Staring at this fish finder today, sitting on about 12 inches of ice. Brewer and I are on Hyalite Reservoir hunkered down in his shanty catching Cutthroat and Brook trout. When we got here the ice was clear of snow, now at least a couple inches blanket the reservoir. And it’s still snowing hard. I always wanted to do this- sit in a shanty and catch fish during a blizzard. I’m just hoping the canyon road isn’t too bad on the way out. But the action is too good to worry about that now. We are tucked back in a small cove, trying our best to avoid the severe wind. You know it’s storming pretty hard when your pockets start to fill up with snow the second you step outside the hut…
My tip-up is drifted in about half of foot of snow already so we decide we’d better go get it and bring it inside. If we leave it out any longer we’re not going to be able to find it. As I’m breaking the ice in the hole, I notice the pin spinning. Brewer we got a fish on over here! I get the line in my hands and wait to see if I felt any movement. O yea. With a firm tug in the opposite direction of the fish I set the hook on a little Brookie. Sneaky guy didn’t even trip the flag. Always check your tip-ups!
Back in the hut, and on the screen of the fish finder you can clearly see the bottom of the lake, right around 12 feet. Unlike Daily, this reservoir is a lot easier to navigate and find the depth we are looking for. I haven’t seen a single weed on the screen today, just fish. My jig is bouncing up and down a few feet from the bottom. Brookies are normally coming in from above my jig, the marks are around seven or eight feet when they first show up. The larger cutthroat that we have gotten have all come straight up off the bottom.
A big mark is coming up to my jig on the fish finder- “Stand up and see if you can see down there,” Brewer Tells me.
Sure enough, about 10 ft down the hole in the ice I can see my bright chartreuse jig head and minnow dancing along. It takes a second for my eyes to adjust, but then I see a flash, a good fish turning back around to hit my jig. “Oh, fish, fish, good Cutty I think.” I’m watching this fish aggressively dart back and forth like a shark, charging at my lure, but missing a few times. I’m holding the rod still, hoping the fish turns back again and nails me. I’m still getting the mark on my fish finder, but I can’t see him down there… Smack! Like a silver bullet I see this fish full speed annihilate my tiny gummy jig. I did not expect to be having this much fun out here today. These trout are coming in packs, and every few minutes we are getting a wave of fish and we both hook up.
My neck is starting to hurt from staring down my hole for hours straight. Or maybe it is from sitting hunched over on this damn bucket. Why didn’t I bring the chair? It’s still snowing as hard as when it first started. Close to a foot or so it feels like. The fishing on the other hand has sort of died off throughout the afternoon. Instead of waiting 5-10 minutes for a group of fish to push in we are waiting closer to 20 or 30 minutes. And each minute we wait, the trek back across the lake gets harder and harder. Time to call it.0