Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fishing Otter Tail County -- A Photo Essay, Part II

Fishing Otter Tail County -- A Photo Essay, Part II

Wherein your Intrepid Blogger Runs and Hides from Bad Weather in Northern Wisconsin to take Refuge with his In-Laws on Lake Otter Tail, Minnesota

Part II

We hit the water the next day around noon. Otter Tail Lake is connected to a number of smaller lakes by the Otter Tail River, which itself is full of fish. We decided to try some different water to see what we could get.

Another beautiful day in Otter Tail County.

We decided to hit the reeds to see if we could get some bass.

What we discovered were some really, really huge sunfish deep in the reeds. Fishing them with a fly rod was a real challenge, especially with a four pound test tippet and a 7 foot 3/4 weight bamboo rod.

The reeds were full of huge sunfish, like this beautiful 8" tank. It was twice as thick as a normal sunny.

We had a ton of fun plucking big sunfish from the reeds, but ultimately this kind of fishing is frustrating as you continually cut off flies and bass bugs in the weeds, and foul 2 out of every 3 casts. So we headed out to open water.

Fishing partner Marc H. showing off his Punkinseed.

The daughter did not regret changing to a beetle spin.

Close up of the beautiful freshwater piranha--the Punkinseed.

A proud, proud papa.

Ultimately, however, we were after bass--and not just bass on any old lure, but on my latest batch of "jointed bass bugs." Fortunately it was not too long until I was on to my first largemouth of the day.

A nine inch largemouth -- nothing to write home about but fun on a fly rod.

I knew there were big bass out there, we just had to find them...

Well, a 12 inch bass is 25% better, and fun on a 3/4 weigh bamboo.

We caught a number of largemouth between 8" and 13" in length. But nothing big, until...

BAM. On a yellow "jointed bass bug" I hooked a beauty. I had thrown out about 50 feet of line right under a dock, and WHAM it was as if someone dropped a bowling ball in the water. A huge splash, an instinctive strike, and I had a hook up.

What then? A 3/4 weight fly rod is a fairy wand, and a four pound tippet very easy to break. Factor in the heavy weed cover, and after two launchings out of the water, the bass decided to go deep. Patience was the order of the day. Six or seven minutes later and I managed to get the fish next to the boat...some slick net work by my friend Marc H. and the bass was in the boat!

A 17-inch largemouth bass on a seven foot bamboo fly rod and a "jointed bass bug" in yellow! THIS is why we fish.

Could not have been more fun. The daughter lands over 50 big sunfish and crappie, Marc H. and myself boat a hundred sunfish, crappie, bass, and pike. What a day on the water! By the way, we kept NO fish during this trip as all the fish were returned to fight another day.

We return to the dock to find the home fires burning.

A campfire and smores. Nothing better.

Except Mother Nature's wonderful light display.

We call an evening to a memorable day on Otter Tail Lake.

-- Dr. Todd

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