Archive for April 2012

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I’m going to take the challenge! Might be tricky with no trout fishing until next weekend, but what the hell…

How Small A Trout

Every Day in MayEvery Day in May is a blogging challenge issued by How Small A Trout, A Fresh Start, and Memoirs of a Flygirl. Other bloggers are jumping in. Don’t get left behind!

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS: POST TO YOUR BLOG EVERY DAY IN MAY. Cinchy! Mayfly hatches, spring runoff, spawning fish, tulips, debauched May Day pagan rituals—blog it all. Blog to learn, blog to remember, blog to forget. Document May, the whole thing. We’re providing prompts for each day if you need them, but feel free to interpret, misinterpret, or post whatever you like.

Are you up to it..?

To accept the challenge and pass it on, reblog this kick-off post and graphic, then tag your May posts with “every day in May”. Don’t worry if you see this and May is already here; there are no late fees nor penalties for early withdrawal. To…

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Posted April 30, 2012 by troutseeker in Wisconsin

A Little Success on WBSR   3 comments

Stephen Rose and I finally got out today and did some fishing together. Seems like we’ve only had a few opportunities to fish together this season, and it’s always a pleasure.

Before hitting the West Branch of the Sugar River, we stopped for some coffee and blueberry scones at Mary’s Coffee Express in Mount Horeb. The scones were delicious. Stop by and grab one next time you’re in the Driftless.

We hit the water around 9am this morning and had some fish on right away. I was fishing an olive woolly worm and had two very vigorous takes immediately after the fly hit the water. Same thing happened to Stephen, who was fishing a bead head nymph. But then, nothing.

The wind seemed to whip up and the weather changed a bit, getting cloudy and cool. I’m wondering if that had some effect on the fish activity. Hard to say, but that’s my excuse for coming up with bupkuss from there on.

Stephen did a little spinner fishing on the way back to the car but couldn’t roust any trout, even with that very reliable method.

So, no skunkage, which I’ll take, and the scone was awfully good!

This Sunday is your last opportunity to fish for Trout in Wisconsin…   5 comments

…for a whole five days!!!!!

In Wisconsin we have a silly break in fishing between the “Early Inland Trout” season and the “General Inland Trout” season. This break is important for one of many reasons (I can’t decide which one makes sense though).

  • The stocking trucks need anglers off the streams so they can dump fish in for the May 5th “take a trout or ten home” day.
  • The wild trout in the streams need a week to prepare themselves to be filleted.
  • The game wardens need a week off to regain their strength before a season of checking angler liscenses.
  • The trout regulations are more interesting with an increased number of “seasons”.
  • Business owners in Wisconsin need the week off to deposit the money they’ve made off Chicago anglers since March 3rd.
  • Fly fishermen need the week off to tie and restock their fly boxes.
  • Angling Husbands need the week off to work on that “Honey-Do” list they’ve been neglecting, and to re-establish diplomatic relations with their spouses.
  • Wanna-be filmmakers need the week off to edit and publish their “extreme fly fishing” videos to youtube.
  • Fishermen who use internet forums to talk about stuff need the week off to come up with a sign-off more creative than “Tight Lines!”

 

I'm so confused!

I'm so confused!

 

SWTU & Vermont Creek   1 comment

I am posting this in hopes of stirring any and all to get out there and help fix up the stream that provided the fish from Tom’s last post.

These are a real nice bunch of folks doing great work on behalf of the rest of us.

Thanks to all who might entertain joining in the fun.

I was told there will be 8 sawyers available so alot of work could be accomplished and the picnic might lead to a brand new network of secrets!

Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited

All members of Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited and the local community are invited to join us for a streamside workday event and picnic. Help out at the workday, join us for a tasty picnic, or both!

Please sign up for the workday with Steve Wald at 608-836-3338 or at sewald101@gmail.com.

What: An SWTU workday on Vermont Creek followed by a picnic.

When: Saturday, April 28th. The work will be done from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM and the picnic will be from 12:00 – 2:00 PM.

