I have fished all over the world and would/ will do it again. But not since my childhood river have I enjoyed a body of water as much as my beloved Eagle Mountain Lake. Until this year I was only keen to a few of her hidden points to either fish from the bank or set trot lines from my canoe. She taught me how to trot line which had been a childhood goal of which I learned quick and had a great amount of enjoyment doing.
This year however we reached a point in life where a boat became part of the family. With this boat the secrets and treasures of the lake have opened way up and we are learning new techniques to keep entertained. I have developed a style of jugging that I have found enjoyable and amazingly productive. There is just something primitive and comforting in pulling up the line to see a large catfish stare at you then the arm wrestling begins.
I have been invited to go to other lakes and try my luck with the catfish but for some reason my loyalties are with my lake, Location, quality of fish and sufficient numbers to keep me entertained. I have learned there are major differences in the habits and preferred habitat of the 2 main species in the lake. Channel cat swim in schools and travel around the 10 feet and under areas. They also seem to hang around structure and Rocky areas for the smaller ones. The Blues vary in depths depending on their current predatory endeavor such as cruising in the deep and coming across something occasionally or chasing after the shad at the surface. Usually above the mud or sandy flats.
The catfish in this lake are not timid or sluggish. Once the hook is set they fight every bit as hard as any fish I have caught in their weight class and once they get to about 5 lbs or over they fight as hard and fast as any Chinook Salmon I have caught as a kid. There have not been any recent stocking of catfish in Eagle Mountain so the current fish are self sustaining as a population which as a bit of a conservationist (not tree hugger) I find a comfort in so only harvest what I will eat.
My favorite time to hit the lake so far this year is just before sunrise and watch the world come to life. There is a lull in activity just before the dawn. The lake falls silent as the night life is putting itself to rest and the day life is about to break loose with the first rays of the sun. Occasionally a bird will sound out during this time seeming out of sync with the world in an eerie yet melancholy trance but starts a rhythm slowly, like a light symbol tempo for the symphony of life about to explode as the sun begins its rise on the day. Kind of like waking to the door bell and finding a good friend you haven't seen for a long time on the other side.
Sunrise is over 16 hours away and I am chomping at the bit to see my good friend again. Are you lucky enough to have a body of water you consider as a friend? Please share it with the rest of us.