On the Lake for Stocked ‘Bows
Conditions on Lake Shaftsbury Tuesday, 4/14/20, were mostly overcast, cold and windy. The lake was recently stocked with 1 and 2 year old rainbows. There were several cars already there when I arrived around 6:30. I’d never fished this lake before so it took some exploring to get sorted. Having a boat helped me cover more water and avoid the other anglers. The first fish of the day came as a surprise. When I set the hook and saw the long body I thought I had a nice rainbow on, although it didn’t fight like one. Once I got it to the boat I discovered it was a pickerel, about 16″. I had a few other strikes before I connected with a rainbow. After a short fight I got it in the boat. It was definitely a stocked fish of 12″ with the stubby fins and blunt nose I’ve come to equate with hatchery trout. I don’t know if the rounded nose is truly a characteristic of stocked trout but it seems many of the hatchery fish I’ve caught have it.
I got a few other strikes, including one that felt like a solid fish. Sadly, the knot connecting tippet to fly had taken a beating between hooking fish and snagging bottom. The line quickly went slack and tippet end showed the tell-tale corkscrew curl of a failed knot.
The wind was the primary spoiler of the day. Even with the anchor down each gust pushed me closer to the shore line, the anchor leaving a plume of mud as it dragged along bottom. Without it I would have managed about two casts before having to reposition and start drifting again. By 9:15 my fingers were chilled to the bone and I headed for shore. Freshly stocked trout aren’t as rewarding to catch as ones that have been around for a few years, and certainly nothing like wild fish, but they’re a fun way to get the season started.