Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Perhaps the hardest lake for me to fish on the Kenai Peninsula is Hidden Lake. I have invested at least ten days of my life fishing there and have only one lake trout to show for my efforts. This year I once again ventured out to the lake to try and land one of the trophy lake trout this lake is famous for. My son Travis and I had real good success this year on Kenai Lake and thought we were ready for some action on the big lake. After all a lake trout is a lake trout right?

Our first day we fished in 50 feet of water for hours, we had two tip-ups out with a lake trout head on one and hooligan on the other one. Travis and I also jigged with both spoons and jigs in our shack with no luck at all, not even a bite.

Since lake trout spawn in the spring and spring is not that far away I thought maybe just maybe some pregnant female there might be looking for something rather exotic. You know about all the cravings pregnant women have for certain foods, why not try this on fish?

I decided we needed to try something weird or exotic the next day so I brought along some salted pike, well actually it was suppose to be pickled pike but it never turned out right so I decided to try a chunk of that just in case some lake trout had a craving for salted pike. Well guess what happened as soon as I lowered the salted pike to the bottom and set the tip-up about 6 inches off bottom? Your right, nothing, absolutely nothing, they never even looked at it let alone bite on the salted pike. So much for the exotic food theory on these finicky non-biting trout as neither the females nor males were interested.

My next attempt was to try and reconstruct a fish out of scraps to use on one of my tip-ups. I took the tail off a kokanee and the head of a small lake trout and used hog rings to fasten the backbones together then I wrapped the bones in lake trout skin and stuffed it full of rib bones and other fish waste. I was unable to find a needle and thread to sew this creature back together and my veterinarian wife was not home to help me so I simply used the hog rings to complete the job.

I proudly held up my newly constructed fish for 12-year-old daughter Alea to look at and asked her what she thought about it? Alea looked at me and said “Dad that is absolutely disgusting, go throw it away!” I took the beautiful lake-a-knee fish out and put it in my bait refrigerator waiting to try it on Hidden Lake the next day. I also mumbled to myself that Alea would think differently when we came home with a huge lake trout caught on my lake-a-knee reconstructed fish.

The next day I was walking from my truck to my tip-up with the lake-a-knee fish in my hand and Travis hollered “Dad look above you!” I looked up and there were two eagles no further than ten feet above me and they were looking at my reconstructed fish! Great I thought. I fooled the eagles and now I am going to fool me a lake trout.

I ran the 50lb test braided line through the mouth of the fish out the gills and then hooked it in the middle. The line going through the mouth held the head up and made it look more real. I then lowered the fish down near the bottom of 50 foot of water. I set the tip-up and returned to the fishing shack to try jigging for a lake trout there. Every few minutes I glanced out the window hoping to see the orange flag in the air signaling that I finally had a lake trout on my lake-a-knee fish. Several hours went by and nothing, not one bite all day.

Travis and I loaded up and headed home with only one kokanee to show from Hidden Lake in two days of fishing. Two days of fishing on a lake we had to put chains on to get to and basically no fish...

We spent the next two days on Kenai Lake fishing and caught almost 30 fish. I really don’t understand why fishing is so difficult on Hidden Lake compared to other lakes in the area. I realize that they have clear water and it is much easier for the fish to see baitfish to eat than some lakes. I also know that a large percentage of the successful fishermen on Hidden Lake use live bait illegally and that it is an on-going battle there with the wardens trying to catch those using live bait. Yet I have never used live bait on any of the other lakes either and I fish and catch a lot of fish there. It just bewilders me to try and figure out why I do so terrible on Hidden Lake.

Maybe if I had used the tail off the whitefish instead of the Kokanee I would have tricked a lake trout into biting but then I would have had too hard of a time naming the fish!

See you next week!

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