New Toys

My wife,  being the amazing person that she is, gifted me with a GoPro camera this past Christmas.  I have been very anxious to get out on the water with it and a few weekends ago we were able to take some footage in the driftless area.  Here is a short video that Matt and I put together of us fishing the spring creeks of southwest Wisconsin.  Enjoy.

Back to the Driftless, Again

Last weekend, it actually felt like Spring with air temperatures reaching the 60s (gasp!) on Sunday. Melt and stain was an issue, especially in the afternoons, but fishing smaller drainages or higher in the systems allows you to find fishable water. Although not the middle of summer quite yet, it was nice to be out without seventeen layers on punching ice from your guides. The water temps peaked around 45 degrees, and fish were caught. The previous weekend surprisingly produced better action, but the warmer weather was preferable, at least for me. It is looking like cooler weather and precipitation precedes another comfortable weekend coming up, so if you haven’t gotten out yet, here is another opportunity.

 

Back to the Driftless

After fishing (for a couple of hours at least) through the Polar Vortex of the Opener, we have been waiting for the weather to finally grow up and act like spring before getting out again. But as the freeze continued (at least during the weekends, the weekdays always seemed to be warmish and sunny as I sat in my office staring out the window), we thought a forecasted high of 30 degrees on Saturday would have to suffice. Other than dealing with ice in the guides all day, it was actually very pleasant. And the catching started from the get go and continued through the afternoon. We then woke Sunday to 15 degrees and a heavy wind, so after gearing up and making about 3 casts before everything (including our fingers) froze up, we packed it in and left.

The forecast for this weekend looks too nice to be true. But we are going to break out the tank tops and flip flops and maybe do some wet wading. There is still some snow left, mostly in the woods, so hopefully the streams don’t blow out. Either way, I am looking forward to feeling some warm spring breezes, and finally (maybe) getting this winter behind us.

 

Frozen Opener

Another snowstorm on the drive north, single digit daytime highs, sub zero overnight lows. Not ideal fishing conditions. But we went anyways. Because it was the Opener and we always go. In spite of the weather. And maybe this time, to spite the weather. To spite this winter. We went because we have all been cooped up inside for too long and we had to at least try to get out and go fishing. And we did fish. And we did actually catch fish. And it was 7 degrees out. And it was good to get out again. Necessary probably. And we went to see our friends, to all get together again because it had been too long. And we had a good time. A good time fishing and a better time catching up. After all the cold and snow, the fishing season is finally here. Now, if it will safely get above freezing, I will go again.

The Beginning of the End of Winter

 

Things have been rather slow around here this winter. Near record amounts of snow and abnormally cold temperatures have made fly fishing rather difficult. While the flowing water is nearly impossible to find this winter, the frozen kind is abundant.  Our good friend Bob made an ice rink in his yard this year.  Bob’s cousins, the Parke’s, a few other friends and I have been playing our version of hockey a few times a week. Ice fishing has been possible since mid December, and most spots I have fished this season have at least fifteen inches of ice. I also had my first child back in December. Anne and I named her Brooke Elizabeth and  we can’t wait to take her camping.

As it continues to snow outside, inside I am busy tying buggers for the Wisconsin trout season opener. We would all like the weather warm enough so that ice doesn’t form on the guides, yet cool enough so as to not melt too much snow and blow the stream out. One thing is for sure, there will be some cold yet content anglers scattered throughout Wisconsin come Saturday, March 1st. Summer will be here with mosquitoes, ticks, biting spiders, bees, and  poison ivy before you know it.

I am looking forward to another year of fishing with my friends. Cheers to 2014!

Day Trips

Late fall is prime time to hit the great lakes tributaries. While I prefer the power and speed of a steelhead, a day can be made with the assortment of salmonids and big browns that fill the tributaries throughout the winter. Aaron and I got out early yesterday and were able to both get fish. Aaron is quite the experienced angler, yet the tributaries have been unkind to him over the years. I believe a switch rod is on his Christmas wish list so he must be planning on reversing the current trend. A nice brown on a yarn egg is a good way to start.

Northwoods Slam

Two of the most sought after species in northern Wisconsin in the fall are the ruffed grouse and the muskellunge. Throw in a Lake Superior steelhead, and you have the Northwoods Slam. Or something like that.  At the very least, even getting one of those three, you probably had a really good weekend.

 

More Driftless Closer

While I was not able to attend the 2013 trout season closing weekend, I was able to get out with Aaron, Andrew and Will just before the end of september. Brook trout were the ticket and the aggressive and acrobatic takes will not soon be forgotten. 

 A bunch of us just got back from a few days in northern Wisconsin.  Aaron got a big musky and will got a nice steelhead, pictures will be up soon.

Fall Musky

I have been chasing musky the last two weekends in northern Wisconsin. Rivers one weekend and lakes the other. Turns out that it is musky fishing either way. Tough. Got spanked on the rivers, and got one from the lakes. The conditions seemed perfect last weekend, cloudy, chilly, rainy, snowy, but the bite was not on. We thought things were going to get crazy when a snow storm blew in on Saturday afternoon while we were on the water, but then they didn’t. Having been such a mild fall until recently, I don’t think the water temps have fallen to the point where the fish realize that winter’s coming, it’s time to chow. That is probably going to change soon, if it hasn’t already. I just hope to be out there when it does.

Driftless Closer

Another trout season has come and gone, and as always, I feel like it has closed too soon. I would love to keep chasing trout through the hills and valleys as the woods burst into flames and the frost in the morning tries to keep you from leaving the warm comfort of your sleeping bag. But as it stands, the Wisconsin inland trout season closes at the end of September and it is time to move on.

My boy Johnny and I closed out the season in the Driftless, and the fishing was good, not great, but it was nice to be there. Trout were still eating hoppers, which is always fun, but streamers were most effective. Nymphs surely would have caught more fish, but I am not certain if I even remember how to use them anymore.

Musky and steelhead will dominate the coming months, and it looks like the first of the fall rains is upon us to kickstart the season. The precipitation is welcome, and hopefully it continues intermittently throughout the fall.