Archive for November 2010

Trout Camp   1 comment

Tom and I have started the thread of an idea.  A ‘trout camp’ that would involve finding a secluded spot in one of our state forests to back-country camp with our young boys in order to hasten the development of something the poet Gary Snyder might call ‘the practice of wild’.

The human species has been around for some 70,000 years and it’s only in the last 100 or so that we’ve begun drifting away from the activities that shape how we interact with our environment.  Speaking for myself, I can often feel displaced and anxious if I haven’t gotten out into the great wide open and let my legs take me where they may.  Usually into anywhere from 6 to 48 inches of cool running water.  I want my kids to understand that there are real things you can do to alleviate the white noise of everyday life!

Not speaking of exactly where, we won’t be offering any thoughts about an exact location, I thought it might be nice to hear of other fishermen experiences related to this activity. Anybody out there ever participate in something like this? If so, we’d love to hear a story or two.

Also, for those of a literary bent, I have recently uncovered a treasure trove of ‘fishing’ writing which keeps my river dreams richly running even when I’m not near the water.

A friend of mine passed on a signed copy of The Nail Knot by John Galligan, a Wisconsin native and dedicated fly-fisherman.  It’s the first in a series of works that John has written about a down and out trout-bum named ‘the Dog’ who can’t seem to help himself solving mysteries.  I highly recommend giving this one a try.  You’ll be sure to investigate the rest soon after.  They are all available through the local library.  The latest, The Wind Knot, is scheduled for release very soon.

If you have a taste for something more involved I can’t say enough nice things about Tom McGuane’s The Longest Silence a fishing memoir that gives you your favorite subject from a justly famous scribbler.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of course but these are the works that I wanted to pass along.

Beyond the ‘trout camp’ idea maybe somebody else has read something that we might not have run into?   I’d be very excited to hear about that too.

I Dream of Catching Beautiful Fish   2 comments

Yesterday I went to the Sugar River just north of Belleville in search of pike with my fly rod. I went after overhearing a conversation in a local fly shop in which the owner and a guy were talking about tying flies for pike. The owner asked where the guy was finding them and the guy said “the Sugar River, near Paoli.”

Well, I thought that part of the Sugar River was designated Trout water, and I wasn’t sure about fishing for anything in Trout water after the season had closed, so I checked the map and found that further downstream the water is not designated, so it’s free game all year round. Plus, I reasoned, the further downstream I went, the better the habitat for Pike.

I drove on down Highway 69 and got to Frenchtown Road, where I crossed over the Sugar River. It is a pretty stretch that looks ripe for catching fish.

Sugar River @ Frenchtown Road

Sugar River @ Frenchtown Road

I worked my way steadily upstream back toward the bridge but only saw one fish, about 10″ long. Perhaps there are more fish moving about in the river when it isn’t 30-degrees outside?

It was fun to continue to hone my fly casting skills, and I was pleased with my ability to place the fly accurately and with good distance. But alas, not a bite. I did some more looking around upstream of the bridge in the designated trout water. It sure is pretty.

After exploring, I consulted my GPS to see what other courses of water were nearby. I headed south on Hwy PB then back up northwest and found a beautiful stream running through a marsh. I had no idea which stream this was, if it held trout, if it was designated trout water, or what.

I was very impressed with this stream. It was deep and windey and pretty. Did I mention deep? All the bends in the stream created significant cut-bank holes, most of which I couldn’t see the bottom of, even though the stream was gin-clear.

I found out after consulting the trout map that this was a stream I’d fished before, though in a different section. The West Branch of the Sugar River!

Here’s to all of you dreaming of April!

West Branch of the Sugar River

West Branch of the Sugar River

Marinette County   5 comments

Here are some pictures for dreaming.

Apparently Marinette County has 614 miles of designated trout water. I hope to fish one or two of them this spring.

Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream



Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream

Marinette County Trout Stream

Posted November 18, 2010 by troutseeker in Marinette County

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McKenzie River Drift Boat   1 comment

I am looking into building a McKenzie River-style drift boat for use next summer. Here’s a good look at this type of boat.


