Saturday, 2 May 2015

Maiden Voyage on the Yak

Spring had finally sprung and a few hours were freed up the other day to get out on the kayaks. I plan on occasionally fishing from our newly acquired yaks and it felt like a good day to get out and paddle. We were keeping in mind you can dip net for suckers at this time of year and if we were lucky, there was a chance we would come across a few of the rarely targeted resident white suckers in the spawn up the creek.

Jay pushed me and my kayak from shore so I could avoid a wet start to the paddle. This was my first trip out on the 13.5 foot fishing yak and it felt stable as ever. I got a good head start with the boys not far behind, the wind blowing around 20kmh as we coasted straight to the creek mouth. As we reached the semi shelter of the creek there were many Canadian Geese paired up and about a dozen Coots. I only had the smart phone along for potential pictures as I don't have a waterproof container for my camera yet, so pictures had to be kept to a minimum.

The creek was lower than we expected, but we were still able to get quite far. Along the way we came across a few painted turtles basking on the banks and logs as well as many frogs calling out for mates. We finally came to where we would have to portage to get further up the creek but after a bit of a scouting hike it was clear there was no more really navigable water. But what was there would brighten an already stellar afternoon.

"Hey! Look up there" Frodo spoke up excitedly as he pointed up stream. We all saw the tell tale signs of sucker tails thrashing at the surface of a shallow pool in between two riffles. No one knew why, but the three of us instantly turned around and went running back to our kayaks to grab our dip nets. "Why are we running?" Jay shouted out, as we hopped over fallen trees and pushed through the brush of burdock and dead grasses. "I don't know!", I yelled back as we reached the yaks. After catching our breath we calmly walked back to where we saw the suckers and formulated a game plan.

Twenty five feet before the main pool there was a small run with 4 beautifully coloured suckers, we positioned one person at the headwaters and one at the tail end leaving the third to get to the middle and scoop or spook the fish. This was our first attempt at dip netting for suckers and instead of the usually targeted flooded ditches of big lakes by most, we were up a natural creek connected to a small lake. It was pure trial and error, not really a "run" of sorts as they were already apparently spawning. Frodo was the first to get a sucker in his net, and it didn't take long before Jay and I did as well. We kept one for catfish bait and let the other two go. We are probable some of the few who selective catch and release dip net fish, but maybe I'm wrong.

We moved upstream to the bigger pool that was holding at least 25 suckers. The area was wider and they had far more space to avoid our nets. We were able to net a few off the hop, some with very stunning spawning colours and each unique upon closer inspection. It became clear that we needed someone in the water to send them our way and Frodo was the guy to do so. No waders or rubber boots here, off with the socks and shoes, roll up the pant legs and getter done. Jay would leave the net in the water as we corralled the suckers in his direction waiting for a bump. Once that was felt, up came the net with at least one sucker, five at once being the best net full of the day. The smallest were around 15 inches and the biggest hovering around 20.

Out of the wind in the shelter of the creek bed the temperatures were rising steadily and it was clear summer isn't far off. All in all we kept 3 for the bait bag and let the rest go after some pictures of some with different colour variations. It might sound gross, but it was good to smell a fish again. We hiked back to the yaks and paddled off towards the lake, stopping to watch the coots for a few minutes before paddling head on into the wind to the launch. The paddle back was nothing short of exhausting and it felt like I was going nowhere fast, but I made it back before the boys were packed up, so I couldn't have taken that long.

No comments:

Post a Comment