January 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
2014 was a good year. Most years in Wisconsin are pretty dang peaceful, enjoyable, and beautiful, last year was no different. Below are just a few fishing highlights. Ben and I made it down to the Viroqua area for some spring (well, winter) fishing. We still had plenty of snow on the ground and the fishing was tough, but we managed a few. I love this shot of the barn and the bent 5 weight rod.
After the big snow melt and the green reappears can be some of the most enjoyable fishing of the whole year. Here is a stretch of water pretty well known in western WI, but it always produces. This little 12″ along with several others were hungry for my nymph offering.
One of my most memorable days came when I was hunting for big brown trout and I was rewarded with two Brookies in the 14″ range! I had to work for it, hiking/wading for a couple hours before I finally connected with this first fish below. Then the next whole, boom a slightly bigger Brookie… and fat! I was on cloud nine.
Summer: there’s nothing like waking up at the crack of dawn and heading out to a local stream. Fish for a few hours and make it back by 9 or 10 am for round 2 of coffee and hearty breakfast. This brown was my longest fish of the season.
My birthday present from my wife was a trip down to Viroqua area with these two dudes! We had a blast and I fished 4 streams I had never fished before.
2015’s gunna be a good year.
August 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
There are stretches of the creeks we fish
That tell a story of place
There are stretches full of sand
There are others sloped and freestone
There are stretches that need adjusting
There are others left alone
There are stretches that just click
There are others that leave you searching
There are stretches that look of promise but nobody’s home
There are stretches I keep a secret
There are others piled with Saturday cars
There are stretches that have footprints
There are others lined with trails
Tromped down yesterday by deer and trespassers
There are stretches that leave you breathless
In the trudging through head-height grass / knee-deep snow kind of way
There are stretches that remind me of the West
There are others that remind me of Wes
There are creeks that feel like rivers
There are “rivers” you can jump across
There are stretches that leave me puzzled
There are stretches that put me in awe
There are stretches that can make us weep
There are others that hold sheep
There are stretches that downright suck
There are others we call honey-holes
There are hollows where the birds nest
There are willows where we lay and rest
There are stretches that change
Washed out, hell-bent, and there ain’t no stopping that flood
There are criks that are murky
What lies in those lairs of deep?
There are springs that flow from a rockwall
There are holes like aquariums
There are stretches that always remind you of a friend
There are stretches you can see in your head
Every bend, every riffle-run-pool like a movie
Always moving, never sitting
There are stretches that teach
There are stretches that keep (your flies mostly)
There are stretches that cut through pasture
There are others that will engross you
Alder-choked, thicket topped, dim-lit mysteries
That probably hold a big or two
There are stretches you only fish in spring
And there are others that call to you in summer
There’s that stretch where you took a fall
There’s that stretch you’ve only fished in the fall
There are stretches you’ll never fish – you can’t fish it all
There are stretches that invite you
There are others where your feet stay wet
Or sneak around like a hunter in the woods
There’s a stretch where a fawn fell
There’s a stretch we call the storm spot
There’s a stretch we call the coulee section
There’s a stretch we call the Canyon
There’s a stretch we call the Stonehammer
There’s a fly we call the Klinkhammer
There’s a stretch where we got hammered
There’s a stretch that has “The Hole”
The one-true-pure-circle of life-all’s-right-with-the-world hole
There are stretches where you lose time
Focused on the stillness
Of a thousand tiny things happening in front of you
There are stretches we call home
There are even some that define us
October 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
One of the advantages of travelling all around the states is getting to see different bodies of lakes, rivers and streams. There are stretches of highway where trout streams meander alongside, and others swiftly pass by. Either way, it leaves me day dreaming, and usually a bit sad that I cannot get out onto the stream, even just to touch the water… Sean and I started this thing where we air false cast whenever a stream crosses our path. Mostly for entertainment, but deep down inside the movement of casting makes it okay and fulfills a small portion of my imagination of catching a fish.
And on a side note, here is a picture of my brother with a nice sized musky he caught on the Apple River! Way to go!
