Archive for June 2012

Hex Hassles – The Video   9 comments

Hello everyone!

Here’s a video I put together of my outing earlier this week. Please excuse the ADOBE banner across the frame. I’m using a trial version to see if I want to buy Premiere. So far I like it.

 

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Hexagenia Hassles   4 comments

Last night I did a little in-the-field empirical data gathering regarding that wonderful winged creature called the Hexagenia Limbata. I think the whole affair put a hex on my lumbago, but it was kind of a cool experience.

I’ll set the scene.

I motorcycled 30 minutes west to a “top secret” spot on Black Earth Creek. I arrived creekside at about 8:25. To my delight there weren’t any other anglers around. The wind was light, the sun was setting behind the trees, and I was eagerly anticipating some epic action.

After parking myself along the creek I noticed a few fish rising. I cast to them using some smaller caddis patterns, emergers, even nymphs, but no luck.

At around 9:30 the water began to come alive. There were tiny little rise forms all over, and very subtle “popping” sounds, almost like someone had thrown a Rice Crispie into the water here and there.

 

Tiny Riseforms on Black Earth Creek

Tiny Riseforms on Black Earth Creek

 

 

The fish started to come alive, but it wasn’t a frenzy. I tied on a #14 caddis pattern and had a few swipes at it, but didn’t connect. It’s tough to sight fish in the dark.

I waited some more, listening to the bullfrogs call out to one another. The moon was up, the mosquitoes were few, and the sounds of the night were all around.

 

Waiting for something to happen...

Waiting for something to happen…

 

Then another flurry of activity. It was now about 9:45. This time I thought for sure the hex hatch was beginning. Slowly at first, then with more regularity, there were “things” happening. Just what those things were I couldn’t tell. I had a nice view of the water with the moon reflecting off it’s surface, and I could see bugs skating along on the film like tiny motorboats seen from an airplane. But I wasn’t spotting the beautiful sails of those Hex bugs. I was expecting a swarm of hex flies carpeting the water and the sky, but it didn’t happen.

 

A few bugs on BEC

A little motorboat bug on BEC

 

I took some flash pics and upon reviewing them today, I believe there may have been a few Hex flies in the mix, but for the most part it was a mixed bag. See for yourself.

 

Some Bugs hatching after dark on BEC

Some Bugs hatching after dark on BEC

 

Is that a Hex?

Is that a Hex?

 

Fly away!

Fly away!

 

Caddis on BEC

Caddis on BEC

 

After this hatch stopped popping, things quieted down. I sat until about 10:30, decided to go home, then convinced myself that maybe the Hex would still emerge. But they didn’t. There’s something about sitting out in nature well into the night. You hear sounds you don’t hear during the day. Like crunching grass and Bullfrogs. And very large fish eating things off the surface of the creek.

Do you know how a little fish sounds when it slams a bug off the surface of the water? It sounds small. Quick. Sharp.

A big fish sounds large. The sounds of it splashing takes up more space in the spectrum of audible wavelengths. The sound of it on the surface is bracketed on either end by the sound of it rising and returning to the depths.

I heard this sound last night, but only once or twice. Big fish only rise when it’s worthwhile. It startled me and then left me longing to hear it again.

I hope to return some night to see the Hex hatching out of the mud, to see those little-but-big sails drifting along on the water, to see the frenzy that occurs when the fish realize it’s time to eat. And maybe to catch a few of those big fish who’ll surely come out to play.

 

 

 

Various Stuff   5 comments

After spending another half-week in LA last week, I had a night at home on Thursday and then took off for Cedarburg with my two dogs and three sons to visit my folks. My dad’s cousing Lee Swenson was in town for a short visit from Palo Alto, CA. The last time I saw Lee was in 1993, when I was 15. I enjoyed spending time with him in San Francisco then, and had an equally nice time with him over the weekend. At age 68 he still backcountry skis on Telemark skis in the high Sierras and does a fair bit of mountaineering as well. Lee took a shine to my dog Louie. Lee grew up with a dog but hasn’t had one since, and he and Louie got along like old buddies.

 

Lee Swenson and Louie in Cedarburg, WI

Lee Swenson and Louie in Cedarburg, WI

 

Lee had visited Taliesin the day before we saw him, and he couldn’t say enough about the beauty of Southern Wisconsin. He said the farms were just the right size, there were healthy crops everywhere, and beautiful deciduous tree-covered hills everywhere you looked. I couldn’t agree more.

I took a little time Saturday morning to fish for Smallmouth on the Milwaukee River in Grafton, Wisconsin. The section I fished runs through Lime Kiln Park and used to be dammed up. But the dam came down last year and the river is vibrant and free-flowing. I landed a couple of 6″ bass, but enjoyed myself nonetheless in this scenic, healthy river just 15 minutes north of Milwaukee.

 

The Milwaukee River in Grafton, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee River in Grafton, Wisconsin

 

This morning I took a little time to fish my home waters of Black Earth Creek. I landed a nice rainbow in this section along with one smaller brown. Both were on nymphs. I tried dries of many shapes and sizes but the fish were not rising this morning. The creek is really blooming with aquatic plants, making clean sub-aquatic drifts difficult. But the fish are there and the water is clear and lovely, so I can’t complain too much.

 

Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

 

I’m scheming to take a little trip in July to Crawford and Vernon Counties, Wisconsin’s trout mecca, in my opinion. My birthday is in July and I have a willing co-conspiritor in one Mr. Stephen Rose, so hopefully that will be etched in stone shortly. It is almost July, after all. I do believe I’ll catch an armload of fish on a few of my favorite Driftless streams when that trip comes to pass.

