The Need For Secret Places

by Jake McGlothlin on June 4, 2013

in Fish Stories

Now that June is finally upon us, the season of lake fishing is here.  A lot of the mountain lakes have iced off, the rivers are still blown out (though not really this year…), and the fishing itch has to be scratched.  There is one lake in particular that holds a special place in my heart.

Shane and I have been going to this lake on a regular basis for almost three years now.  Every time we go we have it all to ourselves, it rains on us, and we catch big ass fish.  And by big ass fish I mean BIG ASS fish.

Since we had never seen anyone up there, and you don’t really hear too many people talking about it, we figured it was a big secret.  And we do everything we can to keep it that way.  The lake has been given code names for discussing it in public, pictures are carefully censored to remove any details of its possible location.  Any time a customer at the store mentions it, I do my damnedest to talk them out of it.


Then last Sunday we decided to head up there.  Word of the wise, don’t ever go fish your “secret” honey hole on the weekends.  The parking area, which we normally have completely to ourselves, was full.  Eight other cars.  Throw that disappointment on top of the fact that the radiator blew out in Shane’s car and it wasn’t looking like a good afternoon.   We passed three groups walking out, and when we reached the lake the shore was dotted with fishermen.




Fortunately for us, they were all fishing in the wrong place for the big ones.   We both landed one each, but had to keep our normal celebratory chatter down to whispers so as not to attract the attention of the others.  As it always does when we are there, it started raining and that helped to thin the crowds somewhat.

All in all, it was a good day.  Earlier that morning I had purchased a Canon 7D and lens and this was the perfect chance first outing for it.  We shot a lot of pictures, got some pretty neat Go Pro footage of some fish, both landed one, and proved that the lake has weathered the winter just fine.


Whenever I share pictures like this, or tell stories of fishing, or even mention fishing in certain circles, people always ask me where I caught those, where was I, what lake, etc.  Most of them understand when I just smile and shake my head, but some people get pretty pissed that I won’t share the secret.  Take a couple new guys at work.  One just moved here from California, the other from Wisconsin.  They both hound me for honey holes, secret spots, and the lucky runs.

I won’t tell.


Every fisherman has his secret spots.  They are the places that may not actually be much a secret to the general public (like the lake mentioned in this post), but they mean something to the angler.  It could be good scenery, big fish, a lucky run of a fish every cast, great hatches, whatever.  For whatever reason, that fisherman holds that place dear and will do a lot to protect it.

We all need secret spots like that.  It’s woven into the mythology of our sport.  The idea of having “our” spot is a powerful one.  Having more than a couple of these places myself, it’s comforting to know that they are there and that they are mine.


You know you’re good fishing/hunting/hiking buddies with someone when they start to share their spots with you.  When they do, you are given an unspoken responsibility to never reveal the secret.  Sharing spots brings with it a code of ethics that is an excellent test of someone.  Take them to one of your low level spots and see what happens.  I made the mistake once of sharing a couple places with a coworker only to find pictures and posts online of him and several friends in the same place.  Never again.

The point is, be careful of who you share these things with.  The world isn’t getting any bigger, and as civilization encroaches on our wild spaces the available pool of good secret spots is shrinking fast.  So guard them close, and enjoy every trip you have to them.




Photography by Jake McGlothlin and Shane Rickert