Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Fishing Report: Sandhills

Click on photos for full size image.
I made it to the lake this morning. It's always good to see things in a new light.
It was cool and breezy when I got there, and a high overcast blew in. But it warmed up steadily until by the time I had to leave I was in shirtsleeves. Nice.
But, no fish. Very slow. I tried a new trick: a tandem rig. I used a beadhead on 4X and dropped a smaller nymph off of it on 5X. I tried chironimids, soft hackles, generic nymphs, and a caddis pupa when I saw a few hatching around Noon. I tried with an indicator and without, at various depths. I tried various retrieves including wind-drifting and the very zen-like retrieve of no retrieve. I even stripped a couple of streamers and trolled with a small beadhead Wooly Bugger. And as if that wasn't enough, I fished a "bee fly" for awhile, or a fly that resembled a honeybee, after seeing many of them on the water.
Good practice.
A troller stopped by in his big boat (do I look like someone who wants to chat?) and confirmed that the fish were off the bite. He'd tried the rigs that had gotten him his limit the last few times out and hadn't caught a thing.
The good news, though--or the Cosmic Finger--was that he was seeing bigger fish on his sonar than in years past. Through all that the birds stole the show. Canadian Geese couples were perching on these cliffs and flying off and coming back, and squabbling and fighting, all at the top of their voices.
And the Red-necked Grebes are back with what the bird book describes as their "drawn out braying calls." Really loud, but really fun. This picture doesn't do them justice; I blew it up and the resolution suffered. Wish I had a telephoto.
But the stars of the show were the Sandhill Cranes. This was my first sighting of them this Spring, and it's always an event.
First you hear their unmistakable creaking call way up high somewhere and seeming to come from everywhere at once. Then you begin to see the long trailing lines of them across the sky. First a few...
Then more and more.
If you're lucky, you'll see the lines collide and merge, and the birds begin to spiral in great dark swirls.
And the sky is filled with constellations--galaxies--of Sandhills.
So, no fish, but wonderful birds and great weather. I was content.

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