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.