Archive for the ‘Westfork Sportsmans Club’ Category

A Whopper south of Westby   14 comments

My son Bode (Bo-Dee) and I took an overnight trip to the Driftless on Friday and Saturday and enjoyed ourselves very much. We set out after I got home from work Friday, picking up some provisions in Viroqua before heading to Avalanche to camp.

On the way we passed a few Amish buggies pulled by horses, and some Amish farms where we were greeted by waves and smiles as we zoomed by in our car. Bode had never seen any Amish buggies or farms before and was curious to know what it was all about. I explained it as best I could and he was fairly fascinated, as a boy who likes to make what he can by his own hand, at the lifestyle and talents of the Amish.

We enjoyed a quiet night camping in Avalanche and woke up at six on Saturday to go fishing. Bode was using a spinner while I walked along with him, fly rod in hand. We got to the next plunge pool upstream, the water still churning brown from days of rain. He made several nice casts to the top of the pool when suddenly his line tightened. He initially thought he had snagged something but then began cranking the reel. His line danced, but in the way Andre the Giant might dance, more deeply rooted than ephemeral.

Bode, having had very few large fish on the end of his line previously, cranked and cranked his reel until the spinner was an inch from his rod tip. The fish revealed itself in the surface film and we both let out a hoot.

This fish was one that many fishermen don’t get the chance to catch in a Driftless stream, and Bode had gotten one a few days past his twelfth birthday, in the first half hour of fishing.

Wow! Way to go Bode!

 

Bode with a 21" male Brown Trout, caught in a Vernon County spring creek.

Bode with a 21″ male Brown Trout, caught in a Vernon County spring creek.

 

 

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?

First Timer   2 comments

20110910-123232.jpg

That’s my brother Tim gettin’ in for the first time.

We spent an overnight at the West Fork Sportsman’s Club in Avalanche and woke at dawn to work Knapp Creek, the West Fork of the Kick, and the Sea Breeze Creek. All are in close proximity and gave us some different flavors for a days fishing.

20110910-123757.jpg

We did well with Brookies on the Knapp, including a 12 incher , and I think Tim was really taken by the nature of a day knee deep as I know I am. I think I saw and felt those pangs for a trophy that we all sometimes get, of a big fish and some outlandish story to go with it. But I knew that wasn’t likely, or at least, is no longer what brings me out there.

“It ain’t about the fish”, as they say, and you won’t get any argument from me on that sentiment.

I’ve begun to see these streams as nothing more than lonesome highways where a guy can really get way back in the world where a rabbit wouldn’t go.

I mean, how else to see all this very marvelous, very privately owned land?

My fishing pole and rubber pants are license to see that which is otherwise forbidden. For some guys, maybe that’s a pole dancer, others still, it’s the big game on the tube, or throwing oneself into some extreme sports peril. I’ll take a cold running, spring fed stream, up against that stuff almost every time.

I wanted Tim to recognize that there is a world of opportunity out there which requires a relatively small investment in basic gear that provides a lifetime of superlative activity for those willing to give it a try.

20110910-060526.jpg

We left for Avalanche from Madison at about 6 or so and I’d readied us for an evening of hammock camping just off the road somewhere not far from the fish. It’s unfortunate there is so much human contrivance in the world that two guys can’t sling a couple sheets of nylon between two trees w/o feeling like they’re breaking the law. Sadly, we couldn’t find a spot that would keep us close to the car w/o feeling really conspicuous so we opted for the Sportsmans Club after giving up our search at about 10pm.

For all my resistance, the club camping facilities proved to be a very welcoming spot for two late comers and made camp set up a snap. Arriving late, we were told to seek out Trapper in the morning. I knew we’d be gone by 5:30 and bothering someone that early felt like an injustice greater than not paying the very fair $20.00 fee. (10 for overnight + 10 for a seasonal membership)

Trapper, let’s say I owe you one okay?

And thanks much for a great spot to hang your hat for an evening!

We’ll be back I’m certain and settle up then.

After 3 or 4 hours the next morning on the Brookie laden Knapp, we decided to seek out bigger water in hopes of finding some fat Brown trout.

I like to fish w/o other fisherman in sight (minus my mates of course) so the West Fork always looks a little too cozy from the road. Makes it feel too much like some kind of water park or something. I’m looking for the lonesome highway. Not Wisconsin Dells.

But we moved down the creek a ways and I discovered why people fish the West Fork. It’s freakin’ gorgeous! I am very thankful for every inch of effort on that stream and it made for some really fine fishing. Great activity in some long riffles, that are so fun to fish, and beautiful plunge pools and big bend pools so fishy you’re reluctant to ever leave them.

The Sea Breeze, I think that’s what it’s called, was a little trib that I thought might get less fishing pressure than the main branch and give us some solid afternoon opportunities.

We did well in this open prairie like little stream. It recalled many of the Dane County that are familiar to me.

I think Tim was chastened a bit by the day. His anticipation for big fish was natural. But in the end he clearly felt those other less knowable virtues that are what really bring us all back.

Can’t wait to get back there with my crew again sometime soon!

First Timer   3 comments

20110910-123232.jpg

That’s my brother Tim gettin’ in for the first time.

We spent an overnight at the West Fork Sportsman’s Club in Avalanche and woke at dawn to work Knapp Creek, the West Fork of the Kick, and the Sea Breeze Creek. All are in close proximity and gave us some different flavors for a days fishing.

