Maybe we just like abuse, Dad and I. We were off again today (although I am always off just slightly) to Lake Henry in Scotland, South Dakota. We’ve had so many great fishing trips there in the past few years that we just cannot resist the urge to keep going back even though this year, we have not done so well. Dad had heard through the grapevine that today was going to be the last nice day for a short while so we opted once again, as we do nearly everyday, not to work.
It is good that Dad watches the weather to grab these good fishing days for us. I usually decide to go fishing and then as I am fishing I see what kind of day we are having whilst I fish. I know that may seem backwards but I just do not worry much about things like weather. I have extra clothes and a rain jacket. I have important things to worry about like…ah…..uh….well…..if I remember, I will be sure to let you know. I think Dad would not tolerate letting me decide which days to go fishing as he is slightly fussier about these things and just does not appreciate the wind or rain the way I do. My wife will assure you there is not the slightest measure of sanity dispensed on my part where spending time on the water is concerned.
We left Sioux Falls about 6:30 and the temperature was 43 degrees. It was a little chilly and that made us really glad we did not get up earlier to leave. By the time we reached Scotland, the temperature had risen to a comfortable 60 degrees with what we thought was about a five mph south-east wind. The average water temperature was 61 degrees which was about 8 degrees cooler than the average from 2 weeks ago. We headed straight for that same inlet creek that we took the time to discover and explore a couple weeks ago. The moss had really grown in the last couple weeks and even though Dad did catch some fish up the creek, we decided that it was probably the last trip up the creek for this year due to the growth.
Lake Henry is a different lake than what we in South Dakota are used to seeing. It is deep with steep sides that drop off quickly to the deep water. When it weeds up, it can really get thick making horizontal fishing difficult. We nearly always fish this lake vertically. The creek itself is similar to a few other inlet creeks we still fish on occasion and have fished in the past. As we got started fishing up the creek, Mutt and Jeff were kind enough to motor by and park their boat sideways effectively blocking off about the last 50 yards of the creek so we turned back after a while headed out of the creek and into the main lake. Dad still caught 5-6 fish up there and I think we both had a few bites we did not hook.
We are convinced after being out there that this wind may have been south-east on land but it was nearly straight out of the east out there on the water. It never did get real warm out there and the wind took a few degrees away from the lightly overcast sun. Out on the main lake, I finally got busy and caught three fish while getting another right to the edge of the boat before it spit the jig back at me. Everything we caught today was in the 12-14 inch range which really gets me to wondering because Lake Henry has always been good for one or two large fish nearly every time we have been here. This has not been the case this year.
A couple of years ago after a great day of fishing Lake Henry, we stopped by the local convenience store for a quick sandwich and bag of chips to quell the hunger pangs so we could get home. I noticed a “wanted” sign on the billboard. They were looking for the rascals who had vandalized the water tower in Scotland. I did tell the gal that it was atrocious with what they had done to the tower but it did look professionally done. The black and orange is completely uncalled for though. Okay, I am kidding, apparently this was done to cover up what the vandals had done so please, no hate mail. I have been on or been rooting for teams my entire life that played against the black & orange teams so cut me a little slack here.
We never keep any fish anyway so we really do fish for fun. My friends at the river get 4.8 pounds of actual walleye fillets and have spent 130 dollars for gas in the truck and boat for the weekend, 30 dollars for the campsite for two nights, another 25 dollars for food, 10 dollars for pop to drink while they fish and 20 dollars for beer to drink after they fish, 27 dollars for a fishing license that averages out to 3 dollars a trip if they go fishing nine times over the course of the summer, and the 100 dollars their wives spent in town while the guys are out on the water fishing. This makes 318 dollars for this trip alone and when you divide the 4.8 pounds of fillets by that you get a cost of 66.25 dollars per pound for those walleye fillets. We on the other hand keep nothing so when we do the math, zero divided by anything is still zero, so that means we are fishing for free. I know, if we keep doing math like that, we are sure to end up in Washington, D.C. and we would be glad to go but no doubt we will be busy fishing that day. We would, however, be glad to share a few theories with whoever would like to go in our place.
As I write this and look out the castle window to the west, I see the clouds building and it does appear our good weather is history for a little bit anyway. Life is just too short to be letting the weather dictate my schedule. My wife is unhappy about my attitude because she knows I’ll be dragging her to the river in the rain this weekend. Laundry is done, the lawn has been mowed for the week, dishes are done, I will get the house cleaned up before we leave on Friday evening so it will be a great weekend. I would go even if all those things where not done so don’t let me kid you. We can anchor in a nice quiet bay, toss a line off the back of the boat, relax, eat a few nice meals out in the middle of nowhere, and sit in the rain. I cannot think of many things better than relaxing in the cabin of the boat with a hot cup of coffee on a rainy day. My wife disagrees, silly girl!