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.


First trout of the season. I’ve come to think of the rounded nose as typical of stocked trout.

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.

One Comment on “On the Lake for Stocked ‘Bows

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