Smalley is busy ... catching fish that is

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“If you’re too busy to go fishing, you are too busy!”

Remember that sign? It hung for years in The Place restaurant and, more recently, in the Great Northern Bar, both in Whitefish.

Well, after too many days of lawn chores, one sunny afternoon last week reminded me I was too busy, so I went fishing.

Early Wednesday afternoon I launched my personal pontoon on the calm water of Beaver Lake.

Thinking trout might prefer warmer, shallow water, I kicked around the shallows casting a peacock-herl bodied dragonfly nymph.

Almost immediately I was greeted by a curious loon. Within 10 minutes I caught a foot-long rainbow trout.

Life was good. For 15 minutes. Until those black clouds showed up, the wind shifted to the north and I was fighting whitecaps just to get back to the boat ramp.

On water time — less than a half hour!

Undaunted, I drove to Rogers Lake the next afternoon. The lake was white-capping. I put on hip boots and helped some guys put their boat back on the trailer.

Then I sat in the truck and waited out the squall.

Within a half hour the wind died, the sun came out, and I started casting a size 12 Red-Assed Partridge on a slow-sink line.

First cast, first fish! A 12-inch grayling.

Then another. Then another. Then another.

Every cast was a bite. Mostly grayling, but an occasional fat and feisty cutthroat trout.

When the wind totally died, I could stand up and watch the fish swimming in shallow water and target individual fish.

More than once I thought, “I HAD been too busy!”

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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