Archive for September 2010

Ice Fishing for Browns in Milwaukee Harbor   4 comments

I made a big mistake. I googled “Fall Steelhead Wisconsin” and came up with guide Eric Haataja’s site, http://www.wibigfish.com/.

via Eric Haataja's Wi Big Fish website

A big Brown Trout from Milwaukee Harbor (photo rights Eric Haataja at http://www.wibigfish.com)

Scrolling down I found an article about ice fishing in Milwaukee Harbor for Brown Trout (http://www.wibigfish.com/wisconsin-ice-fishing.html).

I thought my trout fishing season was over as of Monday with a trip to Vernon County, but how am I supposed to pass up the chance at a 10+ pound Brown Trout a mere 80 miles from my front door?

Here’s a great article written in 2008 about fishing with Haataja.

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/outdoors/36763409.html

And to raise your adrenaline just a little bit more, check out this video of Haataja guiding a client from California.

More videos of big fish can be found at Haataja’s youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/wibigfishcom

My wife is not going to like this.

Posted September 29, 2010 by troutseeker in Uncategorized

Vernon County in late September   3 comments

Trout fisherman who live in Vernon County are spoiled! What a beautiful place, filled with spring creeks and an abundance of trout. 

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

As a sort of “last hurrah” Stephen Rose and I went up to Vernon County for a day of fishing and exploring. We hit the road at 4:30 and arrived at Coon Creek at 6:30, about 20 minutes before the sunrise. The valley was foggy and frosty with temps around 38°F. The water was 51°F (indeed it felt warm compared to the air temp) with just the right amount of turbidity.

Coon Creek comes highly recommended in Jay Ford Thurston’s book “Spring Creek Treasure”. If you haven’t read this book yet, you should.

Using #9 gold and silver Panther Martin spinners we caught about 20 fish in two hours. It was one of those fishing mornings when it was a surprise not to feel a bite after each cast. You’ve got to love that! Here’s a lineup of some of the fish we caught. (Click on any image to make it larger)

Stephen Rose with a Brown from Coon Creek

Stephen Rose with a Brown from Coon Creek

Brown Trout, Red Barn at Coon Creek

Brown Trout, Red Barn at Coon Creek

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Elderberry, Coon Creek, Wisconsin

Elderberry, Coon Creek, Wisconsin

Early Morning on Coon Creek, Wisconsin

Early Morning on Coon Creek, Wisconsin

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

And now, for the fish of the day…

Coon Creek 17" Brown Trout

Coon Creek 17" Brown Trout

17" Coon Creek Brown Trout

17" Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Tom Anderson-Brown Trout Fishing Coon Creek, Vernon County, Wisconsin

Tom Anderson-Brown Trout Fishing Coon Creek, Vernon County, Wisconsin

Tom Anderson-Brown Trout Fishing Coon Creek, Vernon County, Wisconsin

Tom Anderson-Brown Trout Fishing Coon Creek, Vernon County, Wisconsin

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Coon Creek Brown Trout

Beautiful Coon Creek in Vernon County, Wisconsin

Beautiful Coon Creek in Vernon County, Wisconsin

We took a break for lunch and then decided to try out Timber Coulee Creek to the east. Check in soon for stories about the rest of our excellent day in Vernon County.

Posted September 28, 2010 by troutseeker in Coon Creek

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Lodi Spring Creek (again)   Leave a comment

Stephen and I went back to Lodi to try our hand at the creek there, but this time without the kids.

Lodi Spring Creek Brown Trout

Lodi Spring Creek Brown Trout

The time was about 8:30am and the weather looked promising, with clouds and a little rain. But by the time we hit the creek the sun was poking through, chasing away the clouds. The temperature was in the 70’s before long. Our hopes for a big morning were fading.

Lodi Spring Creek

Lodi Spring Creek

Even so, we caught about 8-10 fish, all Browns, in a couple of hours. The largest was about twelve inches.
Spring Creek Brown

Spring Creek Brown

Stephen with a Spring Creek Brown

Stephen with a Spring Creek Brown

Tom with a Spring Creek Brown

Tom with a Spring Creek Brown

The fish of the day from Spring Creek

The fish of the day from Spring Creek

Posted September 24, 2010 by troutseeker in Lodi Spring Creek

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Rope Swing on the Truckee River   Leave a comment

Look at this guy’s amazing rope swing. The hole he lands in must be filled with trout! But trout aren’t the first thing that come to mind while watching this.

