Archive for May 2011

More Baetis Success   Leave a comment

After fruitless effort during the first thirty minutes of my fishing time today I gave it one last shot. Actually I was about to do the responsible thing and go back to work after snapping off my pink squirrel on some underwater object, but as I was leaving I saw a trout rising to Blue Winged Olives consistently in a spot I hadn’t targeted on this fine day, so I decided for one last attempt to connect with a trout.

I had to tie on a new 5X tippet because the previous tippet had snapped off in the aforementioned incident the with aforementioned unseen object. So I unspooled my leader and some line from my reel, tied on a new tippet with a double surgeon’s knot, tied on a size 18 elk hair caddis, and realized I hadn’t threaded my line through my rod guides. No worries though. A size 18 fly is small enough to fit through all the guides on my 3-wt rod.

So, anyway, I managed to do all this without spooking the fish, which I assumed would be another 6-inch toddler trout. Making a terrifically difficult but stunning backhanded cast and avoiding any entanglements, I presented the fly at intervals of increasing distance, hoping to avoid spooking the fish in this very still pool. On about the sixth cast I had put the fly right above the area where I’d seen the fish sipping flies. I let it sit. Nothing. More nothing. Then, something!

I had barely noticed the slight tug in my line, but I tested to see if I’d made a connection. I don’t recall seeing any fish lips breaking the surface of the mirror-smooth pool, but they must have because my rod was suddenly bent over. I tugged to set the hook and gave the reel a spin. The tension was gone and I wasn’t sure if I’d kept the fish on. The logical place for this fish to make a run was downstream, toward me, and I suppose that’s what it was doing. So I cranked the reel as quickly as I could to keep any hint of tension possible on the line, but it was tough keeping up with that fish.

Then I saw that it was in fact a respectable fish. When I saw him, he saw me, and he turned back upstream to the pool. I let the reel reverse as he made a run back up. I was worried about breaking that size 18 hook off. But I didn’t. I played that nice fish back to me without incident and it was a very enjoyable conversation he and I carried out via that fishing line.

He sure didn’t want to hold still for me to scoop him out of the water for a picture, but I finally got my hand under his belly and brought him out. What a terrific fish and a memorable catch! A picture and then back in he went, and back to work I went…

Black Earth Creek Brown Trout, 13-inches, on an Elk Hair Caddis

Black Earth Creek Brown Trout, 13-inches, on an Elk Hair Caddis

Black Earth Creek on this Fine Day   Leave a comment

Over lunch I hit BEC and had an interesting, enjoyable time.

First off, what a beautiful day! 80-degrees and it finally feels like spring has bullied its way onto the scene. Second, I fished today without waders since I was only out for a short time. I found it freeing to not be burdened by the extra luggage and time required to put on waders and boots. But I also found that I needed to be in the water to achieve the presentations I hoped for. So off with the shoes and socks, hike up the pants, and I’m good to go.

Was the water cold? Yes. But after a few minutes my feet numbed to the cold and to the discomfort of walking over small stones, so I guess it worked out for the best.

Now for the fishing. I started off slinging a large streamer to see about getting some large trout action in a large hole. Pretty large idea, eh? I thought so too. But nobody in the water seemed to care for my large streamer (I’m talking a 6″ long yellow pike fly). Oh well. I then tied on an egg sucking leech and got a little action down deep, but lost the fish. It was probably a 12″-er, but it was hard to tell how large because it was deep down in that 7-foot hole.

While tying on that leech pattern a fish rose to hit a blue-winged olive type bug. They, along with midges, were hatching, though sparsely. So after the leech yielded nothing I tied on an elk hair caddis, probably a number 18. First cast and a decent fish, perhaps the one I lost the leech, rose to slam it. But either it spit the fly or I reacted too quickly and I had a line full of nothin’ on the end of my rod.

While fishing this large hole I heard, then saw, fish rising to these Baetis bugs. I  mosey’d downstream to a nice spot to cast and fired the elk hair fly to the exact spot I saw a fish rise. BAM! I pulled the trigger too soon again and missed it. But a few casts later to that same locale and I had my fish. Wonderful! It is such a joy to fish by sight, to set the hook based on seeing a fish strike.

