Archive for the ‘Big Spring Creek’ Category

The Virtues of a Guide   1 comment

I’ve been a guided client a few times in my life. I never thought much about how the guide felt during the experience. A guide’s job is to shepherd you through an activity that they know a great deal about, not only teaching you how to do it, but also going a step further to make sure that you are actually having some success while under their tutelage.

What I mean by this is, if you haven’t done something before, you will obviously need to learn a bit about it before you can do it, unless you’re bungee jumping, I suppose. Not much learning there, I wouldn’t think.

Bungee jumping is an easy thing to do successfully, even if you’ve never strapped in to a bungee cord before. The “guide” who shepherds you through the bungee jumping process does arguably half the job of a fishing guide or mountaineering guide.


A newly-made fly fisherman, learning to cast to a dinner plate-sized target.

A newly-made fly fisherman, learning to cast to a dinner plate-sized target.


A fishing guide must show the client how to approach the water, how to cast, where to cast, what to use, how to adjust, and on and on, all the while working his damnedest to find the fish and get them to take the fly so the client can feel successful.

Last November when Stephen Rose and I went up to the Brule and hired Tim Pearson as a guide to show us how to fish for Steelhead, I was generally satisfied to understand the what and the how. I was hoping to catch a fish, but it wasn’t something I expected. If I were to learn the ways of fishing for Steelhead I knew I could return year after year and put that knowledge to use to have success.

But Tim had a serious look of relief when both Stephen and I had each caught a fish. And now I understand why.


A cold water spring dumping out of the hillside in Iowa County, Wisconsin

A cold water spring dumping out of the hillside in Iowa County, Wisconsin


Showing Eric the ways of spring creek fly fishing on Saturday, I was happy with the job I did teaching him the “how”. I believe he could go out and gear up, hit the water, and make casts to likely holding lies. And if you do that enough, you’ll catch a fish.

I really, really wish I could have gotten a fish onto Eric’s line, but it didn’t happen. I’ve heard stories of clients who were angry with their guides when the didn’t feel like they got their quota of fish. I can’t imagine how I’d handle a client who acted that way, but I know that’s what paying clients expect from a day out with a fishing guide. That’s a big reason for hiring the guide.

Eric was a model client, and I really appreciated that. There was not a hint of blame from him, indeed just the opposite. He showed an appreciation and new knowledge for the challenges of spring creek fly fishing. Eric can do what he pleases with the skills and knowledge he picked up on Saturday. Hopefully the skunking won’t deter him from trying for trout another day.

As for me, I can’t say I’m longing for another chance to be a guide. It was a pleasant day out with a new friend, but I can see how a fisherman who turns his hobby into a job by becoming a guide might start to have mixed feelings about fishing. I plan to get out and teach others to fish, and hopefully more often than not, we’ll get some fish on that line of theirs.


Eric executing a nice roll cast to waiting trout.

Eric executing a nice roll cast to waiting trout.



Big Spring Creek   Leave a comment

Big Spring Creek: A crease in the earth

Last Sunday my fishing partner and I went to Big Spring Creek south of Muscoda. We had an enjoyable time and caught some fish too.

The first section we fished was below Pine Tree Road where you’re allowed two fish each to catch for a meal. Stephen caught a keeper brookie right off the bat but let it go. His luck ran dry for a good long time after that.

I did all right, landing two Browns and a Brookie.

Big Spring Brook Trout

The author with a Big Spring Brown Trout

Big Spring Brown Trout

We stuck with Panther Martin #6 gold and silver spinners through this entire stretch. We cast into pools and along the water cress on either side of the creek where the fish were hiding out of sight. The fish in the last photo above is a 13-inch Brown that nailed my lure just as it was hitting the water. 

Big Spring Creek, Grant County, Wisconsin

Finally, Stephen landed the beauty below and we had our limit of keepers.

Stephen Rose with a Brookie from Big Spring Creek

We thought we’d try some fishing further downstream, maybe to hook into something bigger. We went to the Blue River below its confluence with Big Spring Creek. The water was very murky and the walking was sloppy.

We decided to turn around and fish Big Spring some more, this time about 1/4 mile downstream of the bridge where Big Spring Road crosses. 

Stephen had success again, finding a beautiful 14-inch Brookie in a deep hole along the hill in the shade. This fish put up an awesome fight, powering its head down into cover and making its displeasure known. But in the end Stephen brought the fish to hand.

Stephen Rose with a 15" Brook Trout from Big Spring Creek

More action was had below the bridge at Big Spring Road. There is an enormous hole above, under, and downstream of the bridge. I’m guessing at least 10-feet deep and as big as a swimming pool. You could do cannonballs off the bridge into this hole.

I had switched to a #4 Panther Martin Brook Trout pattern lure, and got lucky, landing first a Brookie and second a Brown. My approach was to cast under the bridge, count to 10 to be sure the lure was near the bottom, and crank the reel quickly. Both fish were caught the moment I started my retrieve, and they were deep.

A hefty Brook Trout from Big Spring Creek

A Big Spring Brown Trout caught below the bridge at Big Spring Road.

This bridge will be my first stop next time I visit, instead of my last. Fishing this hole at dawn would be fairly incredible, I’m sure.

This catch and release only area makes me wonder when or if the regulations will be adjusted to allow “catch and kill” or as I like to call it, “catch and eat”. There are numerous fish of all sizes, likely thousands per mile. Do the regulations ever get evaluated after Habitat Improvement work has been done on a section of stream? It seems to me this section could handle catch and eat regulations, don’t you think?

Lastly, we hiked up the trail to see the Big Spring itself. Ice cold and beautiful. Looks like a Smoky Mountain Spring Creek according to Stephen. We plan to take our boys back here to have some fun in the water. The fishing wasn’t much upstream of the bridge. Pretty shallow and not many features for trout to hide and feed in.

Big Spring Creek Cascade

View from the top of the cascade at Big Spring

Even though the weather was clear and sunny, as opposed to cloudy and drizzling, we still caught fish. A nice outing all around! Get out there and fish!

Posted August 19, 2010 by troutseeker in Big Spring Creek

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