A Sunday wade

With spring knocking on our door, I have been feeling the urge to get out and do my first serious wade of 2011. With water temps pushing 40 degrees on one of the local rivers, it also means that it's almost spawning time for one of my favorite species, the northern pike. The plan today was to hit some of the river's backwater areas in search of those prespawn pike that should be moving into their beds. I wanted to check out some new-to-me areas that I scouted on google maps. They looked promising on one hand, yet dangerous on the other. When you combine a new area and a river that just crested a few hours before, it's a good idea to go with a partner. With that in mind, I decided to give my local fishing buddy Dan a call.

Calm back waters - 39.5 degrees
The morning was rather chilly so we decided to meet at the spot around 11am so the temps were above the freezing mark.  After getting our gear and waders on, we set off to the first area that we wanted to hit. As we worked our way through, we didn't even see a fish. This was a bit surprising because the area was ideal. It was loaded with great depth changes, a semi soft bottom, calm water, easy access to the main river, and lots of grass.

After not getting anything, we decided to keep moving. It took a few tries to find a wadable path to our next target area, but eventually we got there. This area was similar to the last in it's features. Unfortunately, the results were also similar. We did see a small wake, but I have no idea what it actually was. It could have been a gill, carp, etc...All I know is that it wasn't interested in what I to offer. By this time, the weather was getting nicer. The sun was starting to come out from the clouds and the temperature was getting nicer. Aside from not catching anything so far, it was a great morning and our hopes were still high.

18" bass - winter fish kill casualty
As we moved on, we found a great looking backwater pond. With the water so high, it was easy to see how the fish would have access to it. There were signs of life there, too! I noticed a shadow moving in the water and was able to see it was an otter or beaver that I had spooked. I never knew how fast those things could swim, until now. We decided to throw a few casts into this area and after a couple of casts...BAM! 18" bass!!

OK, not really. This was one of many fish Dan and I had found along the banks of this backwater pond that appear to have been victims of a winter fish kill. There were several large carp, bass, tons of bluegills, and some fish that looked to be white bass. My theory is that this happens here almost every year. I think that fish find there way into this shallow pond during floods and perish during the winter. From everything we could see, there weren't too many live plants for oxygen or enough depth to avoid a freeze.

A road less traveled
Eventually, we found a flooded gravel service road and decided to wade that to another backwater pond we had seen on google maps. It was a bit farther than we expected, but we kept on in the name of exploration. At this point, we had figured out that catching anything was becoming less likely than we had hoped.  We eventually made it out to the pond we were looking for and even wet our lines a few times, but didn't get anything. We did see a few massive swans that at least showed that there was some life in this gorgeous area. Dan plans on figuring out how far we actually waded, but my legs are telling me it was every bit of three miles. It was a tremendous workout that was filled with wonderful views of some rare wetlands and the hope of hooking up with some toothy critters. If nothing else was accomplished today, I have found some areas that I need to fish this summer with the boat and even do another wade in the coming months.


  1. Regardless of the catch, or lack of, the first wade of the spring is always special. Especially when you discover a new leak in your waders.
    Great post

  2. Great read- I clicked all your links as well. Keep up the good work!

  3. It was three miles... :) Exillerating, wasn't it?

  4. John - Can't agree more! Funny enough, I did end up with my first leak in these waders. There were some thorny vines and apparently one put a pinhole in right thigh. I didn't notice until the waders came off and my right thigh was damp.

    Steve - Thanks for reading! Hope you stick around and I look forward to seeing your blog when it gets up and running.

    RD - it sure was! I wish all exercise could be like this. I would be in the best shape ever!

  5. Train go by while you were there? We get trains next to rivers in Colorado too. Thanks for the post. Must go fishing, must go fishing!

  6. This fishing trip and the the area you were able to cover will pay off in the long run. More research may be required! Have fun.

  7. Nice post... the pioneering angler will prevail... always!

  8. Fishcreek - yes they did. The rail lines are quite active over here and especially along this particular river. They run next to each other for miles upon miles. Get out there and fish!

    Mel - You are correct and I look at every trip as research!

    Upacreek - thanks for reading and the encouragement

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  10. I really enjoyed reading this post, very entertaining. It got me thinking maybe I should go throw in a line in one of our local lakes.


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