Thursday, February 28, 2013

Visiting The Vise! The UV Sparkle Midge Emerger

  This week I received some pretty exciting news. I am going to knock one off the bucket list and head to Colorado the end of March for a fly fishing excursion. In light of these plans I decided I should get to tying some flies for the cool clean Colorado waters. I started doing some research on common and best fly patterns to use out west. I came across an interesting site geared toward the fine Colorado fisheries. I cam across The Catch And The Hatch  . This site provides great inside lines on what, where, when, how info, including great fly patterns with recipes and all. So last night I decided to pull up a chair and start getting a head start at filling the boxes with some Colorado fly goodness. The first fly I started to tie was the UV Sparkle Midge Emerger. Pretty simple tie, but very tiny hooks.



 I am also going to tie a few up in Green as well, as recommended. It is a basic thread body and head with a fine wire rib, and some rainbow flash as the wings. These are tied on a size 18 2x short 2x wide gap hook. Here is the recipe per The Catch And The Hatch.

Hook Type:Tiemco 2457 or 2487
Hook Size:#16-26
Bead:None
Wing:Krystal Flash
Thread Type:8/0 Uni Thread or 70 Denier
Thread Color:Any
Wire:Extra Small-Small Any Color
Dubbing:Ultra Fine – Match to Thread or Just Use Thread Color

Here is a quick how to video by The Catch And The Hatch. UV Midge  how to tie


 I have a feeling this pattern would work well in any trout waters, and I know I will be giving it a shot in the Driftless this year.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wisconsin Brook Trout Threatened By Gill Lice

  The Wisconsin DNR has released a statement about the growing concerns revolving around gill lice and they are looking for anglers help. The DNR and Trout Unlimited  have set up a website to report any cases of gill lice that anglers may encounter. The link to the site is http://wisconsintu.org/Default.aspx?alias=wisconsintu.org/gilllice  .  This is a growing concern and should be taken seriously due to the fact it could very well wipe out Wisconsin's native Brook Trout populations in some streams. The following is the news release from the DNR:


Trout anglers being asked to report incidents of gill lice in brook trout

FITCHBURG, Wis. – Alert trout anglers’ reports to state fish biologists have brought to light a potential threat to Wisconsin’s native brook trout, and all trout anglers are now being asked to help track that threat.
Populations of a small parasitic crustacean -- called a copepod by scientists but known commonly as gill lice -- appear to be increasing in some southwestern Wisconsin trout streams.
Brook trout and gill lice have always lived together in Wisconsin streams, according to Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists, but recently the balance appears to be tipping toward higher gill lice numbers in some streams. The creature attaches to a brook trout’s gills making it difficult for the fish to breath and slowing normal growth and development. This increase in gill lice in some streams may be reducing trout numbers.
DNR fish scientists will be taking a closer look at gill lice in select Wisconsin trout streams during the 2013 field season seeking a better understanding of why gill lice populations may be increasing and where they are increasing. In addition to streamside research, a website has been set up to make it easy for anglers across the state to report the appearance or absence of gill lice in the streams they fish.
“Gill lice are not new in Wisconsin streams,” said Matthew Mitro, research scientist with the DNR Bureau of Science Services, “they’ve always lived in balance with our native brook trout with neither having a significant negative impact on the other. Many trout anglers are familiar with them and the lice pose no threat to human health. What is new to us was an increasing number of anglers telling our fish biologists about increases in gill lice in waters where they’d seen few or none previously. That’s what got our attention.
“Reports from anglers of a growing gill lice population in some streams first started coming in 2010 and 2011. Our early survey work in 2012 showed a dramatic increase in infections between April and October 2012 in one stream where in April, 42 percent of fish surveyed had the lice. By October we found 95 percent infected. This is far ahead of anything we’d expect to find. Many of the infected fish had high numbers of the gill lice. With so many fish infected so heavily the end result may be lower growth rates, smaller fish, a higher death rate and a smaller brook trout population in the stream.”
While researchers know that gill lice have been present all along they don’t have good knowledge of how widespread they are in Wisconsin’s trout streams or at what level. There are historic anecdotal reports of severe infections in Seas Branch, a small creek in Vernon County, and Duncan Creek in Chippewa County, but nowhere else. Wisconsin fisheries scientists know that gill lice are present in other states with native brook trout populations, such as Minnesota, but little hard data are available.
Partners lend a hand
“This is where Wisconsin trout anglers can really help us document the concern,” said Mitro. “It’s through a process called citizen-based monitoring and doesn’t require any science training to participate.
“All trout anglers are asked to do is go fishing, as they would otherwise, and for each location they fish, fill out a simple report on the species of trout caught and if they observed any gill lice on brook trout. It’s equally important to report when they didn’t observe any gill lice where they fished. Location information is general so favorite fishing spots are not disclosed.”
Survey information will go into a master database and will be available to the public as the information is entered.
website has been set up for the angler reports with the help of Wisconsin Trout Unlimited which maintains the website and theRiver Alliance of Wisconsin (all links exit DNR). The effort is funded by a Citizen Based Monitoring grant.
Potential long-term impacts
Mitro says it is too early in this investigation into gill lice populations to identify trends but suggests the lice are appearing in younger trout more frequently than before, potentially affecting population growth.
During the 2012 field season researchers found trout less than one year of age with the parasites. Slower growth and development in young-of-the-year fish means surviving their first winter is more of a challenge. This in turn may negatively affect brook trout population growth rates.
“There are a number of factors we hope to evaluate as we look into this more deeply,” says Mitro. “We just do not know at this time how things like water temperature, fish population density, the presence or absence of other trout species and the physical characteristics of trout stream habitat may contribute to an increase in gill lice, if at all. These are some of the questions we hope to answer.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Mitro, 608-221-6366

