Saturday, August 21, 2010

fly fishing trout (dane county, wi)

I made the early drive into southern Dane county for a solo fishing and recon trip to check out a new creek. As soon as I crossed into the hill filled county the fog was apparent and the cloud cover was complete. I found my creek and drove from the headwaters down to the mid section of the creek checking out the bridge crossings along the way. The head waters were skinny and looked to average no more then 2 or 3 feet.

the creek's headwater
The mid section looked to average no more then 4 or 5 feet.

just downstream
Once I was geared up I started the hike from the dnr lot down the path to the creek bank. Every step further I took into the field the more and more mosquitoes found my exposed skin.

mosquitoe heaven
By the time I made it onto the creek I had over 30 bites on my neck, face, and arms. I made my way a short distance up and down a small section of the creek looking for fish and structure. Within 30 minutes I had enough of smashing mosquitoes off me by the half dozen, and made my way back to the car.

I took an hour driving around and visited the near-by river and 2 of the closest towns (one of which had a fully operation blacksmith). Around 9:00am I decided to man-up and made my way back down to the creek. Thank god the bugs had dissipated by this time. I waded up the creek fishing ahead of me and found just how difficult this creek was in mid-summer. Branches and brush were everywhere just waiting to grab my flies. Some sections of this creek narrowed to only a couple feet, and some sections were deeper then they were wide. I was fishing a floating beetle with a heavy scud dropper behind it. Fishing my way up stream was almost impossible and with only an hour left I made my way back down stream.

On the way back downstream I was feeding my line down the creek ahead of me. This proved to be a lot easier and quickly I was rewarded with a strike that I was unable to connect on. I floated my line around a sharp turn with a rock and gravel outside bend. This time I watched the indicator take off and I set the hook sharply. This time I felt the fish tug back. I hand-lined the fish in and pulled him out of the water. This fish was my first brook trout ever!!!

my first brook trout!!!
This has been my first season fly fishing for western Wisconsin inland trout and there have been many firsts this year for me. I have always been a spin-fisherman up until 3 years ago when Neal introduced me to tributary fly-fishing. Since then my passion for the art fly-fishing and fly tying has grown tremendously.

This spring creek was healthy and cold even with temperatures reaching into the high 80’s and 90’s around here. I was able to spot many fish on my way up and back down the creek. I spooked quite a few on the way up (even one I estimated to be around 2 pounds). This creek could be an absolute sleeper and I will hold its location close to my chest. I will be back soon…
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

bass fishing (kenosha county, wi)

The mosquitoes have been ferocious the last couple years but this year in particular. The hassle of loading and unloading my canoe is almost unbearable if its anywhere close to dawn or dusk. My legs sustained multiple bites this weekend and have yet to loose the chronic itchy feeling even now as I’m writing this post. The summer is starting to wind down. The days are starting to shrink and the kids are getting prepared for the new school year starting here this week. This leads me to my point that salmon season is right around the corner. Time to pull out the vice and stock my fly box before the air begins to cool and the trees turn their fall colors.
neal's first bass

my first bass
This weekend was still hot and the air was still muggy. Neal and I were out for some mid summer bass on a private lake I had never fished before. We were throwing drop-shots with finesse plastics and live bait on slip bobber rigs. The action was consistently slow and managed to land 6 fish over 6 hours. Nothing here to brag about and most of the fish were small. It was still nice to be out on the water and better yet it was under a 20 minute ride from the house.

neal's best bass today

my best bass today

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Friday, August 6, 2010

a look back- 09-28-2009 fly fishing salmon (tributaries, wi)

This post is a continuation from my previous post. This is the second day of a fishing trip I went on with Neal last year. If you didn’t read my last post then click here.


We awoke that morning to find a puddle of water on the bottom of our tent. The rain last night wasn’t a downpour but more like a consistent drizzle that gave everything a good soaking. Since camp was right on the banks of the river we were able to see the flows hadn’t been affected by the rain last night. The decision was made to pack down the entire camp and be on the river in the next hour. The sun was just starting to give us some light and that made breaking down the tent and reloading our gear into the truck super quick. Breakfast consisted of pop-tarts washed down by red bull and after brushing our teeth we were ready to fish.

