November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
Man, I wish Wisconsin just went to a catch and release season in the fall. It’s so hard cutting off at the end of september, especially when there are days in October that you step outside and just know the trout are just going nuts on your favorite stream nearby. I suppose just like the seasons, fishing seasons make us realize what we have and where we live, and be grateful for each morning our backs heat up with the rising sun, or recall the dog days of summer when we’re scrambling our way back to the car in the dark because we just kept fishing until we couldn’t see. And we look back and remember those absolutely perfect days we had on the stream. Sometimes its those days where you can do no wrong and the fish are into it. Those are memorable. But I’ve realized for me, I get even more nostalgic for those days that I’m just really clear headed, I’m exploring, I’m present in all ways, and then a few nice fish come fall for my presentation. There was the day 2 or 3 years ago (can’t remember)… on my local creek, it was lightly raining, it was soooo green, and all was connected. What I can remember is the way the rain was hitting the water, the way I felt completely a part of my landscape, and the greater W. Wisconsin that I live in. The first day I got out in 2012 was one of those days. Every hole I delicately and accurately casted in provided a fish. It was so exciting and satisfying. Also, had a day in late summer that I did some exploring on a new creek. Its one of those spots you drive by all the time and say, hey , that looks cool up there, but you never stop to fish. The first hour was uneventful fishing, but it was some of the most gorgeous scenery I’d ever seen on the stream. I knew there would be fish and sure enough the holes started to get deeper and the fishing picked up. I didn’t catch a bunch or really a lunker, but a few decent fish, beautiful-new territory and I was in contentment. I caught my biggest and fattest Wisconsin trout this spring, and Ben and I hit some caddis fishing in the driftless by Viroqua in May.
It was hard to say goodbye to the season this year. Maybe it was me being gone for most of the summer. I’ve been scouring the internet for blogs, forums, etc – just learning what other people think, other spots to try out. Already getting ready for next spring (and definitely planning a trip to Iowa / Mn this winter) ((hopefully)).
October 2, 2012 § Leave a comment
In between the end of a month long run on the road and the start of another, conveniently placed during the last few days of trout season and my brothers week long vacation, this special part of Wisconsin beckoned once more. And of course Duke Welter joined in.
The day started off overcast and cool with a slight breeze – perfect for us and enough to keep out your average fair weather fisherman. Our first stop was at Little LaCrosse Creek on a newly restored stretch of stream and not much wider than the width of a car. Wind picked up and the overcast went away and it was decided that a PhD was needed to cast in these conditions. Precisely what Duke, Andrew and I all have. Not that I want to lump myself or my brother into the category of Duke Welter’s casting ability – he is in a league of his own but not with that picturesque way out west style casting…
Here you can see Andrew and I in our low class non-orvis fishingwear.
We headed to a stream on a stretch I’d never been before on the Bad-Axe. I hooked into this beautiful 16″ brown, one of many of this size we caught in this stretch. When he slammed my hopper I yelped and hollered and I knew we were in for a good day.
The strong winds of the day made for some good hopper fishing.
Andrew tore his waders open so decided to call it a day, while Duke made one more attempt. I told him we were thinking about heading out, and promptly responded “stay here and watch me catch this fish and take a picture of it.” That’s not the first time he’s done that either. Low and behold……..
Duke suggested we get some delicious pizza from the Driftless Cafe – cracker thin crust and sweet red sauce. We arrived and a couple was playing some Old Time. I listened and enjoyed the looks of the beautiful girls of Viroqua.
Andrew and I camped streamside at Esofea park, drank whisky and played cribbage. In the morning wemade egg scramble and coffee and went back to fish the rest of the stretch we were on the day before. It was strangely reminiscent of the Rush, 2 cars here, 3 cars there, a few more over there… Why today and not yesterday???
We decided that it wouldn’t have been as good as the day before anyhow, fished another creek on our way out and headed home.
August 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
You would think that living within 45 miles of two world class trout rivers and several very good creeks that get little to no fishing pressure in that same radius, that you could catch me honing my skills on a regular basis. But admittedly, I am not a “die hard” trout fisherman… c’mon, I have a full time job, dad of twins, an avid archer, Mr. Fixit around the house and someone has to mow the lawn, right??? But the truth of the matter is I still have enough of a passion for trout fishing that I try to get out a few times a season. Oh, also, the only time I hit the tying vise these days is when Ben comes begging that he is out of pink squirrels and wooly buggers…
But I recently got bit by the trout bug and decided that the remaining days of the trout season aught not be another lost opportunity for me. I called Ben and told him that I was going to the Rush River and I suggested he come along. Without hesitation, he agreed and we met in Baldwin and within an hour we were fishing on the Rush.
