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.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tiny Flies

I took some time Monday (my birthday) to tie up some size 20 Elk Hair Caddis flies.  These are the smallest flies I've tied.

I tied ten, that should last me a while.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sunny Success

I made my way to Rosenow Creek right around 4:00 Sunday afternoon.  The temperature rose slightly throughout the day and it was perfect when I got there, about 50 degrees and sunny, a slight breeze out of the southwest.  I tied on a rather large white Woolly Bugger, a size 8 I think, and wet it before fishing at the pedestrian bridge.  I usually fish the south bank, but I made a strategic choice and crossed to the north bank to keep my shadow from spooking these native wild beauties.  I dropped my fly in just inches from an undercut bank and let it drift.  Just as I was about to pull the fly out at the end of the drift, my fly went darting under the bank.  This stunningly beautiful brook trout took my fly on the first drift!

That is probably the nicest trout I've caught on this tiny, tricky little stream.  I caught one more a little further downstream in a stretch that will be unfishable in two months.

I ventured just about as far downstream as one can go before trespassing on private property without catching anymore fish.  I let my fly drift through one particular pool that usually holds a fish or two and almost hooked up with a muskrat.  He scared the hell out of me, surfacing right at my feet as I pulled the fly out from under the bank where it had gotten hung up.  I hope it wasn't hung up on him!

I made my way back upstream and caught this one last trout in the same spot I caught the first one.  I also had a miss in this spot.

I crossed to the east side of the trail and headed upstream farther on the south bank.  I have not had as much luck east of the trail, and today was no exception.  My shadow grew long and let the fish know well in advance of my approach.  I saw a few fish dart for cover, but only had one hit that I missed.

Any fish you catch on Rosenow Creek is a fish you can be proud of.  My skunk rate on this stream is over 50%. One or two fish is a decent day.  I think three fish is my second best day.  There was a day last May that I caught a dozen or so trout.  Double digit days on Rosenow are few and far between, at least for me.  I still can't believe I can catch wild brook trout just a 45 minute drive from downtown Milwaukee.

Friday, March 28, 2014

First Skunk of the Season

Yesterday was a pretty rainy day, but the temperature wasn't all that bad.  I studied the radar and saw a brief opening in the rain at just the right time to give me approximately an hour of trout fishing time.

Rosenow flows clear and swiftly with virtually no signs of life.  I only saw two fish, one a nice size, and one very small.  They both darted under a log jam as I made my approach.

I seem to have better luck on Rosenow on sunny days. It sounds like the weather Sunday is supposed to be pretty nice.  I'm sure I'll find myself out that way again.

Rosenow is a tricky creek, but it's so rewarding when it all comes together.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Just Kidding

My plans to go fishing last weekend were thwarted by beer and burgers on Saturday, and fifteen degree weather on Sunday.  I hope to find some time to venture out this upcoming week.

On another note, it was Little Cleo's birthday earlier this month.  I got her her first fishing rod, a little beginner's Ugly Stik with a spinning reel and a limited tackle assortment.  I'm looking forward to taking her out this spring and slaying some goldfish on the urban ponds!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

It Begins

It's been a few months again.  I have a place I call my own now, but it is far from where I want to be.  Things are continuously looking better in my future every day.  
This winter has been brutal!  I'd normally use the winter months to concentrate on tying, but I have not found time with my constantly evolving situation.  My stocks are low from last season, but I think I can manage to venture out soon.
I think I'm going to fish my favorite Waukesha County trout stream very soon.  They may be hard to find this time of year, but those wild brook trout are absolutely gorgeous!

My go-to streamer on Rosenow

Tony's first brookie

My first brookie

That is a beautiful fish