A day at Lake Cochrane is almost always a good day. This is a gem of a lake my Dad started fishing quite a number a years ago. I have been fishing this lake with him for about a half dozen years or so now. This is 355 acres located in Deuel County about seven miles south of Gary, South Dakota. I know, I know……where is Gary, South Dakota? I could not find Gary, South Dakota with a GPS and a guide. It is north of Brookings, South Dakota, east of Brandt, South Dakota, and northeast of Toronto, South Dakota. Trust me, it is there.
This has always had some extremely clean water for a lake with so many houses around it. I would venture to say the lake is eighty percent surrounded with houses and while that usually makes a lake a bit unsightly, Lake Cochrane still looks great. This is touted as one of the cleanest lakes in South Dakota. This has a beautiful modern State Campground and there is even a swim beach. The lake is loaded with fish. There are largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, bluegills, sunfish, perch and crappie.
Because of all the houses, the weekends here make for a very busy place so we avoid it like the plague during that high traffic. Even during the week, the early afternoons see a noticeable traffic increase. We start early and because we are getting old, finish early. We are usually off the lake before 3 p.m. There were a couple others fishing today also. The one fellow we talked to said he could fish until ten and then had to be to work by noon. I am unsure what was wrong with the guy but the next time I see him, I will try to treat him as if he were a normal person.
I actually caught a fish on my second cast of the day. I then proceeded to catch nothing while the human seine net (Dad) caught so many he lost count. After he lost count, I once again got busy and soon lost count myself. Easily, between the two of us, we caught well over 50 fish today. Almost all were bass but I did catch a bluegill (that was barely bigger than the rattle trap I was using) and 4-5 small hammer handle pikes. When we are fishing we get close to the docks and frequently talk to people who are on their docks. They ask if we are catching any and when we tell them we caught 50 or so, I doubt they ever believe us. I will admit, I had at least 10-12 today that were 4-6 inches. I did not take any pictures of them though as they are extremely unimpressive and will never get me promoted to the status that Jimmy Houston enjoys.
Dad gets referred to by a few in the Bass Club as the human seine and there are more than a few that do not like fishing in the back of his boat. They have claimed he catches all the fish. He sees this as amusing and perhaps even flattering but not even my Dad can catch all the fish. There are days that I do question this but I have learned as have a few others that he does miss an occasional fish and one must be ready for these rare occasions as to not be skunked completely. He is drawn to the docks like a moth to a streetlight and if I try to fish the docks like he does, I will not get many fish. I have learned to fish other angles on these docks and the weed line outside these docks. I even fish the shade in between the docks so that I might not get out fished too bad. I am not scared to fish from the back of Dad’s boat.
Dad could have put together a 5 fish limit in the 12-14 pound range and mine may have been in the 10-12 pound range. 50 fish is still a great time and it was so nice today that not catching anything would have even been acceptable. I would have needed another topic for my blog however. We had somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 degrees all day for an air temp and the water was all in the 68-72 degree range. The wind never exceeded 5 knots but never did come from the southeast. It was more from the north for the duration of our fishing.
Honestly, it was a near perfect day. The only thing that could make a day better would be a good back rub but because I was fishing all day whilst my wife was working, I am afraid to ask. The sun, a light breeze, a boat, water, and even a huge pile of fish. You will not hear me complaining other than my hands are really sore from catching so many darned fish today. Such are the hardships of a fisherman.
If you ever need confidence in a lure, Lake Cochrane is the place to try it. If you can’t catch something on it here, throw it overboard cause it don’t work. OK maybe such measures are not really required but we try new things here from time to time because this is such a great lake.