Saturday, April 30, 2011

Southwest Wisconsin Driftless Area Early Trout Season - The Streams look great for 2011

 Date: April 30th    Temp:  60's    Time: 8:00a.m.-11:00a.m. 

Today I decided to go out for a quick trip of fishing before trout fishing shuts down until May 7th.  So far on most of my trips out during early season streams have been showing signs of looking very healthy.  Even though the weather hasn't been ideal.  After reading post after post I have decided not to count any day out as far as fishing.  Some streams have been high and some cloudy.  Today the stretch I fished was looking great.  A few rises, but mostly I counted on just knowing where the fish were hiding out.  This stretch is one of my favorites because of the beautiful limestone bluffs that drop down into the creek to make for some perfect fish holding holes.

Limestone Bluffs

Here are a few flies fished on this journey
The bottom fly was fished as a trailer.  Caught fish
on all of them.

Trailer Nymph

Castle Rock Killer

Trout MaGee Special

I crept up stream doing my best not to spook any fish.   I came on to a hole where the first time I fished this stream this year I caught this fella:

Caught on different trip early this spring, same hole.
Although this one was hiding out today I was still able to pull his smaller cousin out and say hello.  As I released this next fish, I told it tell the one from above to not be so rude and that I expect it to come out and say hello next time I visit this hole.  I hiked all that way the least it could have done is posed for another picture with me:)

The not so rude brown trout.  Some of its spots looked like a heart.

This time the fish were holding in the rapids and some in the slower pooled spots.  I continued fishing hoping for the huge trout, but happy with any trout.  A lot of the fish today had some unique markings and they were all different sizes.  I fished mostly upstream into the holes for these fish but of course had some luck drifting down into the holes also.  Some holes have white pine branches dangling down to where this is the best method for getting your fly to where the fish are hiding.  Here are a few more pics of some Browns.
This brown had a special dot on it that looked just like an X.  Can you find it?
This brown had some of my favorite markings and colors to it.

No, it wasn't dark out.  Just messed with contrast etc. so the spots would really stand out on this one.

These next fish were all caught fishing downstream, drifting my setup into the hole and stripping line back up stream.  This usually produces results, but sometimes depending on time of day the fish tend to be the little guys I like to refer to as "Drifters":
Drifter #1
Drifter #2

Drifter #3

Drifter # 4

Drifter # 5

Drifter # 6

Drifter # 7

Drifter #8

I know a lot of people have their certain beliefs when it comes to how exactly to fish a hole.  I personally believe it all depends on the conditions and how the fish are behaving.  I refuse to believe that the fish aren't biting.  If I can't seem to entice a bite one way, I am quick to try and test out a different method.  There have been a lot of times when I fish a bead head nymph as a dry fly.  By holding my pole high in the air as I strip the fly across rapids not allowing it to sink.  This has produced results for me time after time.  Even if someone is fishing the hole in front of me and doesn't catch anything, I still fish the spot because I noticed they just fished it the standard upstream way.  I sink em, strip em, drift em, and test new ways and usually am able to catch a fish or two out the exact same spot.  The key I believe to successful fishing is trying as much as possible not to spook the fish.  This to me means, letting a fish go carefully, maybe in the hole below the one you are fishing.  I try not to do this when fishing early season due to the fact the fish are spawning.  One time I was fishing and an old timer puffing on his pipe crossed paths with me and instantly demanded knowing what fly I was using.  I showed him and he instantly said,"Oh a wooly bugger pattern." puff, puff and he was gone.  Almost disgusted that I was sinking flies and not just fishing on the surface. He didn't know that the fly was actually tied with a plastic bead that kept this pattern on top of the water more than it allowed it to sink.  People sometimes assume that they know everything there is to know about fishing, when in reality the possibilities are endless.  So I guess all I am saying is keep trying different techniques, don't just get stuck in one way to fish for trout.  And most importantly of all is just enjoy being out there in nature.  One with the stream.  Do this and the fish will come to you. 

Oh, looks like it might start to sprinkle.  Time to head out and catch some more trout.  I love the rain.

