One of the unsung heroes of fishing opportunity has to be our local trout ponds. I’m talking about the little puddles, you know the ones. Some have fountains, others playgrounds, walking trails, bike trails, picnic sites, spray parks, among other cool things. Many take less than 10 minutes to walk around, and on shore there are ample places to cast a line. The spots I’m thinking about are places like Leduc Pond, Cardiff Park Pond, Telegraph Pond, Beaumont Pond, among others that dot the landscape and near and far.
Trout ponds are unsung heroes.
There are plenty of little, readily accessible ponds out and about. Thanks to stocking programs these little ponds hold rainbow trout, brown trout, tiger trout, and brook trout in whatever combination. Telegraph holds browns, brookies, and rainbows, and we like to go there just to try to catch all three species in a day. Some days we do, which is very cool. While people may think little ponds equal little fish, this isn’t always the case. We often catch browns approaching 20 inches, and in some ponds, a three pound rainbow is just a ‘nice’ fish.
Colourful, abundant, and willing, trout ponds offer great fishing near and far.
But the big draw to fishing ponds is their ease of accessibility, and their plentiful trout. On many of these ponds an afternoon’s fishing effort will yield a dozen or more fish. Especially so if the day is overcast with a little breeze. The lower light and reduced visibility caused by the wind and waves will bring trout shallow where they will eat just about anything.
At our last pond a fellow fisherman was having good luck tossing bits of minis marshmallows on his hook. Other people were using pink PowerBait and doing well. For me, I prefer the absolute effectiveness of tossing a bead head nymph, like a bead head pheasant tail nymph or a bead head prince nymph and suspend it two to three feet under a small bobber. Sometimes I will put on a tiny, half inch piece of worm on the end, just to sweeten it up. I will fish the near shore areas that I see the most jumps and rarely does this rig disappoint.
A small bobber and beadhead nymph, sometimes tipped with a small piece of worm, is a great way to catch fish.
In the absence of jumping fish, I will fish places were the wind is making waves. Even if the trout are not coming to the surface, they will be hunting the shallow areas near shore under the cover of these waves. By and large I am a small bobber and bead head nymph guy until the sun goes low, or I see signs that big fish have pushed in tight and are feeding. When this happens I will try to get a strike by changing over my presentation to something bigger and meatier. What I’m really talking about are minnow imitations, and there are a number of ways to get this done.
A streamer fooled this dandy Beaumont Pond rainbow.
The first is by tying on a streamer. Small streamers that look like minnows are super effective at getting big bites. A fly rod stripping in a streamer will do the job nicely, but so too, will a spinning rod with a small bobber attached a couple feet up the line. ith the bobber and streamer I like to pop the streamer back, so the bobber actually jerks and splashes in the water, creating much attention. This racket seems to bring trout in, then they see the fly and smash it. The best place and time to fish this is when there is low light (morning, evening, cloudy) and in the waves. Do this and the number of large trout that will line up to hit your fly may surprise you.
This big brown wasn’t shy about smashing a streamer in shallow.
The other two minnow imitations I am a huge fan of are small spoons, like the Len Thompson in their smaller sizes, and floating plugs. The spoons are ideal or casting out and snap twitching them back. They cover a ton of water fast, so the lure gets in front of a lot of faces and they are excellent at drawing reaction strikes. Floating plugs, on the other hand, can be cast into the area of a feeding fish and left to float on the surface, occasionally twitched and this very low key, subtle presentation, has undone many a big trout. All trout species will smash a spoon or a plug, but if it’s big browns you are after, then these minnow imitating presentations are your must-have ticket to the show.
A frying pan full of tasty trout.
Perhaps one nice bonus to trout ponds is that you can keep fish. In Alberta most trout ponds allow a retention of five fish a day, any size, per person. This is fantastic. It means that I can take my family out; my kids can catch a few fish each and we can take home enough for a family dinner. They kids are incredibly proud to contribute, and the trout are delicious. A 12 inch filleted rainbow pan fries up into a delicious meal. Melt some butter in a hot pan, sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic salt onto the fillets, then drip in a little lemon sauce, and in a few short minutes there will be a delicious pile of fillets for all. For my family, one twelve inch trout is about right for each of us, so we try to bring home a total of four or five trout and we will cook them all up within a day or two.
Trout ponds are perfect for kids.
Trout ponds. They are low investment, easy on the pocket book, don’t cost a lot in gas or time, and the fish are willing and easy to catch. Sometimes there are big ones, most times there are plenty, and they are often ready to bite. Bring a few home and the fishing experience will be extended and delicious, where you can share your adventures and successes with friends and family. And who knows, they may be joining you on your next trip out.