Monday, May 9, 2011

Southwest Wisconsin Driftless Opening Weekend - Getting Skunky!

Date: May 7th     Temp: 60-70     Time:  5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Well this weekend was opening day for fishing in Wisconsin.  This is great news for me because this means it will be a while before trout streams shut down.  Of course to some people this means all out open season on keeping and eating trout.  I am not against keeping fish to eat but I don't like seeing coolers full of trout leaving the stream.  I prefer to eat a small one here and there during the summer, but release about 99% of the fish I catch.  So when the sun came up on Saturday let's just say I didn't run out to the trout stream.  I waited until I figured most people had called it for the day or before most of them came out for the evening bite.  On my way out I checked my favorite spot.  Apparently not just my favorite spot because there were two vehicles at the bridge.  No surprise so off I went to a spot up the road.  NO CARS.

  That was a good sign.  So I decided to get out and check upstream of the bridge.  I pulled out all my gear and set up and preceded to tie on my flies. 
Fly of the Day.  Caught every single fish on this fly.  My Castle Rock Killer.

Than with a gust of warm air booom right up my nose the super strong scent of a skunk.  Uh oh not a good sign.  I looked around a little to discover the source of the smell but no luck.  Well whatever the smell would be gone once I got on the water.  Then the wind changed direction and let's just say it didn't smell like skunk anymore.  Now it was a super strong smell of freshly spread cow manure.  Now growing up in Wisconsin you tend to become used to this smell.  But this wasn't the usual fresh batch that you smell, this was dank potent reek.  It was enough to gag a maggot.  Oh man all I could hope is that once I got back into the trees the smell would subside.  So I set off.  The smells still there.  I had to keep going because I love the scenery of this spot and wanted to at least get some good pics.  I walked back a ways and came across these flowers.

I kept heading upstream and seemed to be more interested in taking pics then I did in getting my fly into the water.  As I was walking I came across this set of prints which made me want to focus on the picture taking even more.  
A little to fresh for my taste.

The smell of both the skunk and manure was still wafting around in the air.  It was actually making it hard to breath.  Thanks to my god given big nose I am able to smell a little to well sometimes.  I was starting to question whether or not I would even be able to concentrate on setting hooks while I fought off tossing my cookies.  I decided to take a few more pics and see how things went.

My goal was to at least fish this one hole at the top of this pic.

This tree was at the top of the limestone bluff.


After a couple more minutes I decided that enough was enough and I was going to enjoy the rest of my day somewhere on a part of the stream where I could breathe through my nose if I wanted to.  I made a B- line for Subaru along the corn field and was not surprised when I stumbled upon our mysterious foul smelling friend.  

I quickly got into my ride and took off a part of the stream which is quite small and people tend to pass it up due to the fact it spooks easily.  I arrived and there wasn't a car in sight.  Maybe they were already here and gone but I decided it was way to nice and I would try my luck. 
The grass was looking greener on this side of the fence:)

I set out and fished the first hole.  Caught a brown but lost it before bringing it to hand.  Tossed back in and seen a flash and my line headed the other way.  This time I was able to get it to pose for a pic.  A nice little brookie from this part of the stream where I have only caught browns before.  Made me happy.
Looked like a feisty little fella!
The ever infamous creek chub.  "TWEETER"  Some people hate them, I  see a healthy stream.
Different trip, just had to add this pig chub for all to see.

 Here were some more browns caught today.

Caught this one drifting in and around a bend.

This creek always amazes me all the nice healthy browns it has and their willingness to pose for pics with my hand.

As usual it was starting to get late.
This guy stole the fly from the next fish below.  The fish below leaped straight out of the water but this fish took it before he could.  Confusing enough?