Until Next time...........Tight Lines...                _________________
                                                                      O                       /

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Talking Garbage on the Stream - No Buttheads Please!!

Date: April 25th 2011     Weather: 60's      Time: 5:00 p.m.- 7:30 p.m.

This is just a quick post about picking up trash along one of the streams we fish.  I usually walk up a stream and then take a road back to my vehicle.  I am always disgusted at all of the trash people throw out their car windows.  So today the kids and I decided since it was so nice out that we would go out and take care of some business.  We decided to go to a stretch of stream that is open to the public.  The last thing I want people to remember when they come to fish the Driftless Area is all of the garbage they saw along the road and stream!  When we arrived my son got out of the car and said,"Its kind of like an Easter Egg hunt, but with garbage instead." That made me chuckle.  They were pumped to do some clean up, so we set out.
My daughter Sephora, was jazzed to be the first one on the board with a find.

Four Thumbs up and they are ready to go!

"Don't people know what a trash can is for?"

It wasn't long before their bags started to fill up!

Although not garbage, we decided to eradicate this thistle.

Here a few pics of some of Nature's waste. 

Luckily all of this stuff decomposes and returns back to the land from which it came.  The man made trash on the other hand.  Not so much.  The majority of the trash we found while out were cigarette packages, cigarette butts, soda cans and bottles, and of course McDonald's wrappers.  Looks like some really healthy lifestyles.  Not to mention if most of these people are to lazy to throw this stuff away, I can only imagine what shape they are in.  The government should force these tobacco companies and fast food chains to put garbage cans out in rural areas.  I don't know if this would help or not, but somethings gotta give.  The kids continued to stay in a positive state of mind and onward we went.

It seems like he was having as much fun picking up garbage as he does playing video games:)

My son Ocean, getting deep, going for the Gold:)

One of the land owners along this stretch has a really nice wetland's preserve that Geese, Herons, Sandhill Cranes, Whooping Cranes, Ducks ..etc.... frequent.  I explained to the kids we were out there helping to make sure that none of this Wildlife would be harmed from man's discarded waste.  My daughter thought that was just great.

A couple of resident geese.

Here is the trout stream and to the left all the way back in is some beautiful wetlands.

After a few hours of hiking we decided to call it a day.   We played a little baseball in the newly cleaned area, and then headed home.  I was extremely proud of my kids for the great attitude and effort that they put forth today.   I know it is only a small dent in the extreme amount of garbage along the roadside, but at least this stretch is clean.  FOR NOW!!  Last year we collected two whole full garbage bags of trash.  So I guess people did a little better this year.

Looks like the trusty ole Subaru is a garbage truck today.  Went out with the trash this morning!

So remember those of you who can't seem to be able to reach out your car window and put your trash in a gas station trash can.  DON'T BE A BUTTHEAD!!!  Please put your trash where it belongs:)

Until Next time........Tight lines to all!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chasing Rainbows and Flashes of Gold!!!!

Date: April 23rd-2011      Temp: Low 50's     Time: 5:30p.m.-9:00p.m.