20110910-123757.jpg

We did well with Brookies on the Knapp, including a 12 incher , and I think Tim was really taken by the nature of a day knee deep as I know I am. I think I saw and felt those pangs for a trophy that we all sometimes get, of a big fish and some outlandish story to go with it. But I knew that wasn’t likely, or at least, is no longer what brings me out there.

“It ain’t about the fish”, as they say, and you won’t get any argument from me on that sentiment.

I’ve begun to see these streams as nothing more than lonesome highways where a guy can really get way back in the world where a rabbit wouldn’t go.

I mean, how else to see all this very marvelous, very privately owned land?

My fishing pole and rubber pants are license to see that which is otherwise forbidden. For some guys, maybe that’s a pole dancer, others still, it’s the big game on the tube, or throwing oneself into some extreme sports peril. I’ll take a cold running, spring fed stream, up against that stuff almost every time.

I wanted Tim to recognize that there is a world of opportunity out there which requires a relatively small investment in basic gear that provides a lifetime of superlative activity for those willing to give it a try.

20110910-060526.jpg

We left for Avalanche from Madison at about 6 or so and I’d readied us for an evening of hammock camping just off the road somewhere not far from the fish. It’s unfortunate there is so much human contrivance in the world that two guys can’t sling a couple sheets of nylon between two trees w/o feeling like they’re breaking the law. Sadly, we couldn’t find a spot that would keep us close to the car w/o feeling really conspicuous so we opted for the Sportsmans Club after giving up our search at about 10pm.

For all my resistance, the club camping facilities proved to be a very welcoming spot for two late comers and made camp set up a snap. Arriving late, we were told to seek out Trapper in the morning. I knew we’d be gone by 5:30 and bothering someone that early felt like an injustice greater than not paying the very fair $20.00 fee. (10 for overnight + 10 for a seasonal membership)

Trapper, let’s say I owe you one okay?

And thanks much for a great spot to hang your hat for an evening!

We’ll be back I’m certain and settle up then.

After 3 or 4 hours the next morning on the Brookie laden Knapp, we decided to seek out bigger water in hopes of finding some fat Brown trout.

I like to fish w/o other fisherman in sight (minus my mates of course) so the West Fork always looks a little too cozy from the road. Makes it feel too much like some kind of water park or something. I’m looking for the lonesome highway. Not Wisconsin Dells.

But we moved down the creek a ways and I discovered why people fish the West Fork. It’s freakin’ gorgeous! I am very thankful for every inch of effort on that stream and it made for some really fine fishing. Great activity in some long riffles, that are so fun to fish, and beautiful plunge pools and big bend pools so fishy you’re reluctant to ever leave them.

The Sea Breeze, I think that’s what it’s called, was a little trib that I thought might get less fishing pressure than the main branch and give us some solid afternoon opportunities.

We did well in this open prairie like little stream. It recalled many of the Dane County that are familiar to me.

I think Tim was chastened a bit by the day. His anticipation for big fish was natural. But in the end he clearly felt those other less knowable virtues that are what really bring us all back.

Can’t wait to get back there with my crew again sometime soon!

West Fork Sportsmans club message   Leave a comment

March WFSC 2011 Early Season News

Here’s a message about the early opener. Thanks Trapper!

We hope all the members are safe and warm. Things in the West Fork valley are about the same as usual. Hope your life is good too.WFSC will be sponsoring a bonfire and maybe other activies as requested by members on March 5th at 6:30 pm. Club house will be open for interior camping from March 3rd till at least the 7th. Regular rates apply. Many folks will be here to celebrate the early opener. Wood supplied by myself. Cheap date, enjoy the valley and real easy on your wallet.

As of this date, all class 1 Trout waters are open, free of ice. Main Kickapoo is not open in slow areas

WFSC officers feel we should have a meeting in April to discuss upgrades, stream improvements and events for this year. Notice will be sent out soon.

Updates may include:

Adding mudroom/enclosed porch on big cabin.

More camping shelters

A few more picnic tables

Adding more sites on lower end/access

Finish Lady’s bathroom

Redo hallway paneling because of adhesive failure

Adding port-a pot to both ends of park/fence

General maintenance /roof

Your officer’s have decided not to increase camping fees or membership rates again for 2011. We fell that your membership entitles you to enjoy your stay here at the lowest price possible. Expect a change next year.

To keep our/your revenues in check, please honor your cabin reservation requests. Just call ASAP if you can’t get here- other members may want the date. Info: June Widner 608-634-4512

Treasurer June Widner wants to remind members that want to renew their memberships to follow these steps- renew in person across from Avalanche store or send your name, address, and dues to WFSC S3534 County Road S, Viroqua, Wi 54665. Rates $10/yr,  $27/3yr $150/Life. June will send you your membership card by mail. All camping and cabin fees are payable to June.

Please send me your email address, so I can keep you up-to-date  trapafox@hotmail.com

Find us at www.westforksportsmansclub.org

Clink on link to Facebook page for up-to date info

Please forward to all interested parties…thanks

Best wishes and fishes for the coming season.

Bryan Trapper Voldahl  WFSC  Secretary…trapafox@hotmail.com

Posted March 3, 2011 by Stephen in Westfork Sportsmans Club