Archive for the ‘Iowa County’ Tag

Memorable Monday   6 comments

On Memorial Day I was supposed to go fishing with my buddy Stephen Rose. But when I woke up at 5:30 and checked my phone, he had left a few text messages which said, in a somber tone, that he was feeling terrible and wouldn’t be making it out to fish. He must have felt very badly because this man has been on me about getting out to a trout stream. So, I was a little bummed to think I’d be going fishing alone, but I muddled through, got my coffee into the thermos, and hit the road.

Having new parameters from which to work (no fishing partner) I decided to try some new water out. I headed toward Dodgeville and didn’t know where I’d stop. I had forgotten my Gazetteer and trout maps, so I had to rely on my phone for help finding blue lines. Using your phone for this purpose doesn’t hold a candle next to a good Gazetteer and hard copies of county trout maps. I located a creek along Hwy Y in Iowa County. It turned out to be Mill Creek, but not the wonderful Mill Creek of Richland County. No, this was the Mill Creek of Iowa County.


Mill Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Mill Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin


I dropped in to the creek where it kisses the road on the southeast side and fished upstream for a couple of hours. The water looked trouty, and fish were nipping at my fly, but the fish weren’t trout, they were chubs. When you’re fishing for trout, especially in the “overly-affected” (read: “fancy”) fly fishing method of fishing for trout, a chub is like finding a long (or short, curly) hair in your hash browns. You kind of wrinkle your nose and curse under your breath and think to yourself, “where in hell are the trout?”

This went on for a good long while. I even caught a six-inch shiner. I don’t know what’s wrong with Mill Creek. It looks lovely in the picture, doesn’t it?

So, with two hours of fishing behind me and two hours left, I decided to travel east and a little north to Trout Creek, thinking to myself “at least it isn’t named Chub Creek”.

I didn’t have real high hopes, though the stream looked very nice. But listen, this is Iowa County we’re talking about. How good could it be?

I walked downstream from the bridge past about thirty tight meanders. I got after it and started fishing with a woolly bugger (is it true they call them “boogers” out West?). I tried not to be noisy, but I feel like I was, on account of the sedimentary nature of the stream bank.

Anyway, I drifted the bugger a few times upstream, finishing the drift about even with where I was standing, but along the opposite bank. I began lifting my rod tip and felt a tug, then a whole lot of tug, followed by some really pissed off tugging. The water was a bit cloudy due to the wet weather, so I didn’t get a look right away, and after a minute I thought I might have foul-hooked an average trout, but then I tired it enough to get it to the surface and saw that it was a good size. Sweet! A trout, and a nice one too!


a Sixteen Inch Brown from Trout Creek

a Sixteen Inch Brown from Trout Creek


I smiled happily, thinking my trout-fishing outing has been a success, and moved up to the next likely bit of tailwater. A few nicely-placed casts later, Bam! Another good fish. How about that?!


Another sixteen inch Brown Trout from Trout Creek

Another sixteen inch Brown Trout from Trout Creek


I moved upstream again. I think I had to fish two or three bends and had to endure catching a ten-inch trout before my third dance with another sizeable fish. But low-and-behold, there was my third sixteen-inch Brown Trout in thirty minutes.


Big Trout number three, Trout Creek, Iowa County, WI

Big Trout number three, Trout Creek, Iowa County, WI


I’ve never had this kind of experience, catching three big trout in a little stream in such a short time. I’ve caught lots of “regular sized” trout in one outing, and I’ve had outings where I’ve had one bigger fish to hand, but never before have I zeroed in on what were likely the biggest trout in their holes on one stretch of stream over a narrow window of time.

Was it the weather? The water conditions? The big, juicy fly? I don’t know. I likely won’t repeat it for a long time. But I’ll certainly not forget this thirty minute window of time on Trout Creek that made for a very memorable Memorial Day.


A Beautiful Day Out   Leave a comment

On Saturday I went out fishing with a fellow New Morning Nursery School dad, Eric. Eric had never been out trout fishing and the last time he cast a fly rod was in the Appleton West H.S gym back in the early 90’s. Interestingly, Eric and I both attended the College of Engineering at UW-Madison during the same period, but never crossed paths.

Saturday was a beautiful day. With Eric being new to trout fishing I decided to take him to a few of my favorite streams, where I was sure we’d be into fish. The first stream we visited, a tributary of the Kickapoo, had many many fish, but the water was low and clear and sneaking up on them was not easy. The second stream, a trib of the Blue River, was also very low and clear, and the fish were numerous there as well.

By the end of the day Eric had become a good caster. His roll cast is second to none, and his fly cast is much better than mine was after one day out. I hope to have taught him enough to allow him to carry on with fly fishing spring creeks if he chooses to.

What struck me was how much I rely on a long cast in conditions like these. Sneaking up on fish is well-nigh impossible, and the only way to fool them is to cast from such a distance as to make them think you’re not there. Of course a first-time fly caster can’t rely on a long cast, and so our luck was not good in catching fish. However, a few fish did bump Eric’s fly. I tried to convey to him that I’ve had many many outings with no fish to hand. Hopefully he believed me.

I intend to get out a few times this week to chase after trout. September is a special month to pursue trout, and I plan to take advantage of it.


A sizeable brown trout trolling the bridge pool of a Blue River tributary, Iowa County, Wisconsin

A sizeable brown trout trolling the bridge pool of a Blue River tributary, Iowa County, Wisconsin



Early Season Frustration and Success   1 comment

Skipping out on fishing the opener March 3rd, I was lucky enough to get a hall pass to head out on Sunday morning. I’ve heard from several anglers that opening weekend is a silly time to go exploring unfamiliar streams. You should head to a place you know holds fish. Well, my wanderlust got the best of me and I convinced my partner in crime, Stephen C. Rose, to venture out to Iowa County to fish some streams that look good from space (i.e., satelite imagery via Google and the DNR Managed Lands website).

We went north of Blackhawk Lake to a stream called Flint Creek. See the pic below? Looks pretty promising doesn’t it?

Flint Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Flint Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin

So off we went at 5:30, and we hit Esch Road at sunup. The sound of riffle water was promising, and the valley was certainly a beautiful example of the Driftless. We walked downstream (upwards with respect to the picture above) and began fishing. Bend after bend, hole after hole, we saw nothing. The stream didn’t appear to get any fishing pressure, but it also appeared to not have any fish in it. A mystery.

We decided to head back to the car and warm up with some coffee and make a new plan. And guess what we decided? Let’s try another stream we’ve never heard of!

So we drove south and east through Dodgeville and along Highway 191 to Conley-Lewis Creek, another beautiful, promising-looking stream. But again, no damn fish. The funny thing is, we had done some scouting over the winter to find streams with fish in them, and we had certainly found some streams that were new to us that held fish. Why hadn’t we visit them on Sunday, fly rods at the ready, to partake in some actual fish catching?!

Looking back on it, I think we had talked ourselves into targeting Brook Trout, because they’re a bit less selective and wary than Browns, so we figured we’d be sure to catch some trout. But in adopting this strategy we pursued fish on streams we had no prior knowledge of. It was as if we were still in scouting mode.

Oh well, lesson learned.

The silver lining is that both Stephen and I had opportunities to fish Monday (Stephen) and Tuesday (Tom) and hooked into some fish. Check back in tomorrow for tales of success.