Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Pretty Good Week

A good week indeed, considering the slump I'm coming out of.  After a few other failed attempts at landing a carp on fly gear, I finally brought one to shore in the concrete section on the Menomonee River over Memorial Day Weekend.  The fish wasn't as big as the one I hooked in the marina a while back, but this river carp took off downstream and led me on quite a chase!  It was like trying to slow down Juggernaut from X-Men with a 2X tippet!  I never really did slow the fish down,  it circled back upstream and looped around.  As the fish came back down, I scooped it with the net.  I snapped one quick picture and released the fish.

I think my 9 weight is a little bit too heavy for a size 8 streamer.  The Juggernaut started to straighten my hook!  

A little later on, I was making casts at a pike, and what I thought was a pile of goose poo jumped in and attacked my fly.  It scared the hell out of me!

Bullfrog on a Woolly Bugger, that's a first!  the frog was very upset with me, but he seemed fine once he got back in the water.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day, I made a last minute decision to make one last trip into Waukesha County for the season before it's unfishable.

The grass is already getting tall, but the water isn't overgrown yet.  The ground is still very swampy downstream, and I had hits, but no takes.  I decided to try it out upstream on more solid, manicured ground.  I was able to find some nice fish in the relatively short period I was there.  I fished about an hour, landed three trout and missed about a half dozen or so.  Two of them were really close to ten inches, one was about five.  All were beautiful

I took one of the nature trails through the wilderness back to my car.  Everything turned green so quick this spring.  Soon it will be unbearably hot and humid.

When the dog days come, I'll be waist deep in the Milwaukee chasing smallmouth bass.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The One That Got Away

Saturday morning, Cleo and I went to the Washington Park Pond to test out her Ugly Stik.  We found a worm in the leaves and fished under a bobber.  We caught no fish, and neither did the other dozen or so people around the pond.  Little Cleo sure had fun though.

Later on after dropping Cleo off, I drove down to Lake Michigan with my 9wt to catch some warmwater fish or whatever else.  There were a few bass, some pike, many very small hatchery trout, and schools of very large carp.  I went for the carp.

I had a hit early on, but most casts toward the schooling carp went unnoticed.  The hit was enough to let me know I was on the right track though, so I kept at it.  Eventually I put my fly right in front of a carp.  As it sank, he dove for it like I had just thrown in a piece of chocolate cake.  I set the hook.

My 9wt  held up to the fight perfectly but I lost the fish at the shore trying to land it without a net.  It counts, right? a long distance release?  I caught a little video right before I tried to land the fish.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Two Week Long Slump

Wednesday was my day off of work, and I was determined to spend as much time as I could trying to end my slump.  I planned on fishing in the Menomonee for rough fish, possible late steelhead and whatever warm water species might be in there.  I got a new reel for my 9wt and I'm yet to break it in.

I picked up my little girl and started for the river just after 9:00.  It wasn't long before it was raining, but we continued.  As we got closer to the river, it became apparent that the crews were working at the improvements again.  And they were working right where we usually find access.  The rain really started to fall, and we were forced to seek shelter under the Wisconsin Avenue bridge over the valley.  The Menomonee would not be fished today.

The storm really raged.  Thunder and lightning, hail, and a raging torrent where the Menomonee flowed calmly minutes before.

With my morning plans ruined, I dropped off Cleo for her nap and made for the Cafe Hollander for lunch.  I had a wild boar sandwich with ginger sriracha barbecue sauce, sweet potato fries, and a Chimay White.  Truly a world class beer and a great meal all around.

Round two, we headed out to Oconomowoc for some trout fishing.  All I could do was hope that all the  streams in Southeast Wisconsin weren't totally blown out by the storm.  I know this stream rebounds quick, but how quick?  We were going to find out.

The stream flowed clearly, but the surrounding land was swamped.  Walking along the stream was a miserable experience.  I was ankle deep in muck much of the time as spot after spot failed to yield any fish.  

Finally, the stretch above gave up one trout.  Cleo said "I love that brook trout."

The slump is over.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Slow Week In Milwaukee

I've went out fishing three times this past week on the Menomonee and haven't caught a single fish.  I did, however, catch this adorable turtle by hand.

Yesterday, I tied some flies from some clearance bin craft store yarn hoping they'll be good for rough fish.  I call the flies "hooker eyelashes," it's funny on a couple different levels

The fishing was no different yesterday than it has been.  I probably covered a mile of stream and only saw three fish.  I think the rain and cold has slowed the sucker run, but I don't really know what temperature suckers spawn at.  I took the opportunity to explore the restoration progress since the fishing was slow.  The improvements are looking nice!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Menomonee River Surprise

I took my little girl fishing on this beautiful afternoon.  We went down to the Menomonee to try to catch some suckers on the fly.  I haven't really fished the Menomonee since last October.  The water was high, fast and filthy; but it was also full of fish.  There were mostly suckers, but there were also a fair amount of steelhead!  I lost a few really nice steelhead, but I did manage to land one.  I caught so many fish that my arms are tired!  It was a great afternoon.

Oops, foul hook

My first ever steelhead!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Driftless Trip

I was on my way to Vernon County by 5:00 am this morning.  About half way, I had to pull over and snap the picture above of the gorgeous driftless sunrise.  I don't get a chance to get out there often, so I spent a lot of time scouring maps, looking for access.  There are so many streams in the Driftless that it is just overwhelming.  If you don't know about this unique area, click here for more information.  Of course there was a car at the overpass I parked at, but it was a pleasant surprise to find it belonged to Blake, the writer of Illinois Wisconsin Fishing.
I went a few hundred yards downstream from the overpass and found a lot of eager fish.  These are the nicest ones that I caught.  The third one wasn't so large, but the pattern on it is beautiful!

I caught most of my fish at the overpass, mostly on tan scuds and black Woolly Buggers.  There was a Boss Fight of a brown trout in the pool that wouldn't budge for anything.  I kept tying on bigger and bigger streamers trying to fool him and avoid the smaller fish.  I finally tied on some kind of a bead head rabbit strip leech which fooled a very nice sized sucker.  He really gave me a run for my money!

The fight with the sucker spooked all the fish in the pool, so I moved on.  It didn't feel like I caught a lot of fish, but I think I just got used to catching a fish every few casts.  When I went a ten minute stretch without catching anything, it felt slow.

Let the pictures below be a reminder to PINCH DOWN YOUR BARBS!  I took a size 14 extra heavy scud hook in the thumb half way up the bend of the hook!  I could see the pressure exerted by the hook point squeezing the blood out of the capillaries under my thumbnail.  I'm so glad it didn't go clean through the nail!  I kind of panicked and got the shakes, but I maintained my calm enough to photograph it for your enjoyment.  Your welcome.
Because the barb was pinched down, the hook backed right out relatively effortlessly with only the slightest elevation in pain.  It could have been much worse.

It rained hard on my long walk back to the car.  There was even some lightning.  I headed  to the town of Viroqua to dry out a little.  I bought some flies at Driftless Angler, and had a Two Hearted Ale and a grass fed burger at the Driftless Cafe. Everything in this town revolves around trout.  I loved it!

Driftless Angler

Brook trout mural in the alley
of the Driftless Cafe

Two Hearted Ale in
a mason jar

I visited several other streams I had never fished, but didn't pick the right ones.  They were either dry beds, or sandy bottom streams with no cover.  I wish I had more time, but I had to start heading back.  Hopefully someday I'll get to spend a weekend or more in the Driftless and explore better water.