Where:
Workday – Vermont Creek @ Danz Dr in Black Earth
Picnic – Veteran’s Memorial Park

Directions:
Workday – From Highway 14/State Street in Black Earth, head south on Highway 78/Mills Street for a quarter mile and then turn west on to Webb Street. Take a right on Warner Street and then another right on to Danz Drive.

Picnic – From From Highway 14/State Street in Black Earth, head south on Highway 78/Mills Street for a half mile. The park is on the east side of the street.

What to Bring:
Please bring your own water for the work day, as well as sunscreen and bug spray for the ticks. Plan to bring work gloves as well as loppers and hand saws.

Everyone needs to sign a release form for the work day. Volunteers under 17 will need a parent or guardian signature.

Cancellation:
Visit the calendar at swtu.org to check the event status in case of bad weather.

This email was sent to stephencrose@gmail.com by admin@swtu.org |
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Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited | P.O. Box 14352 | Madison | WI | 53708-4352

Posted April 26, 2012 by Stephen in Vermont Creek

oh Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi Again…   7 comments

Here are some shots of my outing to Lodi Spring Creek recently. I had a great time and caught about a dozen fish. That is a beautiful little creek full of springs. Go check it out sometime.

 

That's one ugly Brown Trout!

That's one ugly Brown Trout!

 

A Pretty little Rainbow

A Pretty little Rainbow

 

Oh, so that's what a Brown Trout is supposed to look like...

Oh, so that's what a Brown Trout is supposed to look like...

 

Some dry fly success was had!

Some dry fly success was had!

 

I love how these fish slam dry bugs!

I love how these fish slam dry bugs!

 

Just a baby.

Just a baby.

 

My "Happy-but-Cool" face.

My "Happy-but-Cool" face.

 

Exhibit A - Tom not at work, as recorded by Tom's own foot.

Exhibit A - Tom not at work, as recorded by Tom's own foot.

 

Brook Trout Stocking Report from Len Harris   2 comments

Len Harris (you know Len Harris, right?) has a nice report on club-reared Brook Trout stocked in Driftless area streams. Give it a read. And tell Len “Hello”.

http://lenharris.blogspot.com/2012/04/locals-making-difference.html

Len’s report says the DNR gives these clubs fingerlings and the clubs raise them for one year before releasing them. One question I have, that I’ve asked Len about, is where the DNR gets the fingerlings? Do they collect eggs and roe from wild Brook Trout? I would hope so, in order to keep the genetics of these fish strong. The Pacific Northwest is having a raging debate right now about hatchery-raised fish competing with wild salmon and steelhead. Is something similar happening in Wisconsin?

Black Earth Creek is Not My B*tch   20 comments

I was hoping to own BEC this spring. I’ve put in my time and read up on techniques. Every night when I’m drifting off to sleep I think I’ve got it all figured out, and that my next cast on Black Earth Creek will yield a big fat Brown Trout.

But it hasn’t worked out that way. The closest I’ve gotten to landing trout is foul-hooking two Browns. Otherwise I’ve laid a big fat egg. Nuthin’. I haven’t given up. I know they’re in there. My casting with weighted rigs is getting much better. It’s bound to turn around for me, I know it.

But yesterday I had a conversation with a co-worker, Matt, who is an outdoorsman, but not an experienced trout fisherman. He and a buddy took Monday off to go trout fishing. They were slinging crank baits on Black Earth Creek. From the banks. No waders. Anyway, Matt’s first cast of the day, into the tail of a pool “just off the highway” landed him a 12″ brown. His third cast, to the same spot, landed him a 20″ brown! Dammit! I’ve never landed a spring creek trout over 17″, and he gets a 20-incher on his third cast!

Moments later his buddy landed not one, but two over 20 inches from the head of the pool. Matt says they’ve got it all on video.

You know what’s funny? I was on Black Earth Creek over lunch at the same damn time Matt and his friend were. But what did I get? A bunch of wind knots and a foul-hooked 9″ brown trout.

Remind me again why I don’t pick up my spinning rod once in a while?