Wow!

Posted September 24, 2010 by troutseeker in Truckee River, Uncategorized

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Lodi Spring Creek   4 comments

On Saturday Stephen Rose and I went up to Lodi to check out the Spring Creek that runs through town. The creek starts in the Lodi Marsh and terminates in Lake Wisconsin. While doing some “Blue-Lining” looking for streams close to home it became apparent that this was one we had overlooked.

Our experience Saturday was 3 fish in 15 minutes, along with sightings of lots and lots more trout and some really great water for trout to live in. Much of the creek, where it runs through town, is fast-moving and turbulent, running over small rapids and falls into plunge pools. It was clear this would be a place to revisit when we had more time.

Yesterday Stephen took his older son back to Lodi to give it a shot. They waded upstream from one end of town to the other and had lots of success. The biggest fish landed was twenty inches!

Stephen gave me a call around noon on his way home and told me about their experience. I’d been looking for something to do with my two oldest boys (eight and five) so I convinced them to take a trip to Lodi.

Bode fishing Lodi Spring Creek

Bode fishing Lodi Spring Creek

We started out at the confluence of Spring Creek and Bohlman Branch where there is a really nice pool. But, no luck. I thought this might be a repeat of the last trout fishing outing Bode and I had taken, in which we were skunked. I talked them into a little more fishing, and we drove upstream to Veteran’s Park. Downstream just a hair is a foot bridge over the creek.

Sawyer on the foot bridge over Lodi Spring Creek

Sawyer on the foot bridge over Lodi Spring Creek

We put in below the bridge and Bode hooked a chub. He didn’t really care that it wasn’t a trout, he was just happy to have caught a fish out of a stream.

Bode with his first creek fish

Bode with his first creek fish

I did some fishing and had a  trout on. I handed the rod to Bode to reel it in.

Bode with his first Trout

Bode with his first Trout

Sawyer kept himself entertained by throwing walnuts into the creek, much to the dismay of Bode who was concerned that they would scare away the fish.

Bode working the creek

Bode working the creek

We worked our way downstream and ended up behind the Police Station. There were some three-foot holes along this stretch of the creek. Bode waited for a hit. We got two more trout on!

Another Lodi Brown Trout

Another Lodi Brown Trout

We finally headed back up to Veteran’s Park and tried the deep plunge pool there some more. I got one on the hook for Sawyer to reel in. I handed him the rod and he started cranking away at it but the fish shook the hook. Sawyer didn’t seem too upset.

The last fish of the day was this twelve inch beauty that Bode brought in.

Bode with a twelve-inch Lodi Spring Creek Brown

Bode with a twelve-inch Lodi Spring Creek Brown

We’ll be back to try above and below town to see what else this creek has to offer. The scenery upstream from Lodi is very pretty, with lots of rolling hills and marsh habitat. There are sure to be Brookies waiting there. And downstream perhaps we’ll find a large Brown in the bigger water toward Lake Wisconsin.

Go up to Lodi and check out this great piece of water. Stop in and have lunch at one of the restaurants. Perhaps an increased presence of fishermen will invite more habitat improvement work above and below the town for even better fishing just 30 minutes from downtown Madison.

Posted September 20, 2010 by troutseeker in Kids, Lodi Spring Creek

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Rainbows, Brooks, and Browns on the WBSR   5 comments

This morning Stephen Rose and I headed southwest to fish a stream we’ve not been to before. Head down Highway G in southwest Dane County and you’ll cross Mount Vernon Creek. Keep going and you’ll come to a less talked-about creek called “The West Branch of the Sugar River”. A mouthful for sure, which may be the reason it isn’t written about more often. That’s my guess anyway because it appears to be every bit as good a stream as Mount Vernon Creek.

The West Branch of the Sugar River

The West Branch of the Sugar River

The water was just right today. Okay, perhaps a little on the clear side but it was cool-running which is always a good thing when looking for trout. The sky was just a little bit overcast and we were hoping more cloud cover would roll in but it never did. Even so, the fish were biting. Using number nine Panther Martin Deluxe gold and silver spinners we caught and released something like fifteen trout in about three hours. Not bad for a stream we knew nothing about on a very pleasant and dry morning.

Creekside Woodland Sunflower

Creekside Woodland Sunflower

We fished the creek almost smack-dab at it’s halfway point. I guess you’d say it was the middle third of the creek. it went from four feet wide at its narrowest up to twenty feet wide at the largest pools. The depth was anywhere from under one foot to over four feet. There was evidence of LUNKER structure work and bank rebuilding, but it looked to be at least a decade old.

