I am not sure why it is called Footprint Lake. Maybe if I was to see this body of water from the air, it would become clear. One thing I do know, is that this small lake is absolutely full of big, hungry rainbow trout.
It was a crisp cloudy late August day when two friends and I drove into the boat launch area, just ten kilometres north of Grand Rapids off of Highway Number Six.
Once again we had the lake to ourselves, with just a loon family and one real hungry cormorant for company. Hopefully, this greedy fish eater was only after minnows in the shallows, not fingerling rainbow trout, seven thousand of which are stocked in Footprint each year.
As is usually the case on a new lake, it pays to cover some water to find out what area of the lake the fish are feeding. On this day though, we never got the boat out of the south end of the lake. Trolling back and forth in front of a huge weed bed was all that was needed as one rainbow after another took turns attacking our lures. Friends Dan MaCrae and Jim Price had on small silver two inch original floating Rapalas tied with a swivel on eight pound monofilament line. On more than one occasion both were down to the last few feet of line on their spools as big rainbows smoked line and broke the surface of the lake with acrobatic leaps that pumped adrenaline to a new level.
I had full sink line on my eight weight fly rod to get the combination of flies I was using down a couple of feet on the troll. When the boat slowed or when Jim or Dan had a fish on, I would quickly strip my line in and cast to the side or in front. One time, the quick strip solicited a vicious hit from a big fish that liked the change in speed. On another cast with the boat stopped, a huge rainbow smashed my olive damsel ten feet from the boat. This twenty two inch fish took a bee line south, then north, making sure that I had use all nineteen feet of Jim’s boat to fight it. Now that’s my definition of fun!
When all the smoke had cleared we caught and released six master angler rainbow in five hours of fishing. Dan had the biggest fish, a bright shiny twenty four inch trophy. This, by the way, didn’t come close to some of the other monsters we saw in the lake, huge fish pushing the thirty inch envelope with massive girths.
In fact, according to fisheries personnel, a twenty-four inch fish is only two years old while those big boys are the three year olds.
Footprint is a shallow lake, twelve feet at the deepest and is subject to winter kill. Fortunately for the last five years, this has not happened, thus producing some huge trout that are waiting a visit from you. They can be caught a variety of different ways and even a novice angler should be able to trick a fish or two into biting on this particular lake. Just for the record, we kept a couple of smaller rainbow for the table. Unfortunately these fish were full of parasites, making them all but inedible. Catch and release is the way to go on this body of water.
Labels: great rainbow action