Archive for April 2011

The Scene Today   Leave a comment



Posted April 29, 2011 by troutseeker in Uncategorized

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Tanks and Creeks   2 comments

Here is a pair of pictures that juxtapose the outing Stephen and I had with our kids on Sunday.

Heron, Bode, and Joe exploring a Baraboo creek

Heron, Bode, and Joe exploring a Baraboo creek

Heron, Bode, and Joe exploring a tank near Baraboo

Heron, Bode, and Joe exploring a tank near Baraboo

According to Bode, this was the best day. Ever.

Posted April 27, 2011 by troutseeker in Kids, Photography

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Baraboo Hills Trout   Leave a comment

Stephen and I fished a Baraboo Hills stream Sunday with our kids in tow. The kids had a great time exploring and Stephen and I caught about 15 Brook Trout on flies (without really trying).

Stephen Fishing a Baraboo area stream

Stephen Fishing a Baraboo area stream

Behavioral Drift of Aquatic Insects   3 comments

Have you found that fishing for trout in the morning or the evening gives you better action than fishing in the middle of the day. I have. I’ve always attributed it to water temp or trout hiding from the bright sunlight. These may be factors, but there’s another element that I just recently became aware of. Smart guys call it the Diurnaly Periodic Behavioral Drift of aquatic insects.
I call it bugs that let go and float downstream at around the same time every day.
Stephen yearning for some diurnal periodicity to help him catch some trout
Stephen yearning for some diurnal periodicity to help him catch some trout


Behavioral drift: The nymphs and larvae of many aquatic insects sometimes release their grip on the bottom and drift downstream for a while with synchronized timing. This phenomenon increases their vulnerability to trout just like emergence, but it is invisible to the angler above the surface. In many species it occurs daily, most often just after dusk or just before dawn.


Diurnal Periodicity had nothing to do with catching this fish. It was my good looks.
Diurnal Periodicity had nothing to do with catching this fish. It was my good looks.
According to Todd Opsal at On the Creek Fly Shop in Cross Plains (and, as it turns out, lots of other online resources), Behavioral Drift may play into the general increased success trout fishermen find when fishing before, during, and after the sunrise and sunset.
Diurnal Periodicity? Nope. Good Looks.
Diurnal Periodicity? Nope. Good Looks. 
I’m really looking forward to warmer days ahead. Last year I enjoyed fishing the cool mornings in July when the sun comes up at 5am and the fish are slammin’ bugs. Makes you want to set your alarm early, don’t it?
Okay, the key to success here was that this place was just so damn beautiful. I had nothing to do with it.
Okay, the key to success here was that this place was just so damn beautiful. I had nothing to do with it.

Wyoming, July 2010   Leave a comment

Last July, my wife Rebecca and I took a trip to the Grand Tetons and Jackson,  Wyoming with our good friend Courtney and Brian. Brian and I did some fly fishing, landing a total of three Cutthroats, while Courtney and Rebecca went shopping and on a day trip to Yellowstone. We spent a day together at Jenny Lake and Cascade Canyon as well.

This is beautiful country, no doubt about it. If you’ve never seen the Tetons in person, you will surely want to someday. They are breathtaking.

The trout water is very different from our spring-fed creeks, as they are reliant on snowmelt and precipitation, along with hatching insects that provide food for trout. Brian and I were told later that we likely fished too low for July conditions, and that we should have fished a bit higher in elevation. It is essential to find a reputable fly shop for advice on which rivers are in good shape each day.

I hope you enjoy the photos!

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Our friend Len Harris featured in Wisconsin State Journal   1 comment

Great article on a father-son duo who’ve been fishing with Len for six years…

Outdoors: Harris watches angler grow up

Posted April 14, 2011 by troutseeker in Uncategorized

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The White Wooly Bugger, Fly-Fishing vs Spinning, and the Tributaries of the Kickapoo   3 comments

Last week Tom and I took a sort of ‘last hurrah’ expedition to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve to get in some fishin’ before I embarked on a new job which might impinge on our ability to get out there as often as we might wish.

It was a great idea and great trip.

The story of this occasion was the "white wooly bugger".

