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My first introduction to fishing was with my dad fishing for Northern Pike. He called them 'Jackfish' which is one of the names that Esox lucius goes by. Even though I have caught many Pike through the years I have never really targeted them as a species. My PB is only 9lb, with countless fish in the 6lb to 8lb range. This year I was intending to spend most of my efforts on Trout, Brown in particular, with a few trips for Carp and Chinook Salmon. Pike werent on the 'A' list.
My hopes for getting a few decent sized Rainbow this season have been dealt a bit of a blow. Muir lake, which is a short drive from me, has had a major winter kill. The Trout trophy lake won't be one for anglers to visit this year The new oxygen aerators didn't function as expected during the winter, and several Alberta lakes were affected, Muir among them. With opening day happening , and no real plans to hit an alternate lake, I decided to try Matchayaw Lake (Devils Lake) in the hope to land some Northerns.
On arrival at Matchayaw it was a bit of a zoo, with the car park full, and several trucks/boat trailers out on the road. I launched my aluminum boat with no issue after a short wait for the launch to be free. I turned the tiller handle on my little electric motor and started off across the lake to a shallow area on the opposite side of the lake. Even though I have caught more small pike than I can count, I have never landed one into double figures. With the prospect of regularly targeting trout off the table I have decided to remedy that with a double figure pike before winter comes around again .
Pike spawn in the spring, shortly after the ice has melted. Winter in Alberta was particularly mild during the 2015/2016 season - and I am not sure how that will have affected when the actual spawning would have occurred this year, and what that might do to early season fishing. The weather on opening day was around 21C with light wind coming from the West. This meant that the wind was coming over the shallow area on the opposite side of the lake, but I wanted to try there first as I suspected any post spawn fish would be in the shallows. In addition, this side of the lake had a lot of reeds extending out from the bank, and a good amount of weed for the fish to wait in ambush.
I have always been a fan of an Albertan tackle manufacturer - Len Thompson.
My dad wasn't overly into fishing, even though he introduced me to the sport. More often than not he was using a 'Red Devil' or a '5 of Diamonds' made by Len Thompson. Since then, my tackle box has always had these among my other lures. I set up my rig with a 5 of diamonds spoon and worked an area near the reeds. It was a little tough as I had 'lost' my boat anchor the previous season (longer story!). The breeze was gradually blowing me away from my chosen spots, and I was re-engaging the little electric every now and then.
I switched to a Red Devil (on Devils lake - thought that was appropriate!).
It was only my third cast when I locked onto the first fish of the day. It was promptly netted, quick photo, and released. It was small - only 2lb, but at least I wasn't going to be 'skunked' on the first trip out. I had a couple of other takes that were not very aggressive, and I didnt manage to set the hook.
It was a couple of hours in when I hooked up with what was probably into the doubles. The fish pulled hard on the first two runs, and shortly after it was shaking it's head when the hook pulled. Was a disappointment, as this fish would have probably been my PB. Was a fun day to kick the season off. Hoping to travel to Obed and Talbot lake for May long weekend.
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