We all have our favorite fish. The one we just love so much, we couldn’t live without catching it. Our “Desert Island” species, if you will.
For me, that fish is the largemouth bass. Ever since I was a little kid, bucket mouths have held a special place in my heart. So one of my favorite moments every season is catching the first “green fish” of the year. It usually happens in late March or early April, depending on weather and water conditions.
This year, it happened at one of my favorite bass lakes. On a weeknight after work, my trusty pup Winston, my buddy Caleb and I were the only living souls on the water, which is always a great feeling. My partner had already bagged his first green fish at Owyhee Reservoir, but I was still on the hunt.
Like everywhere else, our fishing hole was running extremely high, murky and cold. I didn’t have a thermometer on me, but I’d guess the water temp was in the mid-40s. I went nearly two hours without a bite, despite throwing all my favorite bass lures.
These fish just weren’t quite ready to chow down yet.
We hiked around the entire lake, battling wind and flooded banks that rendered many spots inaccessible. The sun was chasing the horizon too quickly for my liking, but I was determined to lock horns with a bass before nightfall.
And then, it happened. The telltale bump. Then another. The bite was slower and more cautious than a midsummer freight-train strike, but still unmistakable. I waited for the third bump, and set the hook.
Green fish on!
In July, this guy would have been just another run-of-the-mill 12-incher. But on this April evening, he was a beautiful sight for sore eyes.
“Looks like I’m only catching big ones this year,” I yelled. I could barely keep a straight face as the words came out. Even Winston seemed unimpressed, but I didn’t care. I finally had a bass on the board—hopefully the first of many to come in 2017.
So what’s your “Desert Island” fish? The silvery and delicious kokanee? The powerful, ocean-run steelhead? Maybe even the rare and toothy walleye? Whatever your favorite is, I hope you have a chance to get out and catch it soon.
There’s no question fishing has been tough this spring, and it’s hard to say when our luck will change with all this rain and runoff. But in the meantime, all we anglers can do is keep giving it our best effort in hopes for those little moments that make it all worth it — like catching a picture-perfect, foot-long largemouth on a blustery Tuesday night.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.