Mohair, Mountain Lakes and Morenski 

 Bob Sheedy's tongue-in-cheek rendition of a day on the water

It's a wee ways to the end of Laurie...


"If you guys hate each other so much, why do you fish together?"

 I always enjoy fishing with my bud, Bob Morenski. There are times when others probably wouldn't believe it.

The shore-based angler at Gull Lake had been listening to Bob M and I preparing our equipment for a day on the water. We were having what, for us, is a normal conversation, which of course is loud enough for the poor gentleman to overhear. Pretty much anything else that was born with ears and was in the immediate region probably eavesdropped as well. It's not that we're loud. I'm deaf, so properly registering an insult takes a little volume. Such maledictions usually encompass my fishing ability, general profile when struggling into neoprenes, and penchant for acquiring ancient Volkswagans.

 Not being able to hear well, I miss a lot, so I too may have been guilty of a few derogatory remarks as well, but nothing provable. In any case, it was merely a normal conversation —normal for us, not normal for normal people.

 I mean after all, we spend most of our time arguing over our angling status. Of course, I hold Trout Bum status. Morenski? He's just a bum. No job. No ambition. No cares other than the next fish.

 I think people outside the trout bum realm term it 'retirement', whatever that is.

 And he never wants to fish the lakes that I do.

 I want to fish Spear and see what's left in it. He wants to fish West Goose. I want to fish Tokaryk and see how bad the winter kill was. He wants to fish Patterson.

 Why do people always want to fish where they know they'll catch fish? It's so last week!

 Then he has this perverse love affair with Laurie Lake in the Ducks. So I traded him a day on Gull with a promise to fish Laurie the next day. Only I knew that the next day would be rainy. Poor Bob doesn’t have Internet or TV in his camper. Snark. Snark.

 Gull was less than auspicious that trip. Didn’t hardly approach the successes of our 2005 jaunts but I had a pleasant day, presenting my single chironomid to smaller fish. {mental note to tie one more}.

After about my third rendition of "Blue Moon", Bob withdrew a considerable distance but he didn’t turn up much either. He can't sing. Not like me. Plus he doesn't appreciate really good singing.

 After few smaller Gull Lake fish, Laurie Lake began to take on appeal.

 The high-pitched nasal whining about Laurie reached newer heights that night, so I kept my promise to hit it with him. We prepared well. Extra batteries (Well--Bob had two) and crunched the gravel at Laurie just after daybreak. There was the usual griping about having so flaming much equipment and the usual, "Remember the good ole days, when we just grabbed our bamboo rods and match-box full of flies and headed for the shore?"

That drew the usual comment in return. "For all the flies you tie, Sheedy, they'd still fit in the same matchbox."




 Since we're both getting old and we never know which trip will be our last, we took a group photo before setting out. 

Well, maybe two people aren't a exactly group, but it sounded like a crowd. Camera on tripod, self-timer set and the usual flop of the tripod just as the shutter clicks.

You know?

Normal. Normal for us — not normal for normal people.



Now, everyone knows that the best fishing is at the furthest end of the lake. It must be because everyone always goes there. So following tradition we vowed to hit it.

On Laurie, that obviously-productive end zone is a wee ways off -- sort of like playing against the New England Patriots  and their goal line ... 

Quite wee ... and a li'l bit  after that






Of course, we had stopping points on the way down. I had a hit off my usual Island spot that made a promise for a good day. And there was the rocky reef where the southern islands begin. I knew the rocks would attract the browns who'd hunt of crayfish. I nailed browns there a couple of years ago, or was it three? No matter. It's a hot spot. A true honey-hole. So, while Bob beat the shallows, I worked the reef, knowing I'd hook up with a large brown at any moment.




Turned out to be a long moment but I saw a snow goose on the small island and decided to photograph it. That meant actually landing and getting unraveled from my 'Toon. When I realized it couldn’t fly I decided to determine it's condition.

I discovered it had a broken wing and had come to the island knowing by instinct it would become fertilizer on the mainland.

I left it alone and went back to fishing.

I'm easily distracted by the surrounding environment and the fish were in the lake, not on the island.