I love this hole.  It goes deep under the rock wall and holds trout all over in it.
After lazing around all day and tying a few flies, I decided that I should probably get out and do some fishing.  In Wisconsin it is early trout season right now.  This means that it is all artificial lures/flies and catch and release only on all inland trout streams.  On May 7th regular trout season is set to open.  This means you will see a lot of people out fishing with everything from night crawlers to chub tails.  I personally still prefer to fly fish for my trout.  
  So I decided I would go hit up a stream that I didn't fish last year at all.  Last time I fished this stream I caught some nice, but small Rainbows.  I stopped up to talk to the farmer who owns this particular stretch of stream.  He told me there used to be a 21" 19" and a 17" Brown trout in a couple of the holes.  He also fishes the stream and said that he used to catch these trout and recognized them from the hook marks in there mouth.  He then told me that a neighbor caught and killed all three of them in the same day.  WTF!!!  So much for ever catching one of these trout again.  Some peoples kids!!  I keep a trout every once and a while to eat, but I always make sure they are on the smaller side of the scale.  I know for a fact that the bigger they get the worst they taste.  So I guess I don't quite understand the logic in killing these huge fish.  In most of the streams around here you catch fish between 10-13".  OUt of every 50 fish caught one of them is over 20".  The regulations on the streams are usually you can only keep fish that are over 9"-12".  It almost forces people to keep the bigger ones, even though there are a ton of fish between 8"-10".  It makes no sense to me.  Whatever.  It is all controlled by the DNR.  Although I love catching fish no matter what size they are, it still makes me mad to think that people are killing these huge trout, and that no one else will get to catch these huge beauties.  These are fish helping the natural reproducing population and produce way more eggs than a 10" fish.   I don't understand how people can't comprehend this simple concept.  I am sure some day they will be the same people saying," I cant understand why there aren't any trout in this stream anymore.  I used to catch and keep my limit, but now I can't catch a fish over 10".  DUH. 
Anyways enough about that issue.  I can only think about it so much before steam starts coming out of my ears.  
After talking for a while I finally got out to do some catching.  It looked like it was going to rain all day long, but it never did.  The stretch I fished was the head waters of this creek.  It was running clear and looked pristine.  I approached cautiously and let er fly.  First cast in, bad cast.  Second cast in bookah. Trout on.  Here are the first two volunteers for picture time.
Saw the gold flash, set the hook.

Caught this one between the two rocks in background.

After catching a few browns, I started to wonder if there were still some Rainbows left in this stretch.  The ones I caught a few years back were at tops 8"long.  With every cast I hoped to catch  a bow to see how much bigger they were.  I continued fishing and the clouds loomed above.  I  love it when the clouds role in because it makes it a lot easier to stalk these wild browns.  This stretch doesn't get fished very often so these trout were ready to attack.  The stream had changed a lot from before and it seemed like there was a nice hole at every bend.  Shallow rapids rolling into some nice little pockets.  

I had to cast as close to Barbedwire as possible for this one.

It seemed like every time I tossed a fly in there was an instant bite.  So far the stream was looking quite healthy.  Still no rainbows though.  That's O.K. I like Brown trout just as much.  I continued on to the next couple of holes which also produced some fish.  I could hear some wild geese off in the distance and wondered just what the heck all the commotion was about.  Little did I know they were trying to attract my attention from there precious cargo.  I didn't realize the nest until I was super close to it. 
The came back to guard their nest.

I hope the water level stays as low as it is, for the geese sake and fishing.  Hopefully the eggs will hatch soon.  I will be back to get some pics of goslings when they do.  
Can you guess where the trout are sitting? 

Onto the next hole.  I love this hole and remember having some good luck here last time.  I started at the bottom of the hole and worked my way up.  First cast in and there went the flash of gold.  Missed it.  No big deal.  Second cast in same spot. Bickety Bang! Gotch ya.
Not really used to being caught it made quite a commotion. Thought I spooked hole for sure.
 After releasing above fish back into the hole behind me, I decided to scoot up a few feet and try my luck.  First cast in, Gold flash. Damn missed it.  Second cast in,  right over top of an old dead weed.  Crap.  Instead of pulling and hooking the weed I decided to give it a little tug for movement.  Bookah fish on!  I can't believe that worked.  Thanks for helping me prevent a snag.
Still can't believe he fell for that. Heehee. Sucker
 While I was taking out the fly on the fish I notice this curious bystander out of the corner of my eye.  Just what are you staring at Pal.  I love nature.
Next years jerky?  :)

 I released the fish then moved up towards the rapids and cast into them tight to the wall.  After a third cast in between two rocks this beauty nailed it and put up a decent little fight.  I really like the face on this one. 
This brown had a really blunt nose and quite healthy.

After releasing this one I decided to cast into same small spot to see if I could coax one more out.  A tiny tug on the line I set the hook.  Yes, finally the elusive rainbow.  I knew they were in here.  Better yet it looked like they had grown quite a bit.  Some in length but quite a bit heavier and thicker. SWeet!
You can swim but you can't hide from Trout MaGee and my blog post.

