A beautiful, sunny spring day, errands completed in the morning, a visit with a good friend, and Darrell off of work. The only way today could have been better was if I went fishing. Oh wait, I did!
While the main focus for this weekend is on trout opener (one more sleep), I really couldn’t think of a better way to spend a wonderful afternoon than on Fairy Lake in Acton, looking for crappie and sunfish. Fortunately, there was no ice on the lake on this day and our boat was not called on for ice-breaking duties. The water temps were ranging from 49F to 50F, and with no sign of green weeds in places that will eventually become the strongholds for crappie, Darrell and I headed off to a shallower bay in search of warmer water and active fish.
One of the great things about Fairy Lake is that it provides a variety of recreation opportunities for people visiting its shores. In the summer there’s fishing, boating, hiking, and lots of activities in the park. In the winter there’s ice fishing, skating, snowmobiling, and hockey. While it is wonderful to see the lake being enjoyed by so many people, it was extremely disheartening to find, for the second year in a row, a hockey net in the water. Hockey nets act as gill nets and they kill fish, and last year we did find crappie stuck in the net. This time around I think we managed to pull the net out before there was much harm to the fish population, but it’s something people need to consider.
With our net removal complete we were able to focus on fishing. Tossing jigs at stumps and logs has been a productive pattern in the past so that was our starting point. It didn’t take many casts before Darrell set the hook into the first fish of the day. Of course, it wasn’t one of the target species. Those darn bass just don’t realize when they are out of season and shouldn’t be biting. When we inadvertently catch fish out of season, we try to keep them in the water and release them at the boat. This one was cooperative.
Eventually, with the water temps now approaching 53F, we managed to find some of our target species and get a few bites. My first of the day was a sunfish that typically fought like a much bigger fish. I was afraid at first that I had hooked a bass, but was thrilled to see the scrappy sunny on my line. One of the small joys in life is catching sunfish.
While the sunfish continued to pull my lure, bite at the legs, hold on to the bait and let go at the boat, the crappie were content to stay hidden and tight-lipped. We saw more than we caught, but they seem a little scattered at the moment and not holding in any pattern we could nail down. Some slabs have moved in but they were in no mood to play. A few more warm days should start the action and it won’t be long until we get into that crappie bite I love so much.
It wasn’t the most productive day on the water numbers-wise, but we laughed all afternoon as we saw the shadows of bass zooming towards our lures and we tried ripping them away before they got the hook. We laughed at the geese who were determined to make the afternoon anything but quiet. One particular Momma-goose is back in her regular nest and doesn’t seem to remember that we were nice people last year and left her alone. She glared at the boat as we drifted by, quite some distance from her. It was a fun day on the water and we had to force ourselves to return to the launch and pull the boat out. Days like these are why I love fishing – I enjoyed the beautiful weather, caught some fish, and spent the day with my favorite person. I really couldn’t ask for more.