Tough Times for Trout
The weather has certainly been strange lately. On the day I got a chance to get out for the first time in a few weeks, it hits 100 degrees throughout the Black Hills. 2 days later, the area got its first snowfall of the year, with the Deerfield area where I went fishing 48 hours before seeing 8" of fresh powder. Some areas got nearly a foot of snow. Giddy I was with the thought of an early fall that could possibly lead to an early ice season as well. But alas, it was just a brief spell of cold weather. Temperatures will be climbing back into the 80s before too long. Perhaps these swings happening were the reason why my trip to Deerfield did not yield the usual quantity of results.
Since I had not been back there lately, I decided to see if the bigger rainbows had moved into the area along the weedlines on the west side of the lake. Taking with my trusty size 3 Salmo Hornets to troll with in shallower water above the weeds, I also decided it might not hurt to prowl around in deeper water as well so I also made sure to include some #4’s as well, which dive down to around 10'. And you cannot go after trout without throwing some Northland Tackle Buckshot Rattle spoons at them, so I threw in my new St. Croix Trout series rod to try to break it in on some fish.
Trolling around in my inflatable pontoon, the fish action was not what I was used to. I patrolled along the 7' to 9' depths using my Sonarphone T-Pod sonar bobber, following weedlines and going over spots where weeds were near the bottom, using the #3 Hornets to go through the water at 3'-5' depths depending on how fast I had the trolling motor going, but only netted a few here and there. Likewise, casting around only resulted in 3 or 4 trout. So, I switched the #3’s for the #4’s and started looking for depths of 12'-15' to keep the 4’s near the middle to bottom third of the water column. Well the action came quick as an exclusive colored Hornet caught 3 small ones right away, so I thought I had it figured out. But then the winds really picked up and trolling around in my pontoon became harder as waves pushed me around and made depth control hard. That is probably the biggest drawback of a small pontoon - you are at the mercy of the wind if it picks up. A few small perch and rainbows were the remainder of the action until I called it quits for the morning.
Numbers-wise, it was a slower morning than normal there. Plus, the bigger trout have not moved into the area yet, which I attributed to still being a little early and the water was still warmer. But it was still a fun morning and trying some deeper diving Hornets resulted in some success and my new St. Croix rod got to bring a few fish as well. As the nights become cooler going forward, I am hopeful that the water temps will start going down despite warmer temps during the day. With any luck, the next trip up there will be the one that finds the bigger ones. Until then, ice fishing preparations are already underway for me as new gear is now being introduced to the market. Only a couple of months remain before the fun fishing starts. But the fall season is only weeks away as well so good luck out there and wet a line when you can!