Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Heat Is On

Good heavens, 91 degrees? in MAY?
Yep, and with the water temperatures in unison, no trout today.
Back to the smallie grind, except no wading this time. We used Scott's low pride Hyde to 'drift the river in style."
Here's what we learned today.

  • I am the UNDISPUTED rock bass bassmasters grand champion
  • Nate likes Maxima, and doesn't like Scott's boat position from the stern
  • Scott likes to row, and doesn't care about what boat position Nate likes
  • Even Smallmouth think its just TO DANG hot right now
We caught enough fish to give us some nice line burns on our fingers, but the average fish was a little smaller than what we were accustomed to catching. We took fish on everything from Murdichs to Poppers, and even some new minnow patterns (tiny) that some of the fish seemed to prefer.
WE REALLY need some precipitation right now. I heard through the grapevine  from a reliable source that a few trout rivers are at their LOWEST recorded marks in HISTORY, of all time. That could spell disaster for some of the streams that have a harvest as all but a few of the largest fish will be "easy pickings" in the deepest holes in the river.

Don't get me wrong, I'm "ECSTATIC" that we have probably had the absolute BEST dry spring for grouse broods in the past 20 years, but everyone involved in water care or preservation is starting to press the panic button, and rightfully so.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Big flies, Big fish, and Big Remorse

Ah well, shucks, Dangit.
All three of these words along with a few choice others left my lips as I realized it might be a little to late for the bronze backed beauty as it swam away from me and a small pool of blood trailed right behind it. What can you do, it's all part of this "catch and release thing" that sometimes happens. I just wish it didn't have to be on the biggest fish of the afternoon. Sometimes things in life happen, even when we have the best of intentions.
I should be on my way to Canada instead of writing this, but an unfortunate emergency surgery in my immediate family forced us to cancel our father/son trip. Such as life, the lodge was extremely accommodating, and will save our deposit till next year, so all was not lost. So here I sit, with the remainder of the week off with 90 degree weather and a few flies begging to get wet. Figuring the mosquito's on my trout rivers would be a bit to hot, I opted for a SMALLIE run.
I caught a variety of fish on the barteax minneaux, from a tiny rock bass to a long nosed gar which scared the absolute CRAP out of me, thinking i was starring in the next installment of the crocodile movie, "Lake Placid."
I then had a small lunch consisting of two granola bars and a handful of almonds. It was time to head back upstream. I decided to tie on a popper and see if I couldn't pull something off the TOP of the water. After fighting the large current for about twenty minutes, I finally connected. I had lost my hemostats somewhere in the river on the way down, and had tried to pinch my barb with my nippers. I thought I had done a good enough job, but this monster inhaled the popper all the way down to the gullet. I stuck my whole hand down his mouth trying to free that hook and JUST couldn't get it. I felt terrible. So I decided to try and give him the best chance I could. Cut the line as close to the popper as I could and hopefully he could make a go of it.
 Ah well, shucks, Dangit
 Sometimes things in life happen, even when we have the best of intentions.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Blackwater

After getting the "bright idea" to try a new stream this morning, I've come to a basic conclusion regarding what should or should not be my fishing mantra.
I've been hearing about what a GREAT brook trout haven the "E C" is, and how even a blind man could catch a Brook trout in this river . Well consider my vision worse than Ray Charles, because Mr. Jones and me (Counting Crows reference) got our Arses handed to us in a MAJOR way. I don't know if I was fishing a bad stretch, if someone had just gone through before us, or if I'm just a terrible fisherman. What I CAN tell you is that it is an EXTREMELY narrow, weed choked river, that is loaded with chubs, mosquito's, and a 3 inch brook trout.
After about an hour of throwing streamers and wet flies, we had simply had enough. We were somewhat close to a road, so we tucked our tails between our legs and started our trek back to the vehicle that brought us to this Godforsaken stream. Upon arrival to the SUV which singlehandedly sparks a steep upturn in Exxon stock every time a turn over the ignition, we had a realization.
Neither of us had awoken at 5 am to fish for an hour, so we went to the OLD muddy.What it lacks in wade-a-bility,  it makes up for in cast-a-bility, and trout. Being a Saturday, all of the usual put ins were occupied, so we chose a less likely and "off the beaten path" entrance. This stretch of water is usually WAY to deep to wade, but our current drought made it it perfect. We caught many brookies, including this colored gem that resembled a char, from its brilliant white under fins.
While today certainly wasn't "hammertime" which has been described so brilliantly by Mr. Paite, we always had enough action to keep it interesting. We took fish on beetles, adams, stimulators, and streamers, but nothing of substantial size.
Sometimes the best water isn't the furthest from home.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MONTANA, here we come