Isn’t that a good-looking design? Spira International sells plans for around $50. Here’s the one that catches my eye.

McKenzie Drift Boat

McKenzie Drift Boat

I would use this boat on the Wisconsin River to fish for smallies, and on big rivers up in Northern Wisconsin and the U.P. I’d even take it out west to float the beautiful stretches found in the mountains.

Posted November 17, 2010 by troutseeker in Boats

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Tying Flies on the Road   2 comments

Stephen came up with an ingenious idea before heading out for our excursion to the Root River on Tuesday. He wanted to tie some Marabou Streamers prior to the trip but didn’t get a chance. So, he put together a laptop tying table to get some tying done in the car.

It’s a very simple idea. He took a piece of plywood about 12″ by 18″, attached a length of square scrap to the bottom, three rails on the back and sides of the top to keep things from rolling away, and drilled a 3″ hole to allow a vise to be clamped to the table.

Mobile fly tying table by Stephen Rose

Mobile fly tying table by Stephen Rose

It worked like a charm! A handy addition would be a segmented tray around the outside to stash supplies.

Here he is with a finished streamer, done going 75 MPH.

Mobile Tying Table by Stephen Rose

Mobile Tying Table by Stephen Rose

Posted November 11, 2010 by troutseeker in Fly Tying

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Done with Salmon Fishing   1 comment

Yesterday’s trip to the Root River in Racine was not a good use of a half day of vacation. Stephen Rose and I took the trip looking for bellicose Steelhead, but instead we found disinterested Salmon.

The river was low and trashy and needs a good flushing. These urban rivers leave something to be desired in terms of scenic opportunities. Put me in the Brule or the Big Spring any day.

The best chance we had at catching something was toward the end of the day on the big bend of the river that flows through Washington Park in Racine. There were fish flopping around doing their thing. One particularly road-weary fish was tucked into a hole about 15 feet away. I had a pink egg pattern on my fly rod leader and I popped that egg inches in front of the fish’s nose over and over and over, in an attempt to annoy it into striking, but it just ignored my efforts.

Seems like the only game in town was snagging fish on treble hooks, which is illegal and not at all sporting. There was a group of three guys playing this game and even they couldn’t get a fish – not that I’m disappointed in the outcome.

We did check out the fish weir in Lincoln Park in Racine. They have a window at the base of the facility arranged so you can see underwater to get a cross-sectional view of the final spillway of the fish ladder. We were able to watch a salmon clear this last spillway on its migration upstream. It was fascinating to watch the salmon make the leap. It sure didn’t look like a big deal for the fish. I can see how they might get up a 6 or 8 foot waterfall.

Root River Fish Weir

Root River Fish Weir

Fishing for salmon in a river is a bear’s job. The fisherman is better off in a lake at this time of year. Fishing the salmon runs is a smelly, frustrating, ugly endeavour that I’ll leave alone for the forseeable future.

I’m going to cool my heels and wait for March, when the spring creek trout season opens. I may return to a big river to chase steelhead during their spawning run.

You’ve got to try something to know whether or not it appeals to you. Well, I’ve got my answer.

Posted November 10, 2010 by troutseeker in Salmon Fishing

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Skunked, and Skunked some more   3 comments

Where the heck are the fish?!?

I’ve been out a few times in the past week and have had very little success. The forums, the DNR fishing reports, and the weather all say the fish should be lurking in the shallows, trying to find warm water and food. Well, I’ve fished the shallows, the warmwater creeks, the inlets, the ponds and I haven’t found any fish interested in my efforts.

Fall fishing is supposed to be excellent, with fish that are hungry and water temps that are in the right temperature zone for those fish to be active.

Oh Well. At least my son Bode is catching fish…

Bode's Winnequah Park Bass

Bode's Winnequah Park Bass

Bode's Lake Wingra Bass - October 12th

Bode's Lake Wingra Bass - October 12th

Posted November 4, 2010 by troutseeker in Kids, Thoughts on Fishing

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