I had a couple more minutes before needing to return to my car and to work, and I cast to a few different places where I’d seen fish rising. I got one more hookup before my time on the creek ran out.

I know it seems silly but I suppose those of you who’ve had the pleasure of carefully casting a dry fly to rising fish can understand my joy in catching silly little Brown Trout on surface patterns. There’s something satisfying about fooling a fish so thoroughly.

Small Brown Trout on Elk Hair Caddis, Black Earth Creek

Small Brown Trout on Elk Hair Caddis, Black Earth Creek

Get out there!   2 comments

My parents took me out into the wild with them and I’m grateful for it. The “wilderness” of the Driftless Region has a lot to discover, not the least of which is good fishing. I’ve seen turtles, deer, beaver, skunk, herons, otters, frogs, and an enormous number of plants and rock formations.

I’m blessed to have boys who are game when it comes to stepping outside. It pays to expose our kids to the wild lands around them. I’m better off for having done it as a kid, and I’m happy to expose my own children to it, and they seem to love it!

Stephen Rose with his son at Love Creek, March 2011

Stephen Rose with his son at Love Creek, March 2011

 

Tom A-B with Bode and Stephen's son, Love Creek, March 2011

Tom A-B with Bode and Stephen's son, Love Creek, March 2011

 

Content after a day outside

Content after a day outside

Opening Day With My Son   1 comment

My 8-year-old son Bode had been asking for a few weeks when fishing season would be starting. He’s been anxious to get out and catch some fish. He wanted to go to Lake Wingra nearby, but the bite there has been slow in starting up, due to the cool spring we’ve had (I think). I talked him into heading to a trout creek instead. I’m glad I did!

Into the truck we went, and Stephen drove us up to Lodi Spring Creek. We fished a section west of town and found some very productive areas. Stephen fished with wooly buggers on his fly rod and had some good success, finding a nice spot where 4 fish were caught and released, and several more that charged his fly but didn’t take.

Bode and I worked downstream from Stephen and found a couple of nice holes for him to toss a #9 silver Panther Martin in. At first he got lots of  “bumps” on the lure but no hookups. But after a dozen casts he pulled out a nice 12″ rainbow. We were both jazzed about it!

Bode with his first fish of 2011, a 12" Rainbow

Bode with his first fish of 2011, a 12" Rainbow

 

Bode caught another fish too, a 10″ Brown Trout. Both were taken home at Bode’s request and fried in butter with garlic and herbes de Provence. We both enjoyed our first trout dinner of the season.

Next week we’ll put our rowboat in at the marina in Lake Wingra and it’ll be panfish mayhem, but with this successful trout stream outing under his belt, I’m hoping Bode will join me often on forays into the Driftless, to take in the beauty of the land and the adventure of fishing my favorite creeks.

Are You Ready?!   1 comment

Tomorrow is opening day in Wisco’s Driftless Region (well, the rest of the state too). Here’s to a fun and fruitful season!

Rigging Up

Rigging Up

Working a riffle

Working a riffle

The Driftless – It Slows Me Down   3 comments

What do I love about the Driftless Region of Wisconsin? It slows me down. It flushes the fumes of Madison from me. The beauty of the place is a salve for my soul. I can’t wait to return and soak in some more Driftless.

After fishing for a couple hours yesterday evening, Stephen and I were ready to get back in the car and return to the comfort of our homes. But when I woke up this morning I was longing for the place again. I always knew the Driftless was beautiful, and a drive along Hwy 14 was a novel retreat. But since last summer, when I fell in love with a fish named Trout, I have an entirely new appreciation for how special the Driftless is.

I could spend a long time here

I could spend a long time here

This man, Stephen Rose, is excited about the Driftless Region

This man, Stephen Rose, is excited about the Driftless Region

This little guy gets me out to the Driftless, but he's only part of the draw

This little guy gets me out to the Driftless, but he's only part of the draw

This is the freakin' womb of Mother Nature, people!

This is the freakin' womb of Mother Nature, people!

Sensuality in Nature   Leave a comment

Spring Water, Baraboo Hills, Wisconsin

Spring Water, Baraboo Hills, Wisconsin