Date: June 1rst Weather: 60s Time: 5:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Southwest Wisconsin's Driftless Area
Last night I was up all night and couldn't get to sleep. Once 5 o clock a.m. rolled around I had about 10 new flies tied up. I packed them into my fly box and decided I might as well see if they work. I had tried some different variations on patterns and was hoping the new improvements would also help with fish production. The birds were chirping at this point and things were coming alive. I grabbed the fly rod, flies and camera and headed for a nearby stretch of stream. I was super excited to get out so early, since this would be the first time this year I actually got out on the stream when it actually was feeding time. When I stepped outside and actually looked around, it was semi dark out and gray clouds were lining the sky. Was it about to start storming??? I really need to start watching the weather forecast. My wife has to leave earlier this morning so I told her I would try to be back by 9:00 a.m. That would leave me with a few good hours of wondering around the stream. I got into my car and cranked up the music. 2 minutes later and I had arrived at the spot. Backed it up into position and locked er tight. Still flying the Take me fishing flag proudly:)
As I started my hike back into where the stream meanders, it looked to me as if the rain was about to start falling. The time was about 5:45 by now and it was still pretty dark. The valley looked to be full of wildlife and as peaceful as ever. No other fisherman in sight, probably because this is a private stretch of stream....Thank you again for letting me fish your property. I love this spot.
I decided to head downstream a little ways from the spot I walked in at. The holes below the entrance point are rip rapped with rocks and have trout hides placed into the bank. This is great for trout, but can make it semi difficult to present the fly to some of the trout holding deep into the back of the hide. I decided to try and catch some drifters and fished down into each of the holes. I know, not the greatest technique but I seem to have pretty good luck with it. Well not today apparently. The water was muddy brown and moving faster than usual. Did it rain last night??? Maybe...Either way the water was troubling and I wasn't feeling very confident. After missing a couple of fish and losing two others I decided to listen to my friend the Bald Eagle who flew over top of me in the upstream direction. Remember if you see and Eagle or Hawk fly towards a different part of the stream, follow it. Call me crazy but this is my belief. Maybe because I am fascinated with Native American Culture and spirit animals, or maybe because I usually have better luck once I follow them.
So off he went, and so did I. I was hoping the farther I went upstream, the better the water quality would be. I headed back to my original start point and crossed over the barbed wire. Usually I will roll under it or climb up and over it, but for some
lazy reason I decided to just straddle it. Big Mistake. Ended up hooking the crotch of my pants and it took a good minute or two before I could get unhooked. No Holes. Thats always a good sign, no blood ahhh even better:)
After crossing the fence I headed to the first hole of unfished water. I had some pretty good luck last time I was here and was expecting to catch a brown or two out of it. I cast my fly into the rapids and let it drift. Nothing. I am always ready for the fish to strike on the first cast in. So I toss in a second time......Nothing....Oh man. Now considering I had no sleep in me, let's just say the whole patience thing that I always preach, was starting to sound like a bunch of bull$#*t. My mind was so tired all I could come up with were some of my favorite grumblings like: I should be sleeping right now! There's no way I am changing my fly,to tired. Then it happened, a bite. Missed it. That's O.K. Then another soft bite.... Missed it. HMMMM If I snap my fly rod over my knee will St.Croix still replace it. Better not. So in I go for a third tr;y. Tap tap fish on!! It didn't feel like a big fish due to the fact it came to hand about as easy as a fly to a turd. Then I saw the little tiny horns and pink belly......
Creek Chub, Tweeter, Garbage, Horned Dace,,,, whatever you want to call it. Now don't get me wrong, I know these fish are important to a streams chemistry but when you haven't landed a trout and you see this at the end of your line...the first thought is to boot it across the stream and up on to a bank..I felt compassion for the Ugly Cousin of the trout and let him back in to spread false hope to the next fisherman to pass by. Alright that's zero trout to hand and a chub, no wait another chub. I thought this might be the day Trout MaGee might be posting about his day of the great Pepe La Pew. Skunk Nation. I still had a couple of hours left and figured I should at least try a few more holes before I threw in the towel and called it a skunky day. I
threw set my fly rod down and just took it all in. Sat on a rock and just listened to the babbling stream. Man how beautiful the morning time is. What a waste of life for me tobe sleeping when I could be out in nature. And what the heck you Bald Eagle son of a ......I thought you said this was the way I was supposed to go. Finally I calmed myself and continued on. Next hole. Nothin. Thats fine, it was super shallow and I am sure the fish just weren't there, right??right?? Right. So onward I went, knowing that sooner or later these trout would have to wake up for the morning breakfast time.... The sun finally poked its way up over the nearby hills and life began to shine through the valley.
By this time my attitude was whatever may be will be. I'll throw these flies at these trout and if they decide they don't want it, well then forget them. I'll just hang out with their ugly cousins for the day. After a couple more tries with the same fly, I decided it was time to change the fly. I decided to throw on a gold conehead creation trailed with a small trailer fly. I moved up to third hole above the starting point and made a decent presentation to where I believed a fish would be. The fly hit the water with a little splash and out came a trout. Oh my goodness what do you know. Looks like the trout were getting a little jealous about all the face time the Chubs were getting. FISh On.....
Pheewwwww , I was just a little to close to having to take a tomato bath after this session on the water. I quickly cheered up and my tail retreated from between my legs. One trout to hand and I was feeling like my day was complete. I released the brown and checked my setup. No tangles and no unwanted knots. Back to the water with you flies. I was so excited that it seemed like I almost forgot how to walk. For the rest of the trip I would end up falling and tossing my fly rod up in the air to save it more than once. I guess sleep is more important then I thought I continued fishing and couldn't help but smile as I watched the vehicles in the distance as they headed off to work. Knowing I was lucky enough to be able to be out there on the stream..You know what they say. " A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work." When all was said and done I guess my day wasn't as bad as I thought it was...sometimes it is easy to get greedy and want to catch every last fish in the stream. Here are a few more of the Browns caught.. It was kind of nice when I looked at the pics and I could see on my watch what time I caught the fish at...
Oh and let's not forget about the odd ball out fish caught today. A pretty little Bow.
So there you have it. Some fish to hand, I get to finally catch a beautiful sunrise and I managed to avoid a skunk. I was able to enjoy the company of a Bald Eagle and some other great birds.. I also had the pleasure of witnessing a duck fly up through 3 holes dragging its legs the whole way. Spooking the holes as if to say, ha that will teach you to fish in my favorite swimming holes. I can't help but laugh thinking about how many times a duck has ruined a hole for me. Well you no what they say.......First Come first Serve. Or something like that......Now I need to go and catch up on some sleep.
Until Next time ..... Tight Lines to all.......