Archive for the ‘Stream in Winter’ Tag

Stephen and Son Had Luck Yesterday   5 comments

Stephen Rose and his son Heron (named for a bird that Stephen admires, but also named for Hank Aaron, Stephen’s childhood baseball hero) went out to the Driftless yesterday with a spinning rod and some #9 Panther Martins and got after it, with encouraging success.

They found the stream they were fishing loaded with Brook Trout, and the Brook Trout were much further down in the system than they tend to be during the warm months. It is our suspicion that they’re comfortable lower downstream right now because water temps are still cool enough for them to feel comfortable.

The fish in the photo below has some health issues. Not sure what it is, but it looks like fin rot to me. Has anyone seen this before in trout they’ve caught?

At any rate, It’s gratifying to me to see a young fisherman like Heron get out there with his dad and catch fish, especially on a day that snow fell from the sky. Way to go guys!

 

A nice-sized Driftless Brook Trout, suffering from fin rot, me thinks.

A nice-sized Driftless Brook Trout, suffering from fin rot, me thinks.

 

Heron and Stephen after a successful outing in the Driftless of Wisconsin

Heron and Stephen after a successful outing in the Driftless of Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

Rick Kustich writes about Great Lakes Steelheading in Swing the Fly Magazine   2 comments

Check out Rick Kustich’s article in the latest issue of “Swing the Fly” magazine. He talks about autumn Steelheading in the Great Lakes region.

 

Click the Pic to go to the article - Copyright Rick Kustich/Swing the Fly

Click the Pic to go to the article – Copyright Rick Kustich/Swing the Fly

 

Rick’s book Advanced Fly Fishing for Great Lakes Steelhead is a great read as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Early Opener   4 comments

Well, John and Stephen and I had a leisurely start to the day on Saturday and got ourselves up to Billings Creek near La Farge (French for “The Farge”) in Vernon County mid-morning. The stretch we’ve fished before made for difficult fishing. John got a couple of browns to hook up on a Marabou Leech and actually lost one as it skittered away under an ice shelf. That was the theme of Billings Creek on Saturday, those ice shelves. In some areas, like the deeper pools, there was ice clear across the creek.

The scenery was stunning, with that beautiful fresh snow and sunshine, so that’s what holds prominence in my mind at the moment. The fishing was difficult and the icy lines and even icier guides made for some tedium. But the beauty of the day made it hard to feel too sorry for myself.

After a couple hours and some hot chili we decided to bug out and go down to Camp Creek near Viola. The water there was much more inviting, with no ice and lots of visuals on fish. The water was very clear and the fish were spooky as always. Camp Creek is all about stealth, whether it’s via the long upstream cast or getting down on hands and knees to do some Czech nymphing. I saw two riseforms, so there were trout eating some kind of bug on the surface. Nothing big enough to see though. I finally caught my trout on a small Pheasant Tail nymph trailing behind a streamer, and I held it up in the sunshine and admired it for a moment, happy to be a trout fisherman again.

We all returned to the city happy and tired, hoping to see spring break out sometime soon, when new plans will be made for seeking trout.

I hope those of you who went out to fish the opener enjoyed the great weather and had some success too. Best wishes in 2013!

 

Billings Creek, Vernon County, Wisc

Billings Creek, Vernon County, Wisc

 

 

Stephen Rose at Billings Creek

Stephen Rose at Billings Creek

 

John Jackels works Billings Creek

John Jackels works Billings Creek

 

March 2, 2013 on Billings Creek

March 2, 2013 on Billings Creek

 

A great bend pool on Billings Creek, frozen over...

A great bend pool on Billings Creek, frozen over…

 

Check out that horseshoe tree!

Check out that horseshoe tree!

 

Look at how clear Camp Creek is behind my head

Look at how clear Camp Creek is behind my head

 

 

The spot where a hawk and a rodent met.

The spot where a hawk and a rodent met.

 

John Jackels at Camp Creek

John Jackels at Camp Creek

 

 

 

Some Photos from March 4, 2012   2 comments

Here are some photos of the beautiful spots Stephen and I visited on Sunday. Though we didn’t catch any trout, the scenery was very nice.

Flint Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin, at sunrise.

Flint Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin, at sunrise.

Sunrise, Oak Tree, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Sunrise, Oak Tree, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Stephen Rose on Flint Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Stephen Rose on Flint Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Driftless Barn, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Driftless Barn, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Conley-Lewis Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Conley-Lewis Creek, Iowa County, Wisconsin

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 http://www.swtu.org/, or contact Conservation Committee Chairman Steve Wald (sewald101@gmail.com) 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!

The scene today   2 comments

image

Frye’s Feeder and Donald County Park   4 comments

Yesterday Stephen Rose and I did some exploring with our kids and my dog. We went to eastern Iowa county to take a look at Smith-Conley Creek. We checked out a parcel of land Stephen was curious about. And then we went to Donald County Park, a place neither of us had ever visited, even though we’ve each lived in Dane County for over a decade.

Donald County Park is the piece of land that spawns Mt Vernon Creek, at the confluence of Frye’s Feeder and Deer Creek. There are some great hiking trails, beautiful views, and of course, trout.

We had a great time exploring and relaxing in the February sun, sheltered from the wind behind a rise in the Driftless. It’s a neat place to check out, and I’ll surely be back with my fly rod when the trout season is in swing.

