News alert, its trout season in Indiana. Yep, came in on April 1st and I’m betting most of you rushed right out the door with great excitement and a lift in your step? This is where I realize that I might be the only, if not for sure….the few that keep track of such things like trout season and then go forth and pursue them!
Friday, April 1st found me up very early and off to Greene County; I decided to start my day off at Midland Lake (one of the two lakes in the area stocked with rainbow trout). I eased backwards into the water at a bit before sun-up, about 6:15am…slipped on my kickfins, grabbed one of my two fly rods, unclipped a cream colored trout candy and began to make long casts with very slow retrieves. I could hear activity on the water but it was still too dark to actually see any of it. I knew that there were only a few critters moving around and active at this point in the pre-dawn time period; one would be a beaver and with the exception of a few ducks…the other would be the trout that I was indeed in search of.
I hadn’t gone but a few yards and was trolling my type one sink tip line when I felt a pop on the other end, strip set with my line hand…and in a few seconds was netting my first Indiana trout of the 2016 season. It was a great start and this trend continued right up until the point that the sun actually rose above the horizon and cast its magical glow on the water. It was at that very moment that someone flipped the light switch and all of the many trout that were so active…stopped dead in their tracks and retreated to the depths, their night time foray was now over. I knew within about ten minutes what was going on and tried to go deeper…to no avail, my day was effectively over.
You might ask why…I have tried to explain before, but trout simply don’t have any eyelids and are very photophobic (they don’t like light). On this opening morning it was calm and any sunlight dove deep into the water…even a little wind would’ve put some ‘chop’ on the water and allowed the fish to stay higher in the water column, but not today.
While I returned to Midland (and even to Airline Pit, the other trout lake) on two more occasions, the conditions still weren’t perfect, meaning I caught trout, but not at a rate that would make for good fishing. Sunday, April 10th rolled around and Frank Terkhorn and I had been watching the weather. The word was that rain would move in by sometime around 4pm, which would give the two of us a few afternoon hours to once again try our luck. We started the day out on a new lake in the western edge of Hillenbrand FWA, Clear Lake was good to us as we both caught a number of bass in about an hour upon the water.
I looked back to the west and could see that rain was for sure on the horizon…it was about 3:30 and the weatherman had hit this one right on the nose. Frank and I moved back to the truck, stowed away our stuff and decided we would give Midland a try on our way home…this was a great decision as the rain took all the sun off the water and brought the thousand or so trout up to the surface…the next hour would be one of those that as a fly-guy, you crave.
As we pulled into Midland the only other person we had seen all day was loading up his boat and was more than curious as to what the two of us were doing. When Frank explained to him he just shook his head, turned back around and asked us how cold it must get…I knew Frank was going to explain and thus I made my way to the water and kicked off backwards, as I did the rain really started to pelt us, perfect conditions!
I stripped out about 30 feet of line from my oldest rod, a Cabela’s 6-weight that I had been fishing with for a couple of decades…I was just getting all things stowed away and where I needed them when I felt a tug and without thinking strip set. Up out of the water came a silver torpedo, over and over the trout leapt until I finally was able to strip in the fish and slide my landing net in under it. I looked at Frank and yelled, “White”, he knew what I meant and seconds later I was into my second trout. Yes, a white, weighted trout candy was the magical elixir that these rainbow trout were looking for. (Click here to watch the video showing how to tie the weighted trout candy fly.)
The next hour was why I make these journeys. Why I get up early and stay out in the rain when others are snuggled inside. Why I re-tie leaders and check all my gear…without sounding too…dramatic it was almost perfect. A steady rain had brought trout after trout to the surface in search of a meal…a meal that Frank and I was handing out to them. One after the other we both caught a number of trout and probably would’ve continued to do so if it hadn’t have started to thunder.
We’d had a great couple of hours landing about 30 bass and 20 trout between us…and all from our float tubes. It was a day that the outdoors can sometimes offer up, no crowds and plenty of open water, teeming with native game fish and some odd imports…a day that both Frank and I completely appreciated, a day that we will long remember as we both Enjoyed the Great Outdoors.