Sunday, April 23, 2017

Post-work Trout Fishing

I'm really lucky to have a trout stream ~15 minutes from my office. Now that the days are getting longer I have a lot of opportunities to take advantage and fish after work.

Southern Wisconsin Trout Fly Fishing

Monday was a beautiful day here - sunny with highs in the low 70s. I left work around 5 and made the quick drive through the corn fields and pastures to the stream.

I started out fishing a small streamer and had a few bites, but didn't land anything. After seeing some caddis flying around, I decided to try an EHC instead. After a few minutes I had my first dry-fly fish of the year, though he was a little on the small side.

I didn't have any more luck on the dry, so I switched back to a streamer to see what I could pull out of a deep hole farther downstream. On the first cast I felt a strong tug and pulled in a nice brook trout.

Southern Wisconsin Brook Trout Fly Fishing

That was it for the day - it was a short trip, but it was nice to unwind with some time on the water after a day at work. The fact that I didn't have to spend an hour in the car was just icing on the cake.

A small white violet - unsure of the e

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Signs of Spring

Spring is finally here in Wisconsin. We had an unusually warm February, but March and April have been more typical. Lots of rain, but that's certainly not a bad thing as fishing goes.

Round Lobed Hepatica Anemone Acutiloba Madison WI Baraboo

I haven't been able to get out as much as I would have liked, but I have had a few good days recently.

Last weekend I decided to check out my current favorite stream in the area. Unlike the slow, winding spring creeks that are common in this area, this one is a swift, high gradient freestone where brook trout, rather than browns, dominate. It flows out of an ancient eroded mountain range, and although hills would probably be a more accurate description these days, the surrounding area is steep with dramatic rock outcroppings.

In the fall I had seen the leaves of one of my favorite flowers - Hepatica. Given that they typically bloom in early April, I was hopeful I would find some - and I did.

Round Lobed Hepatica Anemone Acutiloba Madison WI Baraboo

I couldn't go 10 feet without seeing a clump of flowers, in varying shades of pink, purple, blue and white (though they are all the same species). I also found a few other species in bloom - bloodroot and Dutchman's breeches (probably my favorite flower name), as well as the first leaves of numerous trout lilies (named for the mottled texture resembling a brook trout's back).

After taking in the flowers I decided I should probably get to fishing. Conditions were perfect for streamer fishing - the water was slightly high and off-color, but not so much that the fish stopped eating.

Southern WI Madison Wild Brook Trout

On my first cast I caught the best brook trout of the day from a fast riffle. As I moved downstream my luck didn't stop - I had hits in nearly every pool and pulled in several more trout - I lost count of the exact number.

Now is crunch time for fishing - conditions should be good throughout the state, but I don't have time to visit every place I want to. Do I keep coming back to this woodland stream to see the stunning variety of wildflowers before they disappear?  Or do I venture to the Driftless streams that will be nearly covered by prairie grasses and thus difficult to fish by July?

Driftless Brown Trout Spring Creek

In any case, having too many fishing opportunities is a good problem to have - I'm certainly not complaining.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Wisconsin Winter

The trout season has been open since the start of January here. I've been out a few times - it's been cold, but there have been a few days warm enough to fish. While winter sometimes feels long, it's only a matter of time before spring is here again. The days are already noticeably longer and it's just going to get better.

Last weekend highs were in the 40s, so I tried a couple nearby streams. I got some video of a nice brown taking my streamer in a spring creek.

I also found some brookies in a higher gradient stream.

I didn't fish today due to high winds and low temperatures, but I think tomorrow I'll give it a shot.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Salter Season

I'm back in MA this week for the holidays, and this morning I was able to spend a few hours on a salter stream.  It was a little chilly when I got there, but the sun was on the water and tide was high but receding.

This is the time of year when some of the trout head downstream to the salt, so I focused on the estuary. I ended up catching all of my fish under the road bridge. I've found that this is one of the most productive spots in the estuary. I think it provides the perfect combo of cover, current, and depth, so the fish stack up there. 

I caught three brookies, all decently sized, in the span of about 15 minutes. After that, nothing, so I called it a day. 

Tomorrow is forecast to be rainy and in the low 50s - great conditions for winter trout. I'll be out with Geoff all day, so hopefully we can replicate some of today's success. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Highlights of 2016

My friend Geoff made the Orvis Friday Fly Fishing Film Festival with his video highlights of 2016. While I couldn't be there for every moment in the video, you might see some familiar hands at some point....

Check it out here or on Orvis News