It was December 27th 2011 in WNY on Quaker Lake, located in the Allegheny State Park. Any other year we would have been standing on a thick layer of ice with a spread of tip-ups and shanties surrounding us. But this particular year was the ninth hottest year ever recorded. This allowed me and my fishing associate Kane Smith to have one of the best fishing experiences of our young fishing careers. We got an early start with the 15ft john boat on the lake that day. We paddled in from the south end, following a weed edge and various drop offs. It wasn’t until we stopped paddling and allowed the boat to slowly drift back to the south end of the lake due to the slight broadside wind that we started catching fish. The first fish of the day was a large 40 inch northern pike. I caught this fish off a weed edge near some downed structure in the middle of the lake. The fish was surprisingly lethargic due to the waters cold temperature, almost as if I was pulling up a line through the ice. Although, I soon after landed a small 2 to 3 pound energetic large mouth using the same technique. So after this quick burst of excitement the bite seemed to disappear. This lack of activity allowed us to drift toward a small island where we decided to beach the boat and cook our lunch. During this time the sun emerged from behind the cloudy day that was upon us. The sun didn’t stay out for long, maybe for about 30 minutes. Although, this was just enough time for us to locate a very active school of rainbow trout off the north point of the island. We could jus see constant flaps of tails and fish as the sun pressed on the water. So of course we discontinued all prior activities and grabbed our poles from the boat and went in to attack mode. Kane made the first cast and retrieve claiming to have had a bite on the way in. So I take my first cast with a slight doubt in my mind that he had even had a bite, but to my surprise I felt a slam and heard the drag zing on my pole. As I watched this 28 inch rainbow fly out of the water numerous times displaying its incredible acrobatic ability I was simply just immersed in its power and beauty. Once we successfully landed it with the net on shore and decided that it was a keepable fish we heard the flop of tails and seen the fish jumping still. So I rushed and got my fish back to the boat, by that time Kane was calling for the net already. So I rushed back and to my surprise was another huge rainbow trout, not as big as the first but there was more to come from Kane. He eventually ended up landing three rainbows all over 25 inches and his largest being a solid 28! Both of our fish were 8lbs and will be hanging on our walls come this summer. Unfortunately I missed on two more huge rainbows that I hooked into but I couldn’t complain because of my earliar success with the pike. So all and all this will be a day that me and my associate will never forget, nor would we want to and of course we will forever hold on to the photos and videos of this day.
Species: Rainbow Trout/Steelhead
Date Caught: 12/27/2011
Kept / Released: Kept
Region of Catch: Region 1
Lure / Bait used: Lure | swim bait