On what hopefully will become an annual tradition, for the second time in two years, Tony, a grandson (a different one this time), and I headed for the Connecticut River on the fourth Saturday in April; a day that for 20+ years has meant fishing on a local trout pond because it is opening day of trout season.
Last year we had some success in a very limited amount of time, and hoped to expand on what we learned last April. Last year’s trip resulted in several firsts. The most noticeable was Grandson Sam’s first pike. We were hoping the same would be true for Ian this year.
Upon our arrival, we realized quickly that this was a different year. The most important difference being that the water was much colder, mostly 42 degrees this year, as compared to 50 degrees last year. That’s a huge difference to a fish, especially a spawning fish, like a pike in April.
We started in the same setback where we had all our action last year. We raised several fish then. It was entirely different this time. Almost an hour of fishing resulted in just one swing and miss by a pike at Ian’s spinner.
What that one fish told us was several things. First, the fish weren’t there in the numbers they were a year ago. Second, they were not as aggressive, so we had to mute the color and reduce the speed. Third, the fish were not as tight to the bank this year as they were last year.
The good news is that this situation forced us into finding some new spots to fish. I had seen on a topo map a setback on the opposite bank about a half mile downstream. So we headed there to check it out. It looked perfect! It had everything a pike could want.
We were still faced with dealing with the cold water, but we hoped this bigger, deeper cove would result in a fish or two. It did. Ian got his first pike, and he had another strike. He did so by reeling slower over deeper water.
Tony and I were still fishless, so we decided to check out a cove upstream that we had seen from the road. It paid off. Using what we learned earlier, Tony and I each landed two nice 30”+ fish.
We have all the more reason to go back, now that we added these two new spots to our inventory of pike waters.
The lesson here is to learn not only from the fish you catch, but as much or more from the ones you don’t catch.