well until August, yes were rolling!
Land of the giants, blue ribbon Missouri river? It can't get here soon enough. All of our I 's are dotted and T's Are crossed and its only a matter of summer, till  I get to experience the strongest trout in all of the inland USA!
This is SUCH a special place. Literally, the place I would LOVE to move to if I wasn't married, (there are no nordstroms for my wife). I get to fish with the best guide on the river (in photo), and have my best goose hunting buddy and (state champion caller) at my side for the first time) and hoppers and possibly some streamer action in late August!


I'll let ALL of you wait in jealousy for a moment (OK, it's passed), but I promise to keep you updated EVERY night from the trip), LAST WEEK in August). until then, GOOD FISHING!
And i ask all of you who Haven't signed up as followers to please do so, as its free, anonymous, and we welcome ALL comments!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


My wife and I were celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary on Michigan avenue this weekend amongst the Nordstroms, Bloomingdales, and Neiman Marcus's of the the concrete jungle. I was given a 2 hour pass while she got her hair trimmed at a salon in town, so I started my wandering. One mile and  three street entertainers later, I couldn't believe my eyes. I giant green awning that said FLY FISHING was just off Michigan avenue. I don't even think I waited till the walk sign was green, I practically sprinted to the "haven for men of Michigan ave" as the clerk described it to me.
I then realized the other side of the awning said Orvis, so I wasn't QUITE as excited, but none the less, better than looking at another high heel in a size 9. The store was filled with fedoras, shotgun belt buckles, and yes even a (river runs through it) DVD, I know, "shocking."
The fishing attendant was VERY nice, full of more info and knowledge than I expected, and he even showed me a new net called the phantom from Brodin, which after his demonstration , I bought. This was without question the BEST catch and release trout net I've ever laid hands on. It's light, invisible bag while wet, well built, and even made with attractive wood.
Morale of the story?
Always keep an open mind, good things happen when you least expect it. Treat your significant others well, they deserve it.  If you are EVER in Chicago you MUST try Grahm Elliot,  its simply the coolest upscale restaurant. HIGHLY recommended.

Friday, May 14, 2010

WOLVES aaaarrrrrggggghhhhhh!

 AS a grouse hunter I have had my own run in with wolves, my little GSP just about died from shaking in fear two years ago when one chased her at me down a logging road. It's time to chalk up another one south of highway 64. This needs to stop. If the HSUS would quit filing silly lawsuits the DNR and other government agencies could control this growing and disturbing problem. Here we have two springer spaniels (NOT BEAR DOGS), and their still getting attacked. I understand the DNR's hands are tied, but if they don't get control of this problem, people will continue to take it into their own hands and all will be lost. On another note, good  to see our own WISCONSIN DNR has partnered with the HSUS yes the ANTI HUNTING, trapping, and fishing organization to start a "don't touch baby animals" campaign. I can't say I'm shocked , but I've already heard rumors of VERY high ups in the Wisconsin government on both party lines that have contacted the DNR and asked what in the h e double hockey sticks they are doing, including a letter directly from Senator Kadezie.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SWING that Soft Hackle

