Seeking Trout in Winter   1 comment

Tom and I have discussed a midwinter outing to the Wisconsin northwoods to scout out some trout.   We’d planned our visit for late January.   I decided to call upon my families fishing lineage to find out about the possibilities in Minocqua.  I contacted Rick Domini, my wife’s uncle.  I’m not exactly sure what that makes me?  A nephew-in-law?

Rick is a longtime Flambeau Chain muskie fishing guide.   All I’ll tell you is that I have seen some pictures that do not require a back story to understand that Rick knows what he’s doing.   I’m not sure I would swim anywhere near where Rick Domini is fishing for fear of being eaten by a freshwater monster.

I told Rick about our plan.  I believe his second word (via email) was ‘insane’.   Oh yeah, his first word was ‘definitely’.

Now Tom had worked the DNR’s Managed Lands website pretty hard looking for a possible trout camp destination and had discovered a stream called the McDonald Creek, just south of Hwy 70 in Oconto County.    It’s listed as a Class II trout stream on the DNR’s website.

The idea was to find a nice spot in a state forest to fish and camp and rusticate with the boys.   Rick informed me that a long range plan to seek trout in this part of the state is probably a losing proposition.  The streams are just not conditioned the way they are in other parts of the state.  Brackish, sandy bottomed and featureless, with very few fish.  Tom was told much the same thing by a colleague.   So much for trout seeking.

Tom and I had planned on doing some ice fishing on our visit so that we might add to our winter larders back home (filling the freezer with some tasty winter fish).

When I mentioned this to Rick he said, “great idea, I just guided last week and we caught 55 northern”.   “You did what?”, I said.   “Yep, I also caught a 10lb. 31″ walleye, my biggest to date.”

Just what does this information mean?  Well, I’m still processing it.   Here’s a pic of a pike:

Just another day at the office.

Compliments of Rick Domini http://www.ricks-fishing.com/index1.php

I could live with just one of those.  If I caught 55 I’d be concerned that I’d upset the natural order in some way.  Like I’d opened up another dimension made entirely of fish flesh.   Rick told me that lots of those fish were keepers.   Were they fishing a frozen hatchery?

Tom and I will probably reconsider our trip but with fishing like that I think ice fishing has a huge upside.   If you like a big sky view you can hardly do better than standing on a frozen lake.  It’s beautifully quiet as the snow absorbs all the sound.  You can throw a football or cook some franks.  I’ve been in ice fishing camps that felt not unlike real communities.  People exchanging pleasantries, swapping stories and fishing tips.  And the fish are big and taste better than they do all year long!

Who knows, we may go up there anyway.   I think we’ll find our trout Valhalla somewhere closer to home.   If you’re ever interested in being on a trophy fish you could do a whole lot worse than Rick’s Fishing.  Rick isn’t big on maintaining his website.   I’m pretty certain he’s already got a client list that is rock solid.   But here’s the link anyway:

http://www.ricks-fishing.com/index1.php

If anyone has ideas about seeking trout in winter I’d love to hear about it.   Thanks.

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One response to “Seeking Trout in Winter

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  1. What to do…? Both options sound good. Getting a little hardwater fishing experience would be great. So would learning more about Driftless Area streams.

    It really is a tough decision. Maybe as we’re pulling onto the Beltline we’ll make our decision!

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