You can find Don Dorame on many weekends in summer fishing the edges of Hayden Lake from a 14-foot Klamath aluminum boat with a 15 horsepower Johnson that leaves V-wakes on the black water as he quietly noses into bays and nudges along points.
Some mornings, though, the Hayden machinist switches it up.
He casts from shore.
When he does that, he relies less on his ability to get where he wants to fish than on enticing a bite in places he must fish.
Last Saturday, with a lot of people recreating on Hayden Lake, Dorame decided against boating and parked his pickup truck in a gravel pull out just off the Hayden Lake Road at Mokins Bay.
He walked along the strip of pavement, casting into the weedy cove.
“We parked, I tied a buzzbait on, walked to the water and started to fish,” Dorame said.
On his third cast in 3 feet of water, he hooked a submerged log that took flight.
It wasn’t a log at all.
“All of a sudden, bam!” Dorame said.
He expected to see a gush and splash, a jumper maybe, but this fish pulsed the line and dropped to the murky bottom like a ballast tank.
He pulled the pike to shore.
“I was surprised,” he said.
His buddy thought the fish weighed 30 pounds. Dorame, the realist, figured it came in closer to 20.
The men dropped the fish into the back of the pickup truck and drove to Fins and Feathers, the tackle shop on Coeur d’Alene’s Sherman Avenue, where the pike weighed in at 25 1/2 pounds.
He filleted long strips of meat from the carcass at a weekend barbecue — where chunks of the fish were baked, deep fried and grilled.
“It fed three families,” Dorame said. “It was filleted good.”
Catching pike in the shallows is common in the transition time between the spring spawn and midsummer when the fish move to deeper water.
Ron Hise, who prefers bass to pike, has been catching the gnarly-mouthed predators too.
When Hise fishes the waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene, he usually stays south of the Coeur d’Alene River confluence at Harrison.
Last week when Hise, the manager of Heyburn State Park, ventured into the shallows to chase his favorite game fish, he ended up wrestling a 10-pound pike.
“I’ve been catching them by accident fishing the shallow water for bass,” Hise said. “I caught one on a plastic worm.”
A lot of anglers at Heyburn Park have been hooking pike in Chatcolet, Benewah and Round lakes. Most of the fish are in the 3- to 5-pound range.
Jordan Smith of Fins and Feathers said Dorame’s pike probably would have weighed around 30 pounds during the spawning season, which ended last month.
During the transition time, before the water warms up, pike will stay close to the budding weed lines. As weeds grow taller and push into deeper water, the fish will follow.
“They will start going deeper and deeper,” Smith said. “Pike will follow the weeds out and out and out.”
In the next few weeks, pike can be found close to shore in water from 2 feet to 12 feet later in the day.
Dorame may be out in his boat chasing pike by then. It depends, he said, on how many people are out playing on the water.