Archive for the ‘Stream in Winter’ Tag

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

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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

Gordon Creek in February   1 comment

Bode wading Gordon Creek

Bode wading Gordon Creek

With schools closed and three young boys beating down the walls of my house, I decided to temp fate and drag them all out to the countryside to check out some spring creek scenery. I’ve fished Gordon Creek a handful of times, but this is the first opportunity I’ve had to visit the upper reaches of the drainage. Fish were spotted and my boys had a good time playing by the water’s edge (or in the water depending on the wardrobe). The creek ran clear and looked about like it does any time of year. I suppose this is a nice thing about the headwaters of a spring-fed creek. It’s reliably consistent.

Upper reaches of Gordon Creek
Upper reaches of Gordon Creek

 

Afternoon sun on Gordon Creek

Afternoon sun on Gordon Creek

 

After half an hour on this upper section – the younger boys really wanted a campfire and a couple of hammocks hung, and this was not public land – we headed down the road a ways to a spot where this sort of thing would be possible. So, here we are enjoying s’mores and the bubbling of Gordon Creek. The water was chocolate milk and was running deep.

S'mores and a nice place to sit!

S'mores and a nice place to sit!

 

Nice, isn't it?

Nice, isn't it?

 

Sheppy lounging - Optical Illusion: he is several feet away from the fire...

Sheppy lounging - Optical Illusion: he is several feet away from the fire...

Tipperary Creek   2 comments

Tipperary Creek is a beautiful place to visit. Stephen and I took our boys out to the vicinity of Dayton, Wisconsin and found a nice spot on public land to linger for a few hours. A campfire was made, a hammock was set up, a net was unfurled to explore underwater insect life, and we had ourselves a great afternoon.

It looked a little bit like this, except without the snow, fish, and awesome soundtrack…

Winter Stream Fly Fishing D90 Test from Andrew Nisbet on Vimeo.

But seriously, nothing beats getting out into the woods alongside a stream in the winter. That moving water is captivating. Combine it with a fire and a sunny day, and it may as well be summertime. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the rubber pants. Indispensable for getting into the stream to find critters. A kid’s gotta have his rubber pants.

Joe and Sawyer at Tipperary

Joe and Sawyer at Tipperary

Stephen and Sheppy, Chillin'

Stephen and Sheppy, Chillin'

Rubber Pants rock!

Rubber Pants rock!

Sawyer Tending the fire

Sawyer Tending the fire

You don't believe me? Rubber pants. I'm tellin' ya'.

You don't believe me? Rubber pants. I'm tellin' ya'.

Joe, Sawyer, and Heron beside the fire

Joe, Sawyer, and Heron beside the fire

Why blog?   1 comment

So the last meeting of the Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited has me considering why I elect to post my thoughts about this activity.

After all, I’m fairly new at this, who really cares what some greenie in Madison thinks about such a personal activity? Heaven knows there are others out there with greater experience and practical kinds of advice and counsel for would be trout seekers. There are also more savvy media users who might bring greater content to showcase their fishing exploits. I have little doubt of this truth.

But I have found that this blog does something that Facebook and Twitter just don’t offer me, namely, a strangely focused electronic environment that restricts those who have no interest in my musings from having to deal with them. At the same time, it provides me with an almost endless space to hold court with those who do, emphatically, share my interest. Here’s a little clip:

It’s nothing special really but it is reminder of why I’m out there. Make sure you can hear the sounds as this video is meaningless without the audio.

If the TU meeting was a microcosm of the trout angling population in Wisconsin then I can safely say that that demographic is definitely grayer than either Tom or myself. Perhaps this is sufficient reason itself to justify my musings as, from my perspective, the trout streams are inherently better protected by a larger number of fishermen paying fees to use them and my relative youth may speak to a group that is under-served. This is open to debate of course and I welcome any and all challenges to this idea as I am only too happy to get straightened out should I have the story wrong.

Finally, I would be lying if I did not admit to being a man of appetite, the thought of an occasional meal of native trout straight from a cold water stream is one more significant reason to exist. Bon appetit!

A gourmet reason to justify my stream wanderings.

More from the Pewit’s Nest   Leave a comment

American Bittersweet

The photo above was taken as we walked the thin ice of Skillet Creek. On our return trip back to the car this very healthy vine brought in a flock of Cedar Waxwings. The vine had to have been 35 feet long if you account for the corkscrew nature of its course up the host tree.

Our visit was partly an excuse to visit some trout water but is more importantly an opportunity for our kids to get off the well worn paths at home and explore something new. It’s a time when, despite many levels of accommodation on our part, not everything will be prepared for them. They will walk on uneven ground and learn that it isn’t always easy but somehow that’s most of the fun.

Tom and his brood Shephard, Sawyer, and Bode + my oldest Heron resting beside a beautiful pancake root.

While we were out there we found some small invertebrates.

A small Stonefly (order Plecoptera) overwintering as an adult.

A mayfly naiad (order Ephemeroptera) Tom pulled from the underside of stone in Skillet Creek.

These little finds are a terrific way to keep the kids active and thinking critically about even the smallest parts of their world and, by giving them names, providing visual context that puts them in a specific place at a particular time.

I am so thankful that the kids get a kick out this kind of thing as it gives me no end of pleasure too.

It is so cool when the boys find these all on their own. A habit of awareness they can use for their entire lives, in any endeavor, to say nothing of trout-fishing.

The boys really enjoyed this short hike.  And so did I.