Archive for February 2011

Blue Dun Fly   2 comments

Today I had some time to work on flies and decided to continue working on flies that utilize duck quill wings. I tied Leadwing Coachmans, Black Gnats, and Blue Duns. I found that the flies with upright and divided wings were much more challenging for me than those, like the Coachman, whose wings lay back along the shank of the hook.

But, Duck Quills are pretty cheap, so I tried a bunch. Below is my best iteration of the Blue Dun. Do you think it will attract some trout this spring?

Blue Dun by Tom Anderson-Brown

Blue Dun by Tom Anderson-Brown

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Madison Fishing Expo   Leave a comment

Stephen and I went to check out the Madison Fishing Expo tonight. First time for both of us.

I think our collective reaction to the proceedings could be summed up as follows:

Meh.

We heard about some improvements in the works for Black Earth Creek in the Village of Cross Plains, we took in the wonder of giant fishing boats with glittery paint, and saw more than our fair share of musky lures, discounted “custom” fishing rods, and people shilling for northwoods retreats and guide services.

 

A well-fed Pike

A well-fed Pike

 

For the kids there was a “trout pond” full of brook trout meeting their maker by way of a piece of corn affixed to a hook. The best part was that after a kid hooked a fish, their dad would take it off the hook and then the “UNDERTAKER” would come around with a bag and a knife and “put the fish out”, as we say in the business.

 

The Fishin' Pond - complete with hillbilly background music

The Fishin' Pond - complete with hillbilly background music

Hey kid, lemme put that fish out for ya.

Hey kid, lemme put that fish out for ya.

 

The highlight of the night was talking to a couple of trout fishermen, Craig Amacker and Rob, from Fontana Sports. Two knowledgeable, friendly guys with the only fly rods in the entire place.

Last, and probably least, my favorite painting from the expo (although the 3-D largemouth chasing a leech was a close second)…

 

I'm a wolf, bitch!

I'm a wolf, bitch!

 

My advice, spend your $8 admission fee (and $6 parking fee) on a burger and a pitcher of beer at your neighborhood tavern. That’s $14 well spent.

Posted February 25, 2011 by troutseeker in Circuses

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Friday Pin Up from the Moldy Chum   6 comments

Call me a newbie, but I just discovered the “Friday Pin Up” at the Moldy Chum. I’m sure some of you guys have known about this for years. Anyway, I’m particularly fond of the ladies fly fishing in bikinis and rubber pants. Call me crazy. Perhaps this is related to some suppressed and heretofore unrecognized tall boot fetish first developed as a 13-year-old watching Sam Kinison and Scorpion videos on MTV. Although I don’t recall anyone carrying a fishing rod in those videos.

Whatever. Go check it out if you’re inclined. I know my blogging/fishing buddy Stephen Rose is rolling his eyes and laughing while he reads this, but I’m also pretty sure he’ll go check it out. Ha!

Rubber Pants anyone?

Friday Pin Up from the Moldy Chum - Rubber Pants anyone?

Leadwing Coachman Fly by Loren Williams   2 comments

After getting my fill of tying scud patterns I decided to attempt something a bit more challenging. I got some duck quills from my kids for Christmas and that pointed me in the direction of the Leadwing Coachman. I gave it a shot, and suffice it to say, it may or may not catch a fish. However, first flies often look a little rough and I’m not about to give up.

I tied the first one based on a picture and list of materials, but no real instruction. So I went looking on the internets for some step by step help and found Loren Williams’ website, FlyGuysOutfitting.com. Loren is located in Syracuse, NY, and guides fisherman who are looking for Trout, Salmon, and Steelhead.

Anyway, check out this beautiful Leadwing Coachman I plan to copy after a couple of tries (ha!). Well, maybe after a half dozen. I love the way those duck quills stand up. The challenge for me is getting them to look nice. So I’ll keep trying, and with the help of generous people like Loren Williams, I may call my self a fly tier someday.

Leadwing Coachman by Loren Williams

Leadwing Coachman by Loren Williams

Trophy hunting Monona Bay in Madison Wisconsin   Leave a comment

Last winter I experimented with moviemaking in a media production class as a way to develop new skills that suit this ever stranger internet environment.

I chose ice fishing as a topic because it was something I really hadn’t entertained doing to this point in my life. I always wrote it off as too stationary an activity. But I have always been struck by the great numbers of fisherman who sit out in the cold. What is it that’s so compelling?

So much fuss and concentration over this really uncharismatic hole.

I probably wouldn’t have done anything about this idle curiosity if not for the young guy at the center of the movie, Donny. This infectious kid, really hard not to like,  had so much enthusiasm for the enterprise that I felt compelled to at least give it a look.

Full disclosure. You will not witness any fishporn in this particular video. Donny had plenty of luck fishing during my filming effort, he caught plenty of legal northern pike,  but I was never present to see any of his swag. Instead, the film that got captured is really a intensive look at this quiet and reflective activity on the last day of  a fine season of trophy fishing.

I wish I could give you the backstory but suffice to say that Donny has not always had things go his way. But his simple joy and sparse surroundings make me think that I have overlooked some of the unspoken qualities of ‘the ice fisherman’.

If your careful, you’ll observe our lovely state capitol (currently under siege by state employees perhaps hoping beyond hope to retain their CBA’s).

Posted February 22, 2011 by Stephen in Uncategorized

Pheasant Branch in February   1 comment

I found myself walking through the Pheasant Branch Conservancy this morning and took some snapshots. It is a really pretty place to visit.

Pheasant Branch Creek, Middleton, WI

Pheasant Branch Creek, Middleton, WI

 

Trail along Pheasant Branch Creek

Trail along Pheasant Branch Creek

Pheasant Branch Creek, Middleton, WI

Pheasant Branch Creek, Middleton, WI

Fly Tying Night at “On The Creek” fly shop   Leave a comment

Stephen Rose and I headed over to Cross Plains last Thursday afternoon to visit Nick Volk at the On The Creek fly shop. Black Earth Creek is just outside, and rumor has it there are some nice-sized fish lurking beneath the footbridge.

Every Thursday, starting mid-afternoon and going until later at night, a group of six to a dozen fishermen get together to tie, swap stories reveal the secret locations of their favorite honey holes, and partake in the pleasures of food and drink.

On The Creek fly shop, Cross Plains, WI

On The Creek fly shop, Cross Plains, WI

I was fortunate to meet six men (regulars, you might say) who’ve spent a considerable amount of time seeking trout, including Paul Julius, the head honcho of the P.J. Julius Rod Company. My knowledge of trout fishing is like a strand of dubbing in their collective box of flies.

P.J. Julius Bamboo Fly Rods

P.J. Julius Bamboo Fly Rods

In addition I got to meet Mike Johnson, a Cross Plains fisherman who resides online at the blog Montana of the Midwest . One thing I’ve enjoyed about the offseason is getting to meet other trout fishermen. I look forward to meeting many more in the coming season.

I honed my tying skills as well, working on Grizzly Wulff flies. The first one I tied on Thursday night was given a positive but tepid review by the men in attendance, but after looking at a Grizzly Wulff stocked by the shop, and getting some pointers on the scale of the hackles, I tied a second that was much nicer and met the approval of everyone who saw it. “That’ll catch a fish” was the line I remember.

Real Good Beer
Real Good Beer

 

And to top it all off, I got a piece of homemade chocolate poundcake to go with my Furthermore Beer. Thanks a lot to Nick and everyone there for a great time. I’ll be back!