At first, it seemed that our day was spoiled when we had an encounter with an out-of-stater. As we were stringing our poles at the access point, they quickly hopped out of their car and engaged in a foot race to the stream. In situations like this, I typically avoid confrontation, but Ben thought that they should be aware that they were being less than courteous… But we both agreed than two can play they game they chose to, so we walked right past them and cut in a hundred yards ahead…
After the first hurtle had been cleared, we were into the fish right off the get go. Ben hooked into a 12 inch class brown, and immediately tied into a beautiful 16-17 incher on a coachman fly.
My first fly selection was a searching pattern, a generic nymph that I have always fished with confidence. But my efforts were not rewarded as quickly as Ben’s. As we fished through the first big pool my luck didn’t improve. Ben was up 3-0.
As a side note, if you know us two, we are very competitive with each other and have differing opinions on a lot of things which often times leads to a bit strife, however, trout fishing has always been one of those things where we both get along wonderfully and we feed off our successes and failures quite nicely. It is truly one of the things I most enjoy doing with him.
As we exited the pool, I changed my setup to one of my favorite flies, the pink squirrel. No sooner was my fly tied on, I had my first Rush River brown on the other end of the line… Not bad, but a 10 incher.
After that last good pool, our appetites were high for a cold beer, so we called it a night. All said and done, ten browns and one enthusiastic brookie were caught and released that evening. When we got back to my car, the two Lost Arrow Porters turned out to be the greatest catch that evening after our leaky waiters were peeled off.
August 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
With Sean returning home from a six week tour, and I, a four week tour we decided to reunite our insatiable urge to be on the stream. My original plan was to fish a stream that flows into the Rush, but I woke up at 5:30 and thought about the “storm spot” of the Rush. I met Sean in Baldwin as I was brewing an Oatmeal Stout over at Twin Lakes Brewing Co. with Andrew the night before. It was thick, dark, and smelled of chocolate malt-o-meal.
Without even knowing what the weather was supposed to be, I proposed we head to the storm spot (keep in mind I have never fished here and it not been pouring rain with thunder and lightning), and off we went! The morning was crisp and overcast and the water was stained from rain the day before.
The watercress are in full this time of year, and along with various mints, and you can keep your mouth fresh and spicy – a nice streamside salad I’d say.
We were fishing along with little action and in comes the thunder and rain. A solid two hours of heavy rain felled upon us and I didn’t even think about bringing a rain coat. Another leak sprung in my waders as well, so I wet to through and through. When the rain started, the obvious choice is to put on a woolly bugger, and we did so. One fish! Two!
They were still rising in the rain to something. We tried to figure it out but to no avail, so I put the woolly bugger back on and casted into a slow riffle and let it drag. A couple ticks on a rock, and the third tick from the strike indicator just looked different for some reason – so I set the hook. Uh oh…. nice fish!
The rain persisted as did the thunder. We decided to call it a day. It was just shy of 10 am, and I happened to have a Cream Ale from the Twin Lakes Brew in my backseat – why not?
August 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
Getting time on tour to be out in the woods and water is usually slim to none. This time, Damian (the drummer) ran into a guy who worked for the Stillwater Fly Fhop and wanted to take us out fishing. We made our way to the headwaters of the Deschutes River inbetween Bend and Sunriver, OR. I’ve never fished with guides before and my impression is the complete opposite of these guys. It felt more like fishing with old friends. It didn’t hurt that one of them, Todd, had ties back to Wisconsin, and shared my sentiment with the Driftless Area.
The water was crystal clear, glacial blue. There’s Damian casting a big 10 foot rod, with one broken hand. His casting looked real nice in fact.
Here’s a nice brookie I caught, basically jigging a golden stone fly.
I’ll be back in Wisconsin in a few days and will be fishing hard while I’m home for a couple of weeks. Cannot wait.
May 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
Opening weekend for me was spent working my first day at Sandstone Ridge Vineyards on Saturday and brewing beer over at Twin Lakes Brewing Co. on Sunday. Some people get bent out of shape about missing that weekend, but since I never really stop fishing (except when the ice is unfit for conditions) it wasn’t a big disappointment.
My brother also happens to be one of Wisconsin’s finest fly tiers. So while the new batch of Ale was boiling he tied up a few Woolly Buggers for me.