One of the downsides to urban shore fishing is new developments. I have lost many a good spot to privatization of previously public or undeveloped land, usually having access points cut off, or due to policy changes. At other times, parks that previously tolerated fishing, decide to ban or enforce no fishing rules.
As ice was thawing last week, I headed out on my bike to scout one of the early season spots where I practice sight fishing for carp. Unlike the euro methods I normally use in big waters, where I attract carp to my baited lines, sight fishing is a bit different as I visually spot schools of early season carp warming up and feeding in the shallow clear waters.
A stealthy approach is crucial, to avoid spooking the carp. Once I've spotted my targets, I present them a simple hook baited with a few corn kernels directly on the hook, with very little or no weight at all added to the line. Casting light braid on a small bass rod, the smaller carp at this given spot have given my some nice battles over the seasons.
This particular spot was Lac Des Cygnes in Parc Jean Drapeau. As small man made lake dating from Expo 67, it has a large number of small carp, mainly in the 4-6 lbs range, though I've caught them up to about 9-10 lbs in the past there. The lake was still partially covered in ice, but I noticed that the parc completely wiped out the marsh area and creeks running into the lake, as they have decided to build some sort of amphitheatre over the marsh. The creek was once filled with carp, bass, sunfish and rock bass, not to mention all sorts of birds and other wildlife. Sadly, this it what it now looks like.
Oh well, at least I still had the lake to fish in, or so I thought...
I arrived this morning, lake had no more ice on it. Spending a good 20 minutes scouting, I pinpointed 4 separate schools of carp that were on the feed. As most of them spook once you catch the first carp, may plan was to try landing one from each school, and then bike home for lunch.
Just as I took my first cast, a fox came into the adjacent clearing to nurse her pups.
As I was snapping pics of the fox, my line takes off, I start fighting a small carp, all while watching the fox's reaction. It seemed a bit startled at first, I doubt it's ever seen anyone fight a fish before, as I've never encountered anyone else fishing there, being that the lake is only accessible by bike or a 15-20 minute walk from closest parking lot.
Snapped a pic of the carp just before landing it.
Moved down a good 100 feet or so down the bank, and caught my second carp within less than 5 minutes.
Moved to my third spot, cat the line, and immediately saw a couple carp showing interest in my bait. Next thing I know, a security guard from Park Jean Drapeau pulls up, and tells me that fishing is forbidden on Lac Des Cygnes. Apparently, fishing there has never been allowed, and I've been getting away with it for years. OK, not the end of the world, I have plenty of other spots to fish, although I really did enjoy the workout of biking to St Helen's Island from my home to fish it for a couple hours at a time.
I suggested that they put signs up letting people know that fishing is forbidden there, to avoid this sort of thing in the future. What I got, was probably one of the stupidest answers I've heard, she tells me they don't want to put up signs to avoid "VISUAL POLLUTION".
Now that's where I drew the line. I pointed out the nice marsh that was recently destroyed with all the new construction.
I then pointed out debris that's been in the lake ever since I started fishing it many years ago.
I then proceeded to point out all the garbage along the shore, cans, bottles, cups, wrappers, eetc.
I then asked her, "what about all this VISUAL POLLUTION"?
Another idiotic reply from her, "that's the way it is."
No sense in arguing with her attitude, I packed up and left.
I'll miss fishing there.