 

 

Canyonlands   Leave a comment

I flew over this today. I’m guessing it’s the Colorado River. Pretty incredible geography.

Posted June 21, 2012 by troutseeker in Wisconsin

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Hollywood Dogs   3 comments

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Posted June 20, 2012 by troutseeker in Wisconsin

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A Series of E-Mails   2 comments

June 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM

From: Tom

To: Stephen

Hope these work. Craig at Fontana had some encouraging success stories of night fishing on BEC and said the hex hatch has started. Last year he caught a 23-inch brown on a hex.

 

Hexagenia Limbata and Mouse flies

Hexagenia Limbata and Mouse flies

 

June 11, 2012 at 6:41 PM

From: Stephen

To: Tom

Interesting.

Were you serious about bringing a larger rod along tonight?

 

Tom rigging up for late evening June trout fishing

Tom rigging up for late evening June trout fishing

 

June 12, 2012 at 7:27 PM

From: Tom

To: Stephen

I am planning to fish tomorrow morning at [REDACTED]. Planning to leave by 4:20. Interested?

 

Wednesday morning on Black Earth Creek

Wednesday morning on Black Earth Creek

 

June 13, 2012 at 8:34 AM

From:Stephen

To: Tom

Did you go this morning?

I opted out as I stayed up too late with the boys watching the NBA finals.

I read this article this morning and thought it sounded like something that could be done right here in the Midwest as a moonlighting outfit.

It recalls our interest in the firehouse. How cool would it be to have a business begun that addresses all of our midwestern microbreweries!

That would be an awfully cool network to be a part of. And this could inevitably lead to making your own beer.

I could see the firehouse being used as a ‘malthouse’ and then selling microbrews and malted milks for kids using malt made right on the property. Then we could open a paddle board shop downstairs and let people test product down on the waterfront. I believe we would officially be rock stars after that. I would need to get some tattoos and a supermodel mistress.

Cool?

 

A "Stout 13-incher"

A “Stout 13-incher”

 

June 13, 2012 at 9:50 AM

From: Tom

To: Stephen

Yep, I’m in on the malt house/microbrew/paddleshop/mistress thing. I’ll have to read the article today and get back to you on what it all means.

I did go out today. I was out the door at about 4:45 and on the water at 5:15. I tried small stuff and big stuff on the surface, including the Hex Spinner that looks like a hummingbird on the water.

First fish landed was on a large stonefly nymph. It was a cool take. The nymph had just hit the water and was sinking when the fish came up from the deep and nailed it, coming out of the water in the process. It was a pretty stout 13-incher.

Then I landed a couple of smaller fish, maybe 8 inches, on a small nymph. I tried some more small dries because fish were surfacing randomly and sporadically and there were a very few little white bugs coming off. But a few hits and no hookups later, I went back to a mid-size nymph, that buggy thing with legs I got in LA, and I got one more beat up 13-inch Brown.

It was a beautiful morning.

Pics sometime today on the Blog.

Tom

 

 

...one more beat up 13-inch Brown

…one more beat up 13-inch Brown

 

June 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM

From: Stephen

To: Tom

Damn dude that is some pretty fine fishing for a couple hours on the water.

Nice! I look forward to seeing the pics.

I should have come along today. My calendar is virtually empty.

 

 

I should have come along today. My calendar is virtually empty.

I should have come along today. My calendar is virtually empty.

 

 

Driftless Hay Harvest and Night Fishing BEC   4 comments

Here’s a lovely scene I came across today in the Driftless. Wisconsin is a rich and fertile place.

 

The Season's First Hay Crop, Dane County Driftless Region, Wisconsin

The Season’s First Hay Crop, Dane County Driftless Region, Wisconsin

 

I passed the field above on my way back to work after visiting Todd Opsal at On the Creek Fly Shop in Cross Plains. I wanted to get a second opinion on mousing and the Hex hatch from Todd. On the Creek is closed on Mondays, so I went to Fontana Sports and talked with Craig Amacker, Fontana’s Fly Fishing expert. Craig pointed me toward the mouse flies and then told me the Hex hatch was starting up. So I bought a few Hex flies too.

Stephen Rose and I got out to the creek at around 8:15 with visions of 6lb trout in our eyes. There was a lot of feeding going on, but no Hex (more like midges) and no monster fish. We fished until about can’t-see-anymore O’clock and headed home, having caught two ten-inch fish on small dries. It beats a skunking, but didn’t come close to meeting our aspirations.

So I went to Cross Plains and sought out Todd, and I asked him what to do. We were taking the right approach, but the Hex hatch isn’t really “on” yet, they’re just starting to come out here and there. He suggested going out early in the morning and tossing a Hex spinner (a Hex with its wings laying down on the water). If fish hit it that morning, you know there was a decent hatch the night before. He also said many anglers claim that if the hatch isn’t off by 10pm it isn’t happening. But Todd tells a story of a night he spent on the creek when the hatch finally came off at 1am. Goes to show Mother Nature has her own agenda. Finally, the spot we fished last night is a bit too rocky in the stream bed for Hex to really thrive. Hex bugs like a firm clay bottom. They burrow into the clay to come of age, so finding sections with this firm, slippery clay is a must for Hex success.

With an upgrade in Hex knowledge I hope to get myself in the right place at the right time sometime this season. I can still see that six-pound Brown slamming my Hex pattern and giving me a nice ride.