A short drive and we were ready to stalk some salmon. The lot was practically empty only having one other car in sight. I love fishing weekdays! We made a short walk to the first “sweet spot” in the river, a place we never were able to fish the day before due to the other anglers that had this spot locked down. Just walking down the bank, I spotted a group of 3 large fish pushing up and down the front of a gravel bar. Neal conceded the spot to me and I gratefully accepted preparing to send my purple egg-sucking-leach into the war zone.

wisconsin tributaries
On the third cast into the pool I hooked up. Neal stuck around long enough to help me land the first fish of the day. We took a quick photo and both Neal and my fish headed down river. I stayed to work the remaining fish I had in front of me.

a solid salmon to start the day!!
Twenty minutes later I followed my friends footsteps down river stopping to work a couple isolated pods of fish. I hooked up on four more fish and landed two. One of them was fouled and the other was fair. These fish I had to tail grab by myself.

as close to fair as it gets
I walked up on Neal playing a foul hooked fish that we caught and released. Neal had chased the fish a good distance upriver. He told me “bro, you won’t believe the amount of fish in the next pool down”. We made our way to the pool and sure enough he was right. At least thirty fish were packed in that fifty yard stretch. This is where we spent the rest of our day.

neal with a nice king
me and my new friend jack
my new friend buck
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Monday, August 2, 2010

a look back- 09-27-2009 fly fishing salmon (tributaries, wi)

With my favorite fishing season (fall salmon in the tributaries) right around the corner, I’ve decided to take a look back to 2009 at one of the best king salmon trips me a Neal shared. It happened to be the first salmon trip we took that fall. This post was partly brought on because of the extra thought I’ve been putting towards the upcoming spawning migration and partly because I blanked this weekend fishing in-land trout in the driftless area of Wisconsin. At least my car held up this weekend with no issues. Lets rewind the clock 14 months…


We were making this a two day trip where we would be camping overnight. It was a Sunday morning and Me and Neal were heading to fish for king salmon. A local guide had tipped us off that fish had already began to move into the rivers in Northern Wisconsin. We were up and on the road by 5:00am to put most of the miles on his truck before the sun showed up. We made the river by 8:00am and did some scouting around before deciding on where to fish. A quick stop at the fish weir and we could see a few fish pooled up by the fish elevator but the numbers just weren’t there to say the run was in full swing. Maybe we were a little early? Well, we are here now. Lets go fishing.

salmon sitting under the dam
The first morning of fishing was exhausting to say the least. We covered lots of different water working tons of different flies. We pounded the water for almost 6 hours with out even seeing a fish. By that time we were tires and hungry and voted that it was time to break for lunch. We drove back into town and found a nice pub and had a burger while pretending to be Packer fans. That close to Greenbay we should be careful things don’t get out of hand. After lunch we went shopping for some food to have at camp and then we drove to the campground to set up our tent. After our camp site was in order we headed back to the river.

The afternoon on the river started the same as the morning did. We arrived and started to scout the water placing some random casts to some decent looking pools. Still no fish in sight! Just as I thought it couldn’t get worse it started to rain, thank goodness we packed the rain gear. As the initial down pour started to slow something magical happened. It was like a stampede of wild bulls, instantly dozens of fresh silver kings come bulldozing up the river. Salmon aren’t graceful like steelies, the urge to spawn will motivate them to navigate water only a few inches deep practically beaching themselves. Fish were blowing the water up all around us. We both thought the fresh water the rain brought into the river system caused the fish to move up from the deep holding pools down river.

Within minutes Neal yelled “fish on”! The battle was on, that first fish was up and down the river putting Neal’s tippet to the test. He fought the fish well even having to flip the line off a boulder after getting wrapped around it. A few minutes later I tail grabbed our first salmon of 2009.

now thats a king salmon
Now it was my turn to try landing a river monster. The sun was setting as the beast sucked the fly into its mouth. I reared back quickly on the rod and the fish took off. Line was flying off the real as I applied soft pressure with my hand. This fish felt like it really had some shoulders and quite possibly could be a personal best for me. It took some time to tire her out but I finally got her turned from running up current. With the fish coming back down stream I guided her over to Neal. Another solid hand grab and we put the camera to our last fish of the day.
my turn for a trophy king salmon
By the time we got off the river it was dark. We headed back to camp and grabbed some firewood on the way. Time to have a nice campfire, some brats, and a couple stiff drinks before calling it a night.

To read about the second day the click here.
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