Island Pit Lake, Indiana Trout Fishing From a Float Tube

OK….I know trout, trout, trout…land one and you will quickly know why they are such a sought after species and frankly they are “delicioso” on the table; no wonder why I go to lengths to put myself in and around these little marvels of nature. This past weekend was just such a case; I left the high school at 2:30am after helping with our 13th annual all-nighter and went home to get about two hours of sleep….up at 5am, loaded a few things in our camper and Vickie and I were off to Shakamak…you know, electric camping because we had to watch Butler play basketball on the tube Saturday night. I pulled in, un-loaded the camper and Vickie and was off to Minnehaha and Island Pit by 7:30am. The wind was, as they say in Scotland….”A Howlin”! For those of you that have ever been in a float tube; let’s just say when the wind hits 25 or 30mph it becomes a workout.

I will, reluctantly admit that I left the lake the first time without catching a fish; I worked hard but somehow knew in the back of my mind I was not fishing deep enough. I drove from Island Pit back to Shakamak where we were camping, had some lunch, pondered which line to use and decided upon my 5 weight with heavy line and an olive Wooly Bugger…bingo! I arrived back at the lake after 2pm and on my second cast I landed a nice rainbow. More followed quickly and by 2:45 I had landed 12 trout and put 5 on my stringer. The reality of the heavier line set in as I watched some of the bank fisherman using corn, marshmallows, etc… and noted that they were fishing right on the bottom.

I had a few hours left so I loaded up my float tube and moved the mile across 54 to Black Cat. I was in the process of cleaning my trout when two young Asian men came walking up with their spin casting rods in hand and had a number of questions for me….from where did I get the trout to why they were not catching any fish. After a slight translation issue I gave them some ideas of how to fish from the bank while at Black Cat and they were off…I even saw one of the pair catch a fish later that afternoon.

The wind was still howling from the west and knowing the lay of the lake is as important to me as knowing my turkey woods is and thus I felt like the bait fish would be pushed up against the east side of the lake by the strong winds. I have used my depth finder many times while fishing Black Cat and know that there is a deep channel that sits about 15 feet off shore and runs to a depth of 18 feet, so I used the same 5 weight line with a grey shad streamer and hovered about 50 feet off the edge and put the strong wind at my back to aide in casting. I landed two nice bass, both 15 inches; one was full of eggs and looked ready to burst.  All in all it had been an awesome and fun filled Indiana day.

The next morning I awoke at the campground with a Tom turkey gobblin and looking for love in all the wrong places. I made the 20 mile drive back to Island Pit and quickly had my float tube in the water and all was well in the world as the lake was calm, geese were honking, birds chirping and yet again a Tom turkey was proclaiming his intentions of sweet talking a hen. I knew the day would be good as I caught a trout on my first cast and not having to battle the wind made everything a little sweeter. I put the shore to my left and cast to about 10 feet from the shore…giving time for the line and fly to sink. I made slow strips and gave plenty of time between strips to entice a strike. I caught several trout in succession and kept a couple of the larger ones….when IT happened, it being the wind. I have never seen a day go from passive and calm to white caps in about 10 minutes. I was still catching fish but did so by keeping my float tube hovering over a spot just off shore from a point that jutted out into the lake. I had to lean, hard right, into the wind with my fins to my left and pumping the water….all while casting and retrieving my fly line. Had I not been catching fish I would have wrapped it up sooner but as I said…there is just something about trout, they are addicting.

If you are looking for a chance to catch a few trout then give Island Pit a chance. Remember to possess trout in Indiana you need to obtain the $11 dollar trout permit that will allow you to keep 5 fish daily. My best guess is that many of the 3000 stocked trout are still out there, swimming around and searching for sustenance. Either way, Island Pit is a beautiful Indiana lake and if you make the journey, you will have a great experience as you Enjoy the Great Outdoors.


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