At that point the gulls decided to attack. Now, I know what the white stuff was splashed all over the island. I decided to leave my honey-hole for safer areas with less falling AND WELL-AIMED whitewash.

 Bob had set out for the south end of the lake so I meandered down until I hit the last narrows between south peninsula and the last island. There I saw a rise!

 A big rise!

And another!

 Therefore, I headed over and found it to be twenty feet deep so I fished the bottom, changed flies and continued the process. I fished the top and changed flies until Bob came back, fishless. I decided to climb out onto the island and explore a little. I decided the fire pits on the island were more recent than the formation of Rupertsland. Disappointed, I decided to eat some lunch and offer many magnanimous suggestions to Bob who hovered about, practicing his casting.

I mean after all, I was top rod.

  I'd seen a rise.

 Now I also saw clouds gathering. My promised rainy day was about to bite me and my prior scheming where the sun doesn't shine.

 The great thing about Laurie is your ability to watch the rain sweep in. There's like this line that marches across that vast watery expanse and you can calculate when the rain and wind will arrive—right to the second. Then you put ye olde motor on one, run with the waves and buck while droplets the size of dimes beat on your back, form rivulets on the end of your nose and make you wish you'd taken up lawn bowling.

 Fortunately, it didn't last, but the chop remained. We decided to cross the lake and fish the west shore.


Because it was there and we'd never fished it before. So we turned the motors onto 5 and headed over, enjoying another good spring dowsing of ultra-cold rain.
We fished that shore, not in close, but in a sensible depth, between 8 to 15 feet, where lakers lurk in the spring. The ploy worked well. We made it all the way down to the East Bay at the north end where I'd caught lakers before. And we only had three more drenchings on the way!

 You know, the nice thing about lawn bowling is that you can just go into the clubhouse if it rains. And you can enjoy tea, crumpets, and those nice little dainties you can grab by the handful when no one is looking. And they all wear those nice white clothes—togs I think they call them. You don’t have to munch soggy pastrami sandwiches and drown inside a raincoat that should have been thrown out two decades ago. (Come to think of it that's how I got it.).

We bounced and rode the swell and cast into the wind and down the wind and across the wind until we hit the end of the Bay. My battery croaked but Bob had only ran one of his two down half. After only mild begging and considerable groveling, we went to the nearest beach where one didn’t become clay-bound and changed.

 Then --- Bob ruined the entire day by catching a fish. Just when we'd reached the point where neither of us would ever set fin on Laurie again, he had to go and catch a lousy lake trout. Can you imagine the gall! 

"Cut the line!" I yelled into the wind and rain.

But no, he had to land the thing and I had to maneuver through the roiled crests to take a photo in a more sheltered area. Some of my better griping of the day took place at that moment…

 Well, even the blind monkey sometimes finds the banana.

 So after putting in another hour of wave beating we repaired to the main point at the north end of Laurie. I call it Komodo Dragon point, since there's a hunk of driftwood that looks like the real critter. It was rather shallow water at the point but right away we began to get some tentative takes.

I even had one!

Then another!

 No hookups, but we'd found action. And rain! And wind!

Now we could watch the rain bands sweep the full length of the lake  where we just left and now we could burn more battery while attempting to hold position. By now, it was getting difficult to tell where the air stopped and the lake began. After the fourth giant splake swam by ... above my head ... we decided it was time to let the wind take us back to the launch site and call it a day.

Now at this point I must reveal the secret for fishing Laurie Lake.

 I actually have caught fish there — in fact many fish and long ago worked out the fly patterns. They are all in myTop Fifty book  – Pheasant tailed crayfish, Beaver Black and Tan and marabou muddlers. Throw in a Tokaryk Special or ten and a few Olive woolly buggers, fish around the island, the reef and a few other sunken ledges and you can't go wrong. Laurie is a great water, seldom fished by fly-chuckers but attracting abundant fly trollers.

 As the day went we soon ran across SUCH an avid troller, heading out as the rain slowed and we were  ... eventually ... nearing the landing.

  Now this guy was doing everything wrong!