Due to scheduling beyond our control, we felt that this was an opportune moment to give our “hammock camping” ambitions another go ’round. We left Madison at 10:30pm and made camp around 12:30am under cover of a moonless but starry night not far from our intended fishing spots.

Tom in a justly famous "Hennessey Hammock" after a pleasant evening.

The hammocks proved their virtues yet again as we strung them in minutes and were comfortable through the night. (doubled sleeping bags comes highly recommended)

I want to discuss a beautiful discovery I had while we fished. I had no real plan or strategy eked out for how I might approach the streams but I figured that this early in the season a hatch would be light at best and that nymphing would be our most likely presentation.  I had tied a number of white wooly buggers on the old adage, “light flies, light day, dark flies, dark day”. I am almost not interested in color patterns in flies at the moment. I tend towards the idea that profile trumps color in most fishing situations. Attraction can be brought about with metallic light catching materials but roygbiv seems irrelevant from my experience. This narrows my need for all kinds of varied materials when tying flies and limits indecision speeding production.  I’d love to hear what anyone else thinks about this as I have yet to read anything about the simple idea of using white or black flies as the baseline for virtually all patterns.

Anyway, my first usage of the white wooly bugger was a revelation. Where with most flies I felt some need to tie on a float to aid in  recognizing strikes, the white wooly bugger was plainly visible beneath the surface and the need for a float was negated. I could now cast with much greater comfort as my leader and tippet unfurled in continuous arcs without the ‘hinge-like’ effect that I find when using a float. I could watch the travel of the white fly all the way to a fish’s mouth. It was terrific!

My new favorite fly pattern.

When I cast my last white wooly bugger onto a lovely wall only to have it get hung up in a deep bend I was almost ready to get wet to salvage it. I spent the rest of the day thinking of that damn fly. I could see it under the surface just begging me to make a mistake trying to retrieve it.

I intend to tie plenty more of these over the coming months. I’ll use lots of lead and a beadhead so I can get it down deep and not have to add split shot which I find disturbs the travel of my line just the way a float does. If you’ve got to have weight it’s nice to have it in just one place. As you can see by the picture, Tom has me beat cold in the fly-tying department. I tie to fish and I’m not ashamed of it. At least, not yet.

On a larger note, I’d like to bring up an idea I recently read about in TU’s periodical “Trout”. I highly recommend checkin’ this out as it was filled with superlative stories on the restoration work going on in our state and beyond.

Here’s the thing: “discovery is the soul of angling”.

That’s it. That is about as irreduceable an idea as I can summon about why I love this activity. It just ain’t about the fish.

Here’s Tom taking his time with his next move. This is a picture of a fisherman in process.
The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is such a god-awfully beautiful place that ‘seekingtrout’ is it’s own reward.

A fresh and blooming skunk cabbage. Maybe fresh isn't the right word.

A moment of astonishing drama in the woodland dun.

A clutch of amphibian eggs beneath the reflection of a leafless canopy. Spring peepers, Cricket frogs, and Green frogs sang in the ephemeral ponds adjacent to the streams.

Last, I wanted to offer a riff about , yes, fly-fishing. Tom and I found that last season we could catch about as many fish as we could want on an ideal day with spinning gear. We worked a stream with an almost ruthless vigor. Spinning is a fast, athletic, and very productive method of fishing. But isn’t ‘productivity’ what our everyday back at work is about? Isn’t fishing sort of a moment where productivity isn’t the underlying motivation?

We fly-fished for probably eight hours. We did not catch fish as we might of with spinning gear or so we supposed. But we did find that we fished with greater intention and sometimes with a kind of grace that spinning gear doesn’t offer. There is, deep down, a kind of brutality to spinning gear that we both could not fail to notice when we switched over to spinning in the latest part of the day. This was an experiment. We wanted to see what happened to our day by changing our method.

I think we both came away rather surprised by how much we missed the slow and quiet presentation of the fly despite catching more fish.

It is hard to not be astonished no matter how many times you bring a brookie to hand.

I haven’t posted in awhile. I kind of been in a funk with what to say recently. This latest trip has revitalized my interest. I can’t wait to get back out there.