A buddy and I took the ol’ red canoe on its maiden 2017 voyage last Saturday. Even though we were both anxious to do a bit more spring deer scouting for next fall, the weather was just too perfect combined with solid water conditions to let go by the wayside. I took a simple approach from the first cast to the last – white Fluke Jr. on one rod and a small jighead with a 2” plastic greenish orange crawfish looking creature on the other. I ended up with 6 bites in a 6 hour float – not exactly on-fire fishing – and landed 4 fish. Five of my 6 bites came from within 10 feet of obvious rock and boulder structure, and all but one fish came on the jighead on a moderate speed up-down-up jigged retrieve. The highlight of the day was one of my best smallies ever, didn’t measure but I’d guess in the 16-17” range, as well as the diverse bird life that we encountered. Lots of paired off wood ducks, a great-horned owl that we bumped into twice, and the birding highlight – a stunning couple of black-crowned night herons.