Okay, on to the fishing…

I said on to the fishing, not on to the catching. Right? Anyway, the video above shows Stephen Rose doing his damnedest to lure a trout out of a nice hole. But no dice.

Here’s what we caught.

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brook Trout

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brook Trout

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brook Trout (#2)

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brook Trout (#2)

West Branch Sugar River Brook Trout (#3)

West Branch Sugar River Brook Trout (#3)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#2)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#2)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#3)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#3) Sans Head

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#4)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#4)

West Branch Sugar River Rainbow Trout

West Branch Sugar River Rainbow Trout

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#5)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#5)

And now, for the grand finale, a bonafide 17-inch West Branch of the Sugar River Brown Trout…

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

 Stephen found this wonderful fish in a deep pool where the creek runs along the woods. He thought it was a snag at first but then it swam toward him and Stephen saw the beast. I was on the other side of the creek up on the bank and I leapt into the water to assist with the net. Nice fish buddy!

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

Is The West Branch of the Sugar River a long name for a little creek? Yes.

Is it worth checking out? Yes! We’ll be back to fish this one again (and again and again).

Creekside Flowers on The West Branch of the Sugar River

Creekside Flowers on The West Branch of the Sugar River

Until Next Time, West Branch of the Sugar River

Until Next Time, West Branch of the Sugar River

Posted September 15, 2010 by troutseeker in West Branch Sugar River

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The Brule – Day 1   Leave a comment

We’re back from our trip to the Brule. I found out nobody from the northwoods calls this river the Bois Brule, so I’m going to fall in line and call it the Brule as well!

The Brule River: Ain't she pretty!

The Brule River: Ain't she pretty!

Our trip began on Friday morning with a drive from Madison up to Northeast Wisconsin. Stephen Rose and I took Hwy 53 up to Hwy 13 and headed east toward the Brule River. After sitting in the car for 5 hours we couldn’t help but stop at a beautiful river that passed under the highway: The Amnicon River.

The Amnicon River above Hwy 13

The Amnicon River above Hwy 13

Look at that river! You’d think that river would be loaded with trout. Well, we weren’t having any luck after an hour until I hooked into a 6″ smallmouth bass. Clearly we were wasting our time looking for trout here. Perhaps further upstream there could be some resident trout. But boy is it beautiful!

So, back into the car to continue on east to the Brule.

We did some recon and found Big Lake. The best way to get there is via Hwy 27. Just north of Rush Lake Road you’ll see this sign.

Winneboujou Club Sign at Big Lake

Winneboujou Club Sign at Big Lake

On the DNR map it appears that the property line between State Forest Land and Winneboujou Club land is right where this sign is, with public land sitting to the south (or perhaps it’s just an easement?) At any rate, nowhere on this sign does it say “No Tresspassing”. I’m not sure what “permit” would be obtained by contacting the Club. Perhaps you can use the Club’s land on either side of the DNR land with their permission? We we took the well-worn trail down to the lake to have a gander.

Big Lake is a great-looking body of water where there are surely lots of trout. We saw some trout jumping out of the water that evening and decided to fish it the next morning.

We set up camp at Rush Lake, hoping there’d be fish in its waters as well.

Camping at Rush Lake

Camping at Rush Lake

Camping at Rush Lake

Camping at Rush Lake

Hammocks are a great way to camp anywhere there are trees. You don’t need flat ground and set up and take down are quick and easy.

Fishing Rush Lake

Fishing Rush Lake: Nobody home

We quickly determined there weren’t many fish in Rush Lake, but it sure was a pretty spot.

At around 9pm the wolves started howling. What a sound! Much deeper and drawn out than the sound of coyotes. The wolves were quite a ways off but their howling was clear as a bell. It sure beats falling asleep to the sound of traffic.

In tomorrow’s post you’ll read all about our full day of fishing the Brule. See you then.

Posted September 13, 2010 by troutseeker in Bois Brule

Off to fish the Bois Brule   2 comments

Stephen and I are heading up north this morning to fish what many consider the ultimate trout stream of Wisconsin. We hope to bring back lots of photos, videos, and stories of our journey to share with you. Check this space Monday for an initial report.

Cheers,

Tom Anderson-Brown

Posted September 10, 2010 by troutseeker in Bois Brule

Fisheries Manager Dave Vetrano Retiring   Leave a comment

I got a link to this story on the Driftless Trout Anglers  forum.