 I released it after a pic and decided to drift a fly down into the hole.  Usually after I have fished a hole and had some luck in it, I always drift one down in it and pull my line up stream kind of on the surface.  It was easier today do to the cloud coverage.  Creep low and let it drift.  After my second drift in sure enough a fish struck it on the surface.  Another Bow.
Smaller length but chunky and thick.

It was starting to get dark but the fish were just starting to get rowdy.  It was going to be a long walk back to the Subaru in the dark, but that wasn't gonna keep me from pressing on.  I wasn't seeing a whole lot of fish rising to eat what was on the surface.  I guess it was up to me to tempt them with some tasty feathery furry treats.  Onward.  I came up on a good sized hole and cast across the rapids and quickly stripped the fly so that it was semi on the surface.  Up came the trout to see what was going on.  Picture Time with a free dinner, they just couldn't resist:)  

Late night dinner.  Don't want to go to bed on an empty stomach. Sorry for teasing you troutster.

After catching a few more using the same method I moved upstream.  What would the next hole look like.  The curiosity kept me craving more stream.  Here are a couple of fish I caught drifting down into some small holes.
Healthy little fella
Caught drifting down in.  No bites at first, then realized my flies were hella tangled.  Retied and first cast in.
It was getting later and now I could hear the coyotes screeching across the valley at each other.  I always take the sounds of coyotes as a good sign.  Its like they are telling me.  KEep fishing, keep hiking.  OK I will.  Next I rolled up on another beauty hole and managed to pull quite a few nice ones out of it.  Casting in and dragging across the rapids.  Fish started to rise again.  These next few fish all came out of this hole.

It had a sandbar to the left of the rapids so I knew all the fish would be towards the right side of it.

Some more pics of some beauties.
I really loved the colors on this rainbow, and the spots.

Another rainbow was on and I was happy to see it.

After catching a couple more browns out of the hole, the bites slowed.  I decided to move up above the hole and drifted down into the hole.  I turned around for a split second to see what was next for holes to fish and turned around in time to see a nice fish leap completely out of the water to strike my fly.  To late, I missed it.  I quickly recast in to same exact spot and about a second into the retrieval and Bang.  Got Him!  He pulled me down to the bottom of the hole and was quite frisky indeed.
Say Cheese.  Thanks for giving me a second chance!
Since the fish were still biting who was I to deny the rest of them a chance at some late night action.  Onward and upward I go.  I cast a few more times into the next hole and didn't get a single bite.  Wait a minute where are my flies?  Crap, I was having a lot of luck with that set up. Bummer.  Retied and drifted down into the hole and seen one surface to eat my fly.  To late.  Recast about a foot below that one and caught this one instead.  I'll take it.

Just another drifter.Rainbow

It was close to 8:30 by now and I was expecting the bite to slow soon.  Again I just couldn't stop myself from heading farther upstream.  Were there more holes?  Were the fish still gonna bite?  I asked myself this to justify going any further.  So I tried another hole.  First cast in I land my fly line on a sandbar, but my leader and flies landed in the hole.  1..2..3... fish on. What the heck is going on around here.  This stream was alive and swimming!
Late night brown.
Same hole, same sandbar technique.
 Ok I will go a couple of more holes and thats it.  Just a couple more.  This is the last 
fish of the night.  This guy looks to young to be up so late.  Call me the trout police and I caught you up past curfew.
Last but not least.

Tie  by day, Fly by night.

By now it was completely dark out and I decided to head back home.  After walking the stream back for a couple of minutes I realized if I walked it all the way back I might be tempted to fish some of the holes from earlier that were no longer spooked.  I decided to B-Line it for the road so I could get back before it was way to late.
Ahhh the sweet sight of the Subaru never looked so good.
 Well there you have it.  Hopefully I didn't bore anybody too much.  Just thought I would take you on my fishing journey so just in case you didn't get a chance to get out and fish, maybe this will help it seem like you did.  Until Next time.....................

Tight Lines to all.......

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Driftless Area, SW Wisconsin, United States
I am an easygoing person who likes to fish and just enjoy life. I have a family, a beautiful wife and two(soon to be three), awesome children that make my world go round. I enjoy fishing,photography and being out in nature.

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