Couldn't get it to go for the fly again casting normally and stripping line, so I went above the hole and drifted down for it.  Bickity Bang, it fell for it.  And it didn't look to happy about it.
Well there you have it opening day and I managed to avoid the traffic and still fish some untouched water.  I hope everyone else had a great opening day.  I also hope that a lot of the big ones were released to see another day.  I am sure a lot of fish were kept today and people are frying them up right now.  To each there own.  All I hope is that people take a second to think about which fish they keep and practice selective harvesting.  Just because you can keep so many fish legally this doesn't mean you have to keep everyone you catch. 

Until Next Time Tight Lines to all.....!            ______________________


  1. The smell of skunk & manure wafting in the that's fishin'! Great post & pics.

  2. You seem to have made the most of a "stinky" situation. Great pictures and some pretty fish, too!

  3. troutrageous,
    You said it. I think I have it stuck in my nose. Still smell it:)

  4. Mel,
    Thanks. It was definitely worth sticking it out thats for sure. Seems like the first sunny day in a while.

  5. Chubs help the aquatic ecosystem too. Everyone plays their part. Beauty of some browns - way to be persistent.


  6. Great pics, that is a BIG chub. That would be record here probably.

  7. S&D,
    We use to call them "tweeters" and fished for them with ice fishing poles. Thanks.

  8. Blake,
    Sometimes I think maybe I should leave the pole in the car and just take pictures of everything. Pretty country!

  9. Kev,
    Thanks. I have come across some huge ones out there. I'll have to start weighing them:) Tight Lines.

  10. Beautiful photos.
    Those flowers are special.

  11. Hey Man! Just stumbled upon your blog...very cool! Nice to see you're still kicking it at Castle although I can't believe I haven't run into you out there. I'll actually be at Jerome's the 19th-22nd if you want to wet a line...Gray Trailblazer. Anyway, nice to see you and the fam are doing well.
    Your old friend,

  12. Nothing like a good, fresh, Wisconsin cow pie to make your day. Really nice, sharp photos.


  13. BrkTrt,
    Thanks much. I really liked the way the sun was hitting those flowers. Finally a sunny day!

  14. Patsy,
    Is that you brotherin. Skatin,snowboardin,trout fishin Patsy from the MadCity? What up holmes. Glad to hear from you. I'll have to try and make it down there if possible. Good luck and tight lines homey!

  15. Shoreman,
    Thanks a lot man. It just wouldn't feel the same with out a couple of cow pies and some angry bulls:)Glad you like the photos.

  16. Great pics! I'm glad that your skunking had nothing to do with the fishing...

  17. The one and only!
    I've been all fly rod for probably the last 10 years now. I've got the Gordon Creek system on lock and do well on the infamous BEC. Just starting to learn Spring Creek in Lodi. Gas $$$ has me keeping it close to Madison! Give me a shout if you want to wet a line down my way. Otherwise hit Castle with me 19th-22nd.

  18. Sanders,
    Thanks bro. Luckily the skunking didn't include my fish catching. I couldn't shake the smell for a good day. Thought I might have to take a tomato bath:)

  19. Patsy,
    How goes it man? Glad to hear the gas prices aren't keeping the man to down. I hear you. I tend to stay close by my house as well. Married? KIds? Time flies when you start raising a family.
    I will definitely give you a hollar if I head down that way to fish. If your heading my way just leave me a comment here. Probably the best way to get a hold of me:) Peace Out. Tight Lines!

  20. I think the last time we camped at Castle together you may have met a gal named Ashley...I married that gal. Actually proposed to her on top of the rock! We've got a 3.5 yr old son, Fletcher and everything is groovy. I'll be at Jerome's the 19th-22nd and again the last weekend of the season...otherwise I don't get farther west than Trout Creek outside Barneveld too often. Also a sick stream by the way.

  21. AMAZING pics!! Your blog is really coming alive! Also I wanted to let you know and ask if it alright that I do my next weeks blog shout out that will include your blog?

  22. Dustin,

    Thanks a lot man. Yes,I appreciate you giving my blog a shout out. KEep tying those sweet flies up and tight lines...! Thanks again.

  23. awesome!! Most likely friday next week


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