Dave Vetrano, one of the men responsible for Wisconsin’s excellent trout streams, is retiring after 30 years.

Dave Vetrano at Coon Creek

Dave Vetrano at Coon Creek

Vetrano came up with the lunker structure that helps shelter fish after stream habitat improvement work is done. I had no idea that LUNKERS is an acronym (Little Underwater Neighborhood Keepers Encompassing Rheotaxic Salmonids). Vetrano reportedly thought this up.

Vetrano is also responsible for implementing the state’s “Wild Trout” program which takes wild trout from highly successful streams and stocks them in streams that have the capacity to support trout but have low populations. Apparently domestic trout (aka: fish hatchery-raised trout fed with pellets) only lived a couple of years in the wild. Go figure! They probably had no idea how to hunt for food in the wild. Transplanting wild trout from one stream to another has allowed Wisconsin’s trout numbers to skyrocket and has lowered the DNR’s expense of maintaining that fishery.

Click on the picture of Dave above to go to the Journal-Sentinal article.

Thanks for all your creativity and hard work Dave!

Posted September 9, 2010 by troutseeker in Thoughts on Fishing

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Black Earth Creek   Leave a comment

I journeyed the short distance from work in Middleton to the upper reaches of Black Earth Creek yesterday afternoon to chase some trout. The weather made the likelihood of success low, being that it was sunny and 75°. But I went anyway because I wanted to make sure of two things. 1) Would my rod and reel work well with the 10-lb line I had put on and 2) Did my wader repair job work?

Tracks along Hwy 14 upstream of Cross Plains
Tracks along Hwy 14 upstream of Cross Plains

#1 above turned out to be just fine. My reel is listed to go up to 8-lb line, so I wasn’t sure how it would perform, but it worked like a charm. I had 10-lb line put on because it was recommended for catching the bigger fish up on the Bois Brule, which I hope to do this weekend.

Under the Railroad Bridge on Black Earth Creek

Under the Railroad Bridge on Black Earth Creek

#2 did not work so well. I have some Farm and Fleet neoprene waders that I will be throwing away after fishing season is done this year, but I need to make them work for another month or so. I applied some silicone caulk to the leaky spots a couple of nights ago and it certainly improved the situation. For example, my waders no longer fill up with water to my knees, they’re only damp inside. The dampness is due to a leak I haven’t remedied in the crotch of my waders. I believe the gusseted seam in the crotch has a bad leak all around due to poor quality. I’ve plugged up all of the barbed wire punctures, so I’ll have to take a look tonight at the seam to see if I can fix the leak.

As for the fishing, I found lots of nice holding spots for trout. There are plenty of bends with scoured holes, and there are overhanging banks with water cress that look like very nice homes for fish.

I caught this little guy, the only fish of the afternoon, along the shaded bank of a straight run. Small things are certainly beautiful, don’t you think?

Black Earth Creek Brown Trout

Black Earth Creek Brown Trout

I saw a rather large Brown Trout holding under another bank. He was enticed to come out of his hole twice to have a look at and follow my lure, but he wouldn’t take it. I’d guess it was in the 13″ range. I was surprised to see such a fish appear on a day like this. I figured all the larger fish would be hunkered down in the shade waiting for dusk to come out and eat.

Watercress and Jewelweed on Black Earth Creek

Watercress and Jewelweed on Black Earth Creek

I also scared a Whitetail Buck out of the creek, or perhaps it scared me. It was a beautiful, strong 8-pointer. It made me want to be a deer hunter. You can just make it out in the picture below, inside the red oval (click the picture to enlarge it).

Black Earth Creek Whitetail Buck

Black Earth Creek Whitetail Buck

I’ll plan to come back to this stretch early or late in the day, as I think it has some nice potential. The water was very clear and running cool. Good for trout and the meals they like to eat. I’d like to walk up to Stagecoach Road when I have more time, just to see what’s what.

Helianthus divaricatus (Woodland Sunflower) on Black Earth Creek

Helianthus divaricatus (Woodland Sunflower) on Black Earth Creek

It sure is a convenient place for me to fish, as it is for many people in Madison. I get the feeling if I were to come here on a Saturday morning or evening I might run into a fly fisherman every hundred yards or so, but on Wednesday afternoon there were no other fish hunters around.

Posted September 9, 2010 by troutseeker in Black Earth Creek

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