He was trolling with floating fly lines, in three feet of water, tight to the shore and at a rate with his gasoline motor that would challenge the number 5 setting on my 46lb. thrust electric.


"Great!", he crowed. "My brother caught four lakers already and I just caught a big brown!"

 (Urge to make a 75-foot cast and deprive him of his rain hat. Fortunately for him, I hide my casting talents well)


 "Looking for a deal on some lawn-bowling balls."


Gasoline motors are very noisy.

 "Never mind. What'reyousing?"

 "It's a woolly bugger."

Unusual. There are only about 14,000 known WB designs ... 


 "Yellow chenille body, red hackle and an olive tail. Hey, for ten bucks I'll tie you up a couple?"

"No thanks. My stuff has been pretty consistent all day long …'

 Now I do tie flies -- despite Morenski's opinions.

I actually carry quite a few and stow them in plastic bags throughout my person, my vest, my "saddle bags" and sometimes drying on my hat. There's quite an assortment, in spite of what my "friends" say. (Morenski claims I tied my last fly in '86).

It makes for a good talking point, so I choose not to disturb history.

But on this day there was one thing I knew I didn’t have. I possessed nary  a yellow bodied woolly bugger with a red hackle and an olive tail. Still, I decided to snoop through various bags until I "youst about ran 'er aground" on the cement launch ramp.

 No, I knew I had nothing like that but over the past few years I've been blending fur, mohair and a few other materials into some very effective flies. So I tied on a mohair-slash-fur-slash not-so secret other material and flung it onto a clean area of bottom right at the base of the cement while I tucked away my favorite zip-lock fly box. I turned my attention back to the matter at hand, prepared to cast out into deeper water, when I noticed my line sizzling through the water. I grabbed the rod just in time and set the hook before watching about a ten-pound laker jump clean from the water and speed away.

 Bob turned at the splash and asked, "What was that?"

"Big ole laker."

 He went back to working the other side of the cement. Something about butterfingers …  muttering something about an American chocolate bar?

He's strange!

I tied another cast, this time into shallow water.

The retrieve just stopped. Then reversed with that spongy, head-shaking GIDDY feeling one gets that tells you, "Hey stupid. It's time to head for deeper water!"

"Stupid" went out as fast the fish would cooperate and after a bit the finned-critter weakened. Bob came for pix. Soon he left with one of the mohair flies clutched in his mitt. (Yes, I know I broke angler's protocol by not making him beg but, hey, the guy shared half a battery with me.

(No doubt stirred to pity by certain ugly muffled earlier threats).


Within moments, Bob hooked a 24-inch splake and demanded photographs

The weather didn’t look like it would improve and we were both down to mere electrons so we decided to pack it in.

 Our tormenters returned, having hooked a 22-inch Brown. This time we held bragging rights and photos to prove them, but we refrained from showing off.

 Instead, I asked to see the nebulous fly and verified its design. I think Bob actually tied some of them later.

 One look told me why the mohair worked so well. My starting mohair is Mike Andreasen's California Leech dub before I bastardize it to get the color and material blend I want. It didn’t take much imagination to see his red hackle rippling while pressed back against the other colors. Curiously, we fished the mohair slowly while he whipped his along —briskly—very, very briskly.

The mohair isn't any special color. It's spectrumized, a collection of colors and materials that have excellent properties and would be suggestive of many things in the water. Stickle-backs, leeches or even a crayfish if retrieved in the proper manner.

 Lessons learned on Laurie? In the Spring? When the fish are in the shallows? Apparently VERY shallow?


 I need a new raincoat.


 The farthest end of the lake IS the best. We just had to come back to it.


Always fish in 8 to 15 feet of water--except when the fish are in one foot of water column.


 Always fish with known and proven fly patterns—except when the bottom baggy has the special mohair leech/minnow/crayfish/daphnia cluster--ad. infinitum.


Watch the signs in nature to read the water. Boats trolling at high speed in very shallow water are a good sign.


 Ignore those fish feeding at the launch site. They are an mental aberration.

 All three of them.

horizontal rule