Shep and Joe at Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Shep and Joe at Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Joe and Stephen relaxing in a Hennessy hammock, Donald Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Joe and Stephen relaxing in a Hennessy hammock, Donald Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Shep, Joe, Bode, and Stephen, Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Shep, Joe, Bode, and Stephen, Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Frye's Feeder runs through Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Frye's Feeder runs through Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Maybea-Dog enjoying her free time, Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Maybea-Dog enjoying her free time, Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Driftless Winter Scenes   2 comments

I got out this morning to do a little walking along one of my favorite Driftless streams. I could not help but notice the grin on my face as I took my little walk. I felt so at ease, all my concerns disappeared. The winter sun was beginning its slow traverse of the sky, the water to my right made its way from deep in the ground toward the Gulf of Mexico, and my mind was free to take it in.

Being outside along a winter creek it is amazing how much life continues on, even while everything appears to be suspended in time by bitter cold.

Below are some photos of my short journey. I hope you get out to enjoy the world a bit this winter.

The sun rises over a Driftless spring-fed creek in Wisconsin

The sun rises over a Driftless spring-fed creek in Wisconsin

What life lurks beneath the water? Driftless creek, Wisconsin.

What life lurks beneath the water? Driftless creek, Wisconsin.

Cedar trees over moving water, Driftless, Wisconsin

Cedar trees over moving water, Driftless, Wisconsin

Frozen buds, Driftless, Wisconsin

Frozen buds, Driftless, Wisconsin

Frozen Arctium Minus, Driftless, Wisconsin

Frozen Arctium Minus, Driftless, Wisconsin

Windblown tracks, glittering snow, Driftless, Wisconsin

Windblown tracks, glittering snow, Driftless, Wisconsin

Spring water, Trees, and Bluffs, Driftless, Wisconsin

Spring water, Trees, and Bluffs, Driftless, Wisconsin

A confluence of spring-fed creeks, Driftless, Wisconsin

A confluence of spring-fed creeks, Driftless, Wisconsin

Nightshade and Cedars in the light of the rising sun, Driftless, Wisconsin

Nightshade and Cedars in the light of the rising sun, Driftless, Wisconsin

Nightshade, aka: "Devil's Berries", streamside, Driftless, Wisconsin

Nightshade, aka: "Devil's Berries", streamside, Driftless, Wisconsin

Cedars lit by sunlight reflected off the creek, Driftless, Wisconsin

Cedars lit by sunlight reflected off the creek, Driftless, Wisconsin

Cedar bark in the light of a January sunrise, Driftess, Wisconsin

Cedar bark in the light of a January sunrise, Driftess, Wisconsin

Another world lives on the bark of this Cedar, Driftless, Wisconsin

Another world lives on the bark of this Cedar, Driftless, Wisconsin

A woody forest vine, Driftless, Wisconsin

A woody forest vine, Driftless, Wisconsin

The Galena River, LaFayette County, Wisconsin   4 comments

Over the weekend I took a trip down to Chestnut Mountian Ski Area, south of Galena, Illinois, to do my second job as a ski coach for the Blackhawk Ski Club. We had a great weekend and our kids were second as a team in the Giant Slalom Saturday, and first as a team in the Slalom on Sunday, and we ended up winning the overall meet against powerhouse clubs Tyrol Basin and Cascade Mountain. Way to go Blackhawk!

Coaching skiers at a ski race involves standing at the bottom of the course, cheering on skiers, giving out high fives and fist bumps at the finish, and talking about the run the skier just had. It’s an interesting experience, and a lot of fun. But, I didn’t really move from my spot for two days, and if you’ve ever stood on the side of a hill for two days, you too may want a change of scenery.

So, when the race was over Sunday afternoon, I drove north through the beautiful town of Galena (it is seriously a very cool place) and headed north to Wisconsin. I decided that since I was in the Driftless I’d take in some sights I’ve not seen before. After passing through Hazel Green I checked my GPS to see that there was a river flowing southward on the east side of Benton and Cuba City that I’d not seen before. I took some county roads and made my way toward the river.

The Galena River is not designated as a trout stream, and it likely gets too warm and flows too slowly to support a trout population. I stopped at the river on Twin Bridges Road and got out with my fly rod and camera. I did some fishing with a wooly bugger, a copper john, and a hopper pattern, but didn’t get any interest from the smallmouth bass that may have been swimming there. It was nice to unwind with some casting and waiting, and it made me wonder why trout fishing has to close down for several months of the year in Wisconsin. I can’t, for the life of me, understand the science behind this law. Perhaps there is concern that spawning and reproduction will be disturbed by fishermen wading through redds. Perhaps it’s more of a cultural thing. Winter is for ice fishing, you idiot. I don’t know.

At any rate, being outside along that pretty river was a nice way to end the weekend, and I’m glad I did a little exploring.

Galena River near Benton, Wisconsin

Galena River near Benton, Wisconsin

 

Galena River near Benton, Wisconsin

Galena River near Benton, Wisconsin

 

Galena River east of Cuba City, Wisconsin

Galena River east of Cuba City, Wisconsin

 

Twin Bridge Road passes over the Galena River, Lafayette, County, Wisconsin

Twin Bridge Road passes over the Galena River, Lafayette, County, Wisconsin

 

Gravestone at Carr Cemetery near Cuba City, Wisconsin

Gravestone at Carr Cemetery near Cuba City, Wisconsin

 

Moonrise over Lafayette County, Wisconsin

Moonrise over Lafayette County, Wisconsin

Pheasant Branch in February   1 comment

I found myself walking through the Pheasant Branch Conservancy this morning and took some snapshots. It is a really pretty place to visit.

Pheasant Branch Creek, Middleton, WI

Pheasant Branch Creek, Middleton, WI

 

Trail along Pheasant Branch Creek

Trail along Pheasant Branch Creek

Pheasant Branch Creek, Middleton, WI

Pheasant Branch Creek, Middleton, WI