Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Simple And Versatile Wet Fly

A video for a quick and effective wet fly.  Aside from the black and brown version in the video, I tie a lot of purple and starling wet flies.  Just use purple thread and a feather from the breast of a starling skin.  Of course there is the classic partrigde and orange wet fly that follows the same pattern.

This little driftless brook trout took a black and brown.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Milwaukee Is High

I went down to the Milwaukee Saturday with my daughter.  It was like seeing a friend you haven't seen in a while.  She was higher, dirtier and faster than I had expected, and some of my favorite structure had washed away-- not a great way to greet an old friend.

The first cast was made to the head of a pool, it got hung up and the line broke.  This became the day's recurring theme.  I explored my other favorite spots I can access from shore with no results, unless you count tree branches-- I landed a few of those.

After exhausting my favorite pools and cover, I explored new cover.  The streamside vegetation hasn't really came in yet and access is (mostly) easy.  It was in one of these spots that I saw a fish rise to a blade of grass floating on the surface.  My next cast went a yard or so ahead of the rise, and the fish struck my jig and quickly came ashore, a tiny smallmouth bass.

My little girl called the fish "pretty pretty," and started to mimic the fish opening and closing its mouth by sticking her tongue out.  The most adorable thing I have ever seen.

I can't wait to get this little girl her first fishing rod, I think she'll be a fine angler.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Season Opener Report: It Was Rough

After my pre-season run-in with a decent sized smallmouth in my local stream, I was determined to catch more.  Saturday, I donned my vest, grabbed my spinning gear, and took my little girl fishing again.
I didn't realise we had gotten so much rain!
Upon seeing the swollen flow of coffee where the Menomonee River ususally flows, I almost just turned around and headed home.  But I decided I could use the walk anyway, it couldn't hurt to try.  Right near the first bend under the Wisconsin Avenue bridge, I started seeing the suckers.  Lots of suckers.  I made a few casts with a lead head "Woolly Bugger" jig I tied for spinning gear and I caught a couple suckers.  As I put the first sucker back, my little girl told the fish "Bye bye."  It was one of the cutest things I have ever seen.  I wanted to find some game fish though.  We walked a long way, not seeing anything but rough fish.

Much higher water than last week

Very fast flow

My hand tied "Woolly Bugger" jig

Sunday, I went out again.  But this time, I went with rough fish on my mind.  You can only catch what's there, right?  I rigged up a purple Mister Twister, went down to the river with a half hour to kill, and I absolutely slayed the redhorse!  In 30 minutes, I caught eight suckers!  I literally spent more time unhooking fish than I spent fishing.  A couple of them were bruisers too!  A couple were foul hooked, but most took the Twister right in the mouth.

Monday I went out with about a half hour to kill again before work.  There were much less suckers, but the ones that were there were nice sized fish.  There were a lot more carp up that far though.  On my first cast, I caught a nice sucker that caused the carp to scatter.  Too bad, I really wanted to catch a carp on my medium action hand-me-down rod with four pound test.  I caught one other sucker before heading home.

I did some research, there are a lot of different species of suckers in the Genus (Moxostoma) that includes redhorse.  It's hard to tell some of them apart without actually opening them up.  I'm kind of curious how many species there actually are in the Menomonee.  It's obvious that I caught several different species.

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.