Thursday, May 2, 2013

Urban Fishing in Milwaukee; or, Save Gas, Fish Local

The first of May was such a gorgeous day.  I had to get out and do some fishing while the weather was still nice.  Currently, we are down to one car.  My wife had taken it to work, so I had to stay local and take my baby girl with me.

I don't fly fish when I fish with my little girl, so I gathered up a few lures that work in most situations--  a Mepps assortment in case I saw steelhead, and Mister Twisters for everything else-- and packed them into my fly vest.

I put my girl in the carrier, and we walked out our front door and down into the Menomonee Valley.  The river is supposed to undergo improvements to restore it to a more natural state, but for now, it's as urban as it gets.  It appears more as a sewage ditch than a naturally appearing ancient river that used to support Native American life with abundant wild rice.

The sucker run is apparently in full swing.  The fish were so thick that I didn't even notice them until they scattered from my overpassing shadow.  I made a few casts with a Twister and hooked up with a foot long sucker.  Great fun on my fairly light tackle.

I continued downstream, casually casting to the heads of schools of suckers, letting my jig swing through, just as you would with a Woolly Bugger.  A cast toward nothing in particular (there isn't a lot of cover in this particular stretch) resulted in a tremendous strike.  I thought it could have been a northern, or a bigger sucker, possibly a steelhead.  But as the fish tired and came in, I saw that it was, in fact, a nice sized smallmouth bass.  I actually yelled out loud "It's a smallmouth!"  This was a first for me in the Menomonee River.  I guess nobody told him that bass season opens this upcoming weekend, oops!

We continued to walk a ways.  We saw tons of suckers, half a dozen small pike, scores of carp, and a snapping turtle the size of a spare tire.  Not one steelhead though.  
My Little Cleo was getting tired of fishing, so we started for home.

My Little Cleo plays in the dirt, Miller Brewery in the background

One thing I love about urban fishing, the element of mystery and surprise.  I never expected to catch that smallmouth in the concrete.

For more information on the Menomonee Valley, check this link.

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