Archive for the ‘Vermont Creek’ Category

Too High to Fish   3 comments

What’s that? No, I haven’t been hanging out with the Rastafarians. I’m talking about the water being too high to fish.

Take a look at this picture of little Vermont Creek. Tough going if you’re a trout fisherman right now.

Vermont Creek after a month of snowmelt and rain

Vermont Creek after a month of snowmelt and rain


Even though no trout were caught, I did catch my personal best Sculpin today!


Mottled Sculpin on a wooly bugger, Vermont Creek

Mottled Sculpin on a wooly bugger, Vermont Creek



Vermont Creek on Monday Afternoon   3 comments

I have a few days of vacation that’ll expire in May unless I use them up, so every time I glanced out the window at work yesterday morning I thought to myself, “Self, it is a beautiful, sunny day outside, and it would be nice to go fishing this afternoon, out in that beautiful sunshine.”

I notified the boss-man of my intentions, called up my fishing buddy Stephen, and walked out into that sunshine at the crack of noon to go chase fish.

Stephen and I started fishing on BEC in the upper part of the drainage, but found the water a bit high and dirty, though Stephen did have a strike on his nymph.

I suggested we move to Vermont Creek to see how that trib to BEC was looking. So away we went to a nice meadow section of Vermont Creek. The water was colored but not torrential, and I felt good about our chances.

I fished a deep pool just off the road while Stephen walked a couple hundred yards downstream to find some nice bends. I didn’t have any takers for a while, but I stuck with it, roll-casting to avoid the tangles that come with false-casting in 20 mph winds. If you’re not using the roll cast as a regular part of your game, I would like to recommend that you start. Here’s a video that describes the technique well.

OK, now that you’re up to speed on the roll cast, you can paint a picture in your head of me standing in a field with a five foot wide trout stream running through it, wind whipping from right to left, and me roll casting halfway up a pool into stained moving water.

After a few dozen casts my biostrike indicator twitched. I lifted the rod tip and felt a pull, stripping in line to take up a little slack. I tried to strip more line in to raise the fish, but it wouldn’t come up. I held the line against my rod grip with my right index finger while my left hand reeled in the loop of line between my reel and my right hand. I now had the fish “on my reel”, so I could play it using the drag clutch on my reel. And to my surprise, it ran away with some line, making my reel buzz. It didn’t run far, maybe only ten feet, back and forth in the deepest part of the pool. But what fun it is to get a fish on the line in a little creek that has the power to take some line off your spool!

I hollered at Stephen that I had a nice fish on!!! And he walked back upstream while I played the fish enough to get it to rise. It was a nice fish. Not a monster. Not a twenty-incher. But a nice fish, bigger than most you’ll catch day after day in little spring creeks.

I scooped it up and posed for a photo. The best trout I’ve held since last March. Hopefully there’ll be more, and if I dare to dream, hopefully there’ll be bigger too.


Vermont Creek Brown, Sixteen and one half inches

Vermont Creek Brown, Sixteen and one half inches



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

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.

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

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.

Visit the calendar at to check the event status in case of bad weather.

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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

Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Work Day   3 comments

The Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited chapter organized a work day Saturday morning on a stream in Dane County. Stephen Rose and I went out to lend a hand. There were 34 volunteers clearing Buckthorn, Box Elder, and Honeysuckle away from the stream corridor, and in 3 hours we cleaned out over 1,000 feet of streambank. This section of the stream went from a choked up mess to a wonderful place to chase after trout and take in the beauty of a spring creek.

(Click on the picture below to see 13 more pictures from the cleanup day)

SWTU Cleanup - Photo Copyright James Beecher, 2012

SWTU Cleanup - Photo Copyright James Beecher, 2012


Kurt Welke, the Fisheries Manager for the South Central Region of Wisconsin, was on hand and working hard. He set aside some larger tree trunk sections that would be placed in a section of the stream that was wide, shallow, and silty. He said that the trunks would be used to alter the flow of the water to create faster flow, which would scour away the silt, deepen the stream, and oxygenate the water.

SWTU will be holding two more maintenance/cleanup projects this spring. One on March 17th and one in April. If you’re interested check out the chapter’s website at, or contact Conservation Committee Chairman Steve Wald ( for more information.

It feels really good to help transform an unusable section of stream into a beautiful trout fishing destination. Each section of stream we improve provides another trout fishing destination for all of us to enjoy. Come on out March 17th and help improve your trout fishery!

Skunked.   1 comment

Well so much for grand schemes.   After my recent post suggesting the value of rainfall I am shamefaced in admitting that early this morning I set out to Vermont Creek in hopes of catching every fish in the stream.

On our last visit, this stream was running very clear and I figured yesterday’s thunderstorm would  be just the thing to set up some ideal conditions.  Instead, I fished a stream that was too turbid and warm to even bother pulling out the gear.  In three hours not even a sign of fish.    The rainfall was significant enough to send this stream over its banks and made wading quite an unenviable chore.