"MAN this is fun", I exclaimed after nabbing a few fish on our way back downstream from our usual day of walking "UPSTREAM", and attempting to get our best dead drifts from either a tandem nymph rig or dry fly. My partner muttered "well it gives you something to do on the way back to the car!"
I'd like to give it a little more credit than that. In the past year I've realized how much slightly agitating a nymph or caddis fly can really "set off" a fish rather than just attempting the perfect dead drift every time. The same holds true with the standard down and across method that most of us are taught when using some of these of these partridge and "whatevers." It's kind of an idiot proof way to enjoy your day on the water and look at the scenery that surrounds you rather than watching a indicator or heavily hackled dry fly.
I told myself this season I was going to fish this style a little more. If nothing else, when fishing a crowded stretch of water, it almost always seems that most fisherman attempt a jaunt upstream, this gives us another option in that same stretch of water. Don't forget about it, just another trick in the bag, and I need all the tricks I can get.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Soaked, Frozen, and Still Smiling

4 to 6 inches?, of SNOW? I asked my wife as she read the bleak forecast for this Friday night into Saturday morning. Upon further checking, I realized I only had one option if I wanted to fish this weekend, Southwest Wisconsin.
Several phone calls were placed to friends seeing if they wanted to join me in a late Friday evening and Saturday morning jaunt to the driftless. Nate jumped at the chance to avoid the Winter Wonderland our part of the state was supposed to become.
Arriving with about two hours left of daylight, we got our gear on as fast as we could and headed to a stretch I haven't fished in many years. The first hour was slow to say the least, then the Baetis exploded.
Little dark sailboats floating by every which way, and our best imitations were added to the tippet immediately. It was a great night in the pouring rain, and Nate managed to catch his largest Brown ever. This fish was the definition of girth and brawn, to this day I don't remember seeing a brown trout with this large of tail, great fight buddy!

Saturday morning brought a starting temp of 32 degrees and flurries to match. We had a leisurely breakfast, in hopes of the day warming in both actual temperature and in our own minds. Like troopers we suited up, and after tying on new leaders, our hands were already numb with a stinging 20 mph wind.
Sometimes we get rewarded for such idiocracy, and today was one of the days. I 'm rarely a "numbers" guy, but anytime I can pull over 20 fish out of one run to me that's a "special" day. It kind of shocked us that fish were feeding SO aggressively with the weather we had encountered. They were attacking olive scuds and juju baetis nymphs like Tony Soprano on a maduro Cohiba Robusto. I guess sometimes it just pays to "get out there".
The most special part of today was I used my fathers old Winston, (or as he calls it, his old Wilson). I only break out this rod a couple of times a year, or special occasions, it was a great gift he gave me. I guess sometimes a dad's helping hand is right there even when he's not, A smirk and smile came to my face after fish number twenty, because all I could hear him saying in my head was "I TOLD you those Wilson's are great rods"!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My shooting iron is FINALLY back!

After what seemed like an eternity but was actually more like 3 to 4 weeks, my RBL is finally back. I had to get some L.O.P. added, and had my foregrip changed to a a "semi beavertail" versus the sliver grip I bought it with. My paws are just to big not have have a little extra wood to hold on to. Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing was very easy to deal with, and I feel they do fantastic work. I think their line of R.B.L.'s , will be the next American affordable classic side by side. They are all but done producing them now, which is a darn shame. If I could get one to my specs, I'd look at a 16 to match. I do feel that with today's great loads, a twenty is a great all around gun in the uplands. Although I'm SURE it will take a little getting used to these new dimensions, giving me a built in excuse for this upcoming season.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The best drumming footage EVER

I found this and have to give credit that this is the finest I have ever seen. Simply amazing. You should pause the music at the bottom of my page first before viewing, and double click on the link for HD version, but "feel free" to enjoy the theme from "running scared" and Michael Mcdonald also! HAHA