July 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
June 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
My job as a liquor sales rep and a full time Dad doesn’t leave me with a lot of time on the trout stream, and when I do get to get out, it is usually for panfish with the kids on one of the local lakes. But recently I heard about a small lake that is stocked with rainbow trout. I was somewhat skeptical when one of my customers told me about the 20 inch ‘bow that he caught an hour before he was supposed to head off to work, but when he took me in his beer cooler to showed me the fish, I was sold.
I called my friend, Pappy, who is usually up for an adventure, and he met my son Alex and me near where we were to fish. Pappy isn’t a fly fisherman, so he brought a spinning rod, I rigged up Alex with my spinning rod and a bobber, and I sported my Sage 3wt fly rod.
The lake was nestled right in a hardwood forest in what looked like a glacial pothole that was not any larger than 30 or 40 acres.
Right off the get go, Pappy caught about a 4 inch crappie on his Panther Martin. Not the right species, but at least at this point we could rule out getting skunked. It didn’t take long before he was hooked into another fish, this time it was a 6 inch bullhead… hmm I was beginning to think that I had been sent on a wild goose chase. And then out of the corner of my eye, I saw Pappy retrieving his spinner and an 8-9 inch rainbow was chasing right after it right up to the boat! I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth for him to keep the spinner in the water and the fish was gone. Dang.
As we drifted through the middle of the lake, the wind began to kick up a bit. In a moment of distraction, I let my olive wooly bugger sink to the bottom. As I picked up my rod tip, wham, I was hooked. From previous experience, any trout larger than about 10 inches will put the bend in that 3wt, but this fish wasn’t the 20 incher that I was hoping for. I got a glimpse of the fish, and it showed its colors, our first rainbow that was about 8-9 inches! Just as fast as I had seen the fish, my fly popped out and it was gone.
So we continued to fish, shoot the bull and admire our quant little pothole lake. About a half hour passed and we were starting to get a little anxious when Pappy hooked into another fish… Crappie.
We were within the last 10 minutes, mostly due to hunger, when I hooked into another fish. This one, however, was a little more sporting than the rainbow I lost earlier. I knew that this fish wasn’t the 20 incher either, but it certainly had gumption in his fight and he wanted to stay towards the bottom. Not wanting to take losing another trout to chance, I grabbed my net and played the fish out. As luck would have it, I caught my first bullhead on a fly rod.
While the trout fishing gods didn’t exactly smile on us on this fishing trip, it was certainly good to get out with Pappy and Alex on a lake where you could feel, even just for a moment, that you were the first people to explore this beautiful lake. And hey, at least we didn’t get skunked.
May 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
I headed out yesterday just as the big storm was hitting Eau Claire. Fishing before a storm has always been my favorite time to fish because of the energy in the air. The fish, of course, know it’s coming too and they are eager to eat. My brother and I, when we were younger, always made sure to get out on the lake that our grandparents lived on and slay the bass. These days, though, it’s rare that I get out at the perfect time just before a big storm hits.
The nice thing about trout is that they are opportunistic feeders. Rain or shine, if you throw the right thing they will go after it. I started off with a red and green woolly bugger, but that didn’t seem right. And by the time I switched to a brown and black woolly bugger, the rain was at a torrential downpour. The fish were biting well, but an empty stomach and a nasty leak in the right boot of my waders was shortening my patience. I called it a day…
May 10, 2012 § 2 Comments
If you are a trout fisherman in Wisconsin, trout fishing in the Driftless Area is probably no secret. Yes, there are some stretches that people give an alias to, for those only with insiders knowledge to fish. On the other hand, if you close your eyes, place a finger on the map, you’d still have an outstanding day of fishing. One could also fish everyday for the rest of your life and never fish the same stream or stretch twice.
I met up with Sean at 5:45 and we headed down to the Mayfly Lodge to meet up with Duke Welter and Co. for breakfast: coffee, eggs, toast and venison bacon. Oh yeah, pie and donuts too. With most of the gang being experts in conversation, Sean and I started getting a bit antsy to get out fishing. Eventually we did and headed to a ‘hidden gem.’ Well, I’m pretty sure it’s a gem, but definitely no secret as there were 3 or 4 anglers at each crossing. Frustrated, Sean and I took off.
Here is a beautiful brown that put up a big fight on my 6x tippet. Almost lost it when he made a quick dash for that log just above my shoulder.