I started out above the bridge on hwy JJ having gotten wind of some recent success by another fisherman.  Today this portion was almost un-navigable.  Before I entered the stream I found the super of a Joe Daniels construction crew waiting to plow into a 3500 ft stretch on the downstream side of the bridge that is scheduled for habitat improvements.  We spoke at length about the plan.   With one large bulldozer, one sizable backhoe and an even bigger digger the work is to be done by  a small crew of two to three guys without virtually any handwork to speak of.   He told me that this kind of work is highly prized right now because building is so slow.  Bids are competitive and difficult to secure.  All 3500 feet is scheduled for completion within 30 days.  Another section downstream is to be done next year.  A portion of the stream will actually be moved to accommodate a property owner.  Lots of riprap will be added but he mentioned little of particular features.  He mentioned that the salesman who secured the bid was a serious trout fisherman.  I guess that probably helps lubricate the process with the DNR.

Anyway, neither he nor I were destined for luck with our plans today.  The banks are saturated and his crew went home for the day as I should have done.

I fished for about 500 yards before  I decided wading in an unknown section of flooded stream is probably a bad idea.  I moved down to the HI area above the bridge on hwy KP hoping that my past experience in this section would help me work it with more skill.  Nothing Doing.  The same flooded mess was encountered here.  I worked every artificial I had as it felt like a good time to experiment.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am interested in finding success using weighted streamers on spinning gear.  I put  my  heaviest ones through trials but to no effect.  Because these baits are quieter than the spinners I’m inclined to believe that they are not a sound strategy on a really turbid stream unless they are significantly bright.  (mine were not)

A word or two about Panther Martins is warranted.  I have tried all kinds of other spinners and have concluded that the rest simply don’t measure up for performance.  Something about how the hole through the blade is farther aft than on other spinners appears to generate a good deal more liveliness and action.  With other spinners I often bring them in and find that the blade is simply not spinning at all and the lure has no “al-lure”.

The #9 Panther Martin is an idealized bait for casting on light gear.  It requires no extra lead to push it down into holes and casts beautifully. And its large enough to inspire larger trout to come out for a look but small enough that I’ve caught my share of six inchers with it.   The #9 reminds me of my cocker spaniel when I was a kid.  It has exactly the same sound as her tags did.  What’s more, Panther Martins are made of better steel than the off market brands and this shows when you put your lure up against stonewalls, brush, and gravel bottoms enough times.

Today made me realize that you can’t game a trout stream.  I thought I had picked an optimal moment and instead I got skunked.  I am chastened.  At least until two days from now when it will be absolutely………….

Posted September 1, 2010 by Stephen in Vermont Creek

Vermont Creek Part Deux   2 comments

I took a solo trip back to Vermont Creek this morning to see if fishing it earlier in the day would yield more success. My last trip there with my fishing partner Stephen was later in the day and we had very limited results.

I was up and out at 5:45am and on the creek at around 6:30. No luck for the first 1/2 hour, but I had my first fish of the morning on my #6 gold PM spinner at around 7am. Just a little brownie, probably 7″.

I kept at it, moving upstream through tall brush. This place is hard going in late summer with all the tall grass and brush. The stream is fairly narrow and the streambed is irregular (boulders mixed with soft silt), so walking in the water isn’t a picnic either.

Vermont Creek

A little ways upstream there was a nice small riffle with a pool below it. The pool had a plant hanging over it, making it difficult to get a good cast presented. I fired a cast up above the riffle then moved my rod tip over to the right to bring the lure down the riffle and underneath the overhanging plant. BAM! Fish on! This one was bigger and put up a nice fight. I brought him to hand, removed the hook, and readied the camera. Just before I got the shot he wiggled out and was gone. It was in the 11″ range. A pretty brown trout.

I worked upstream some more, thrashing my way through the tall brush. I found a nice bend in the creek and eased my way into the water to take a shot at it. My first cast sailed wide left and ended up in the Jewel Weed, but it came out without much trouble.

My second cast was an improbable one. The bend went around to the right, so I made a cast aiming for the left bank just above the bend. The lure went further right than I expected and ended up landing to the right and out of sight. But it was in the water. I started reeling in line and felt hit. An0ther nice fish on, a twin brother of the 11″ fish I’d caught previously.

11" Vermont Creek Brown

A bit more crashing and thrashing upstream, likely scaring away lots of fish (but I was trying my best to move quietly, honest).

I don’t remember the details of the next fish, but it was another beauty. This one was a little bigger and fought a little harder. I couldn’t believe I’d kept him on the line because the hook just slid out of his mouth when I got him to hand.

A nice Vermont Creek Brown

Really beautiful colors on these fish, that’s for sure. It must be getting close to spawning time and these browns are trying to dress up their look a bit.

