end of the canal and found a new spot and started reeling in perch again.
Most were little guys like this, but I caught one that was eating-size! Couldn’t get his picture because my hands were full! I did catch & release though, it was a long trip back home to be transporting fish. If I’d been camping there though, I’d have been cooking up some fish for lunch!
So that was a really fun day out, and I discovered Silver Lake is beautiful, and I definitely need to head back there! And it was was a great start to my fishing season, since all told I caught over a dozen fish – more than I’ve caught the last two seasons! And I met some nice folks from my area and got to talk fishing with them a bit and get some tips for the next time I hit the lake. All in all, an awesome day!