Tiger trout, a unique hybrid of a brook trout and a brown trout, are a very rare find in the wild. However, the strange mix is commonly stocked in ponds and reservoirs in the Catskills, where they can grow to 5-6 pounds or more. Distinguished by their odd looking, worm-like vermiculations, tigers are known as voracious predators. In recent years, there have been several naturally spawned specimens of the tiger trout taken on the Chubb River near Lake Placid. The fish in the photo is on display at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, where many native Adirondack fish species reside inside a huge aquarium.
I replaced the hooks on most of my lures, and changed all of the stock treble hooks with new, red colored, offset trebles. I even took the time to burnish the spoons with fine grit emery cloth and steel wool. It’s amazing how good they look with no rust, crud or dried weeds.
After sorting through a big pile of spoons and wabblers, I used some steel wool to polish the old wabblers, Hinkleys and Suttons into a big pile of shiny bright tackle. I even tried spraying a few of the brass and copper finished spoons with a clear acrylic finish.
Of course, I also left a good bit of the pile in the original condition. Fourteen inches of ice is not going to disappear overnight. What’s the rush?
My old pile of maps and charts of the ponds and lakes has gradually diminished to a select few favorites that I still take along, despite the addition of a portable depth finder that now provides me with a more accurate indication of the depths and lake contours.
But old habits die hard. I’ll always keep a few the old, hand-drawn maps that were scribbled on a napkin, or a piece of a brown paper bag.
They are relics from the old days, when I was the youngster on the annual fishing trip, and I keep ‘em in the tackle box just to keep me fresh, to help restore the my enthusiasm for the process of preparing to get out.
It’s a process I’ll repeat several times, well before I even get to wet a line. I’ll sort through the fly boxes, respool some reels with sinking flylines, and generally waste a lot of time that could be put to better use. But, there’s nothing more enjoyable than just puttering about while waiting to get out, and it is a ritual I’ll continue to pursue until the moment there are actually some fish to fill my time.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.