So, I made my way upstream some more but had no luck. The section of creek I fished was a lot of meanders but very few riffles. If you ask me, there’s nothing better than fishing riffle with a hole below it. I love the sound the water makes falling down the rocks. I love the feeling that there are just a ton of fish in that hole waiting for the riffle conveyor belt to deposit food to their mouths. And it seems to me it’s easier to catch multiple fish from a riffle hole than it is on bends and under banks. Perhaps the noise and vibration of a riffle makes sneaking up on the hole easier too.

Vermont Creek, at least the section I’ve explored, has little of this, and so I’ll likely be making my way to other streams with riffles and shade and streambeds that are easier to walk.

But hey, I put the fish back today, so there are at least four nice fish waiting to take your lure in Vermont Creek.

Cooper's Hawk

One more thing. I saw lots of Cooper’s Hawks, a hummingbird, and a nice Monarch Butterfly today on Vermont Creek. It’s a beautiful spot, no doubt, and well worth a visit.

Vermont Creek Monarch

Posted August 27, 2010 by troutseeker in Vermont Creek

Tagged with

Black Earth, Garfoot, and Vermont Creeks   6 comments

Yesterday morning my fishing partner and I went out early to South Valley Road on Black Earth Creek to catch some trout on spinners. The day was overcast and cool, so we thought we were going to have a lot of success.

We arrived at the bridge early and it was still too dark to fish. After sitting for about 10 minutes the sky began to show signs of daylight. On with the rubber pants, gather up the rods, lures, and nets, and over the fence to the first big pool above the bridge.

All the signs of a great morning of fishing were there. Cloudy, cool but warming, water a bit stained with a  temp of 59-degrees, and fish rising all over the place eating their breakfasts.

I was casting a #6 brook trout pattern and Stephen was casting a #9 silver spinner.

Panther Martin #9 Deluxe Silver/Red/Blue

Panther Martin #6 Brook Trout Spinner

We spent about 20 minutes working the pool and the riffle above it, expecting to catch fish after fish, but nothing doing. I had one fish, a 10″ brown, hit my lure right in front of me, but it bailed at the last minute.

So, on up the stream we went. There are a couple of bends above the pool that go through a grove of trees, but the depth is fairly consistent. There was a lot of vegetation growing from the streambed, long flowing aquatic grass that waved like snakes swimming through the water. The grass didn’t impede casting any, but it didn’t help either.

When we came out the other side of the grove without so much as a hint of fish we decided to try another spot. We drove back east on KP to Sherbel Road and got out at the bridge there. A man was worming off the bridge and said he’d seen a big fish rising just downstream. We got to talking about Gordon Creek and he said he’d caught a 28″, 8-pound trout a couple of decades ago from Gordon Creek. That must have been some fish.

Stephen and I worked upstream from the bridge and found some incredible holes but again, no sign of fish. When we got to the confluence of Black Earth Creek and Garfoot Creek we decided to turn right and head up this small tributary. It was bushwacking most of the way, but Stephen did manage to connect with a 12″ Brookie tucked in under a bank.

Stephen's Garfoot Brookie

More bushwacking and more good holes, but most of these holes were extremely tight and difficult to sneak up on for a good cast. We got to a farmer’s bridge and got out to walk back to the road alonside a pasture.

I’d seen Vermont Creek while driving down Highway 78 but had never given it much thought. It looks like a ditch when seen from the highway, but we decided to go check it out before we ran out of time for fishing that morning.

Here is what the DNR had to say about Vermont Creek in its Lower Wisconsin River Basin report from 2002:

Vermont Creek is 6 miles long and joins the Black Earth Creek just west of the Village of Black Earth. Many of the banks of the creek are lined with wetlands and wet meadows. The creek has been evaluated as a cold water stream that supports natural reproduction of brown trout. There are some ponded spring heads on the creek and sections of the creek have been channelized. Although a cursory habitat evaluation conducted on a headwater section of the creek during the summer of 2001 found the creek to have good in-stream habitat, habitat work is needed in the channelized portion of the stream. Erosion and other nonpoint sources of pollution from the surrounding watershed were noted, but not thought to be major problems.

 Habitat restoration, sediment control, and reduction of nonpoint pollution would greatly enhance the water quality and fish habitat of this stream. Habitat improvement work should be completed in the WDNR owned section of the creek and serve as a pilot project. Access is available from road crossings and WDNR properties and easements.

In 2009 some habitat improvement (HI)work was done on Vermont Creek and this work is described in the Black Earth Creek Watershed Association Spring 2010 Report.

We started fishing Vermont Creek at the bridge on Highway KP. Very thick woods and deep sediment made getting through this section difficult. Do youself a favor and skip the woods here. Past the woods is the aforementioned HI work, a very pleasant section with meanders and riffles where Stephen pulled two Browns out and I managed a small Brown myself. By the time we started fishing this good section of water the sun was getting up in the sky and shining down into the creek, which kept the fish tucked under banks.

Next time we’ll start at Vermont Creek and skip Black Earth Creek altogether.