Foggy. Oh boy was it foggy today! As we were leaving the house on our way to Fairy Lake I wondered if we should even be hitting the water, but the need to fish has been getting stronger, and only a thunderstorm would have kept me home today. The parking lot at Prospect Park was empty, and the only sign of people was the three girls tossing bread out to the mallards. It had been a long time since we had a quiet day on Fairy Lake.
Wearing rainsuits and rubber boots, we launched the boat and took a few casts. A weed snag here, a possible hit there…it felt wonderful to cast about. The water was like glass, as calm as could be on a moody autumn day. Taking a look at the familiar surroundings, I noticed that many trees had already lost their leaves, while the ones that held on had brilliant colour to show for it. Large numbers of mallards gathered by the shore, hoping to find a scrap of bread. Lily pads were starting to show signs of decay after a long season of fluctuating temperatures.
We had last visited the lake a month ago, and on that day we had a blast catching hungry pike along a weedbed, and enticing a few reluctant crappie left among the disappearing coontail and water-milfoil. On that trip we managed to hook into some of the largest pike we’ve caught in Fairy Lake, and I was eager to see if the bite would continue to be hot.
Spinnerbaits had been the hot lure on our last trip, especially ones with orange in them, which was a change from our normal preference to throw white or chartreuse-coloured baits. I alternated between an orange and black spinnerbait, and an orange and chartreuse one. Darrell used a white and chartreuse spinnerbait. It is often said that being able to read the water makes you a better angler. Really, just observing things will make you better at any activity. As Darrell was moving the boat into position, he noticed minnows jumping on the surface of the water, scattering and spooked. He set us up to cast into the area and it didn’t take long for the pike to start biting.
There is no substitute for time on the water. Unfortunately, we have not had much time on the water lately, and it sure showed in my fishing. I hooked into three pike and lost them all before getting them to the boat. One was a really nice one for Fairy Lake. While I would have loved to have gotten the fish in for a closer look and maybe a quick picture, I was just happy as could be to have some crazy fishing action. Darrell managed to get a few to the boat quickly, and despite their small size, they put up a great fight.
I did finally hook into a pike and get it to the boat. Some days there’s nothing as wonderful as pike slime! For at least an hour we had constant action with the pike smashing our spinnerbaits every few casts. With a steep drop-off on one side, a still green weedbed covering the flat, and minnows feeding on a hatch, it wasn’t hard to see why the pike were in the area.
For some reason we don’t spend much time fishing Fairy Lake in the fall, so after we’d decided to give the area a break, we moved on to another few areas to look for some action. I did have a small pike take a little jig in the weedy back bay, but we didn’t manage to lock in on a good pattern elsewhere.
The fog became denser throughout the afternoon and it felt like we were on our own little lake. In fact, with only one kayaker and another boater out on the water, we did have it much to ourselves. Since it was such a hot bit we decided to try some other lures in the tackle box, but nothing other than the spinnerbaits could convince the pike to bite. We returned to our first area and caught several more fish, including one that ate my spinnerbait the moment it hit the water. The toothy critters gave us an awesome day on the water and we lost count of how many we caught and how many we lost.
Fairy Lake continues to be a fantastic fishery at all times of the year. This year it has provided me with some truly wonderful moments when I have been so short of time on the water. I really need to find more time in my schedule to go fishing.