 

Fly Fishing (but not Catching)

Fly Fishing (but not Catching)

 

 

Black Earth Creek Water Monitoring Stations   4 comments

I stopped in at On the Creek Fly Shop yesterday to pick up a new leader and some pliers from Todd Opsal, and when I pulled on the handle to open the door to the shop, it was locked. A sign on the door said “I’m upstream of the bridge watching the stream survey crew. If you need me, holler.”

I walked upstream and found Todd talking with fellow fisherman Zach (nice meeting you Zach!), who was heading up to Avalanche on the West Fork of the Kickapoo to spend a few days fishing with his two brothers. Lucky bastard. Anyway, Todd and I got to talking and he mentioned that the fine for harvesting fish in the early season is something like $100 per fish along with another general fine and suspension of your license. This got us to talking about how much a land owner could be charged for triggering a fish kill (say, a farmer spreads manure right before a heavy rain).

2001 Black Earth Creek Fish Kill Report

In 2009, four “Real-Time Water Quality Monitors” were installed at various locations between Cross Plains and Black Earth to monitor water temp, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, turbidity, and pH. These parameters are monitored and if thresholds are met, fisheries managers can be alerted to conditions that may induce a fish kill. The monitoring stations can also collect water samples that allow analysis of pollutants in the water during such an event.

 

BEC Stream Monitor

BEC Stream Monitor

 

BEC Stream Monitor Sites

BEC Stream Monitor Sites

 

If the source of pollutants (fertilizer, manure, etc) responsible for the fish kill is pinpointed to a particular location, the fine for the landowner is as much as $25 per fish. If a mile of stream has experienced a fish kill, and the estimated fish density is 3,000 fish per mile, the fine would be in the neighborhood of $75,000!

A few things about all this are intriguing to me…

  1. Each fish I catch has a value of $25 to the state of Wisconsin. That’s a measure of the money that goes in to our fisheries, but it is also a measure of the economic value of high-quality trout streams, the money that having this resource brings to our state through tourism.
  2. I told Todd that being a landowner along a trout stream now seems like a liability. He countered that streamside landowners get tax breaks for being responsible landowners and adhering to practices that keep the stream healthy.
  3. I’ve heard it said by some that the DNR has an unbalanced amount of power in Wisconsin. That argument could certainly be made when you consider a $75,000 fine against a landowner. But, that waterway is a public resource and if it wasn’t managed by an agency with some teeth behind it, the resource probably wouldn’t be worth a damn anyway. My barber is from Thailand and he told me that people fish with explosives in Thailand because the enforcement of regulations there is weak. So now the fisheries there are in big trouble.

To bring this all back around, Todd mentioned that fish numbers in Black Earth Creek have been steadily rising since the introduction of these Water Quality Monitoring Stations. Point and Non-Point pollutants have decreased significantly since 2009, likely because of the ability for fisheries managers to determine the source of pollutants. I imagine it has also “inspired” property owners to implement stream-friendly practices like crop planting buffers and such.

If I owned a farm along a trout stream I would be motivated to “get it right”, both for the sake of the stream and to avoid the fines. Farming is not easy, and regulations enforced by a powerful government agency don’t make it any easier. I suppose it’s a matter of your view of your place in the broader community. Water is a resource that we all depend on for life and well-being, and it is something we share. It should be protected, and I for one am glad to see that efforts to protect Black Earth Creek are paying off.

 

Rich Osthoff Books on Nymphing   8 comments

I recently bought two books by Rich Osthoff, who lives in Mauston, Wisconsin. The books focus on long-line nymphing for trout when there’s “No Hatch to Match”, a common occurrence in our Driftless Region trout streams.

 

Active Nymphing by Rich Osthoff

Active Nymphing by Rich Osthoff

 

I’ll report back with insights learned from these books. And hopefully I’ll have plenty more stories of success catching fish as well.

 

Nymph Rigging - From "Active Nymphing" by Rich Osthoff

Nymph Rigging - From "Active Nymphing" by Rich Osthoff