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Friday Night Ice

  This past Friday I was able to venture out to my crappie hole again. Ice is solid, but the waters have mucked up a bit due to the rain we had earlier in the week draining into the lake. Ice was a solid 12 inches, and the fish where still thriving and hungry. Although the size of fish sized decreased a little we still managed to catch some solid keepers for the frying pan. I was so consumed in catching, I completely forgot to snap a few pics to share with you all. We fished from 5:30-10:30pm and managed to catch about 40 crappie with a few bluegills mixed in. With the temps still looming around 32 degrees we should still have a few more weeks of solid ice. As the temps warm throughout the next few weeks, take caution as some spots may become soft and unsafe. Tight Lines and happy fishing!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Visiting The Vise! Tying The Ray Charles Scud

  Last Spring I saw this pattern over at Trouterspace . I was interested in it to say the least, as we all know that scuds are excellent in the early trout season of the driftless area. I purchased the materials needed to tie this one, but was consumed in fishing and never got around to tying them up. This past Sunday I awoke to my cup of joe and decided it was time to put some time in on the vise.


After sitting down and going through some materials I found the ostrich herl  that I purchased for tying up the ray charles pattern. I figured why not, Scuds are key during the early season, so I got to tying a few up. Here is a photo of one of twelve that I tied yesterday.


 They came out great! You can actually vary the color of the herl to get a few different colors in the box. Yesterday I only had white. Here is the recipe for the Ray Charles.

Hook: 16-20 nymph

Thread: Red 6/0 or 8/0

Wire: Small or Med. Silver, I substituted for green

Body: Ostrich Herl

Shell Back: One Strand Flashabou



Here is a short time lapse video that Trouterspace threw together on tying this pattern.


Give it a Tie!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fish Porn

  I've been pondering the idea of posting a few big fish photos every Friday and calling it the Friday Fish Porn. I am going to give it a whirl for a few weeks and see how it goes. If anyone would care to share some big fish photo's send them to me via email @ trailtheoutdoors@gmail.com ,and I will post them up on the following Friday.  Today's theme  is the Root River located in Racine,WI. The Root River serves as a tributary to Lake Michigan. All of these fish where Caught,Pictured, and released for another day.








Thursday, February 21, 2013

Visiting The Vise! Tying The Pink Army

  As I mentioned in yesterdays post I have been detained with Ice Fishing, and haven't put much thought into fly fishing as of recently. After realizing how close the early season opener was and how unprepared I am at this current point, I figured it was time to kick my ass into high gear. Last night I dusted off the tying vice and decided to start restocking the fly boxes. I was low on my favorite early season fly, the Pink Squirrel. So I decided I should start tying up an army to restock. I got about a dozen or so tied up, and still have some more to go. I only had size 14 hooks so I got those tied up in a couple small variations, and in the meantime ordered up some much needed size 12 hooks and 1/8" gold beads. Here are a few photo shots from last nights bench visit.





Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wisconsin Early Trout Season Opens Soon!

  The winter break from the Wisconsin Inland Trout Season has come and is soon to be gone. The Early season opens in a week and half on March 2nd at 5am. If you haven't already, it is that time to pull out the rods, reels, and fly boxes and get them prepped for the opener. Pull out the old stream map book and start to plan an attack to hit up those favorite big trout streams.  I myself  have been slacking this year on preparation because we actually got some ice for ice fishing this year. Good luck everyone this season!





Monday, February 18, 2013

Brotherhood Fishing

  This past Friday night I was able to get back out on the hard water for the Crappie bite. A cold front had moved in and the sky was clear with the stars shinning bright. This made for a slow evening of fish, but an enjoyable one to say the least. I was joined in my Frabil shack by my brother. We don't get the opportunity to fish together often but when we do, we always make it a good time.


  We headed out to the same spot I had slammed the crappies a few days prior. Set-up by 5:30pm or so and started marking a few fish, but nothing comparable to Tuesday nights event. First fish was a small gill, and another small gill, and another small gill. This had me puzzled to say the least. "They have got to be here" I told my little bro. He laughed and reminded me he is always my bad luck charm. About 5 mins. later he hooked into a nice fish. As he reeled I smirked "bad luck eh". It was a nice Crappie in the 9" range. From there the bite picked up a little and stayed steadily slow throughout the evening. We did manage to catch about 15 keepers by 9:30. We called it quits do to a lack of propane for the heater and packed up and headed in. The Gulp smelt minnow seemed to do the trick again for us, with waxies still catching a few fish. As we made the trek back to the truck we gave each other a hard time on who caught the most and who caught the biggest fish of the night. I always catch the most, but he somehow always catches the biggest.


 This was the big fish of the evening, a nice 12" slab of a Crappie. Good job little brother! It is always nice to spend some quality time with family while have a fishing rod in your hand. Until next time, Tight Lines!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Night Bite Crappies. A Feeding Frenzy!

  The night bite Tuesday  was one for the books to say the least. I was joined by my good friend Scott around 5pm to head out to a new spot I don't typically fish during the ice season. I usually don't fish this particular area due to a shanty town set-up there always. So we figured a week night would be the best time to give it a try. This particular spot is an old gravel road bed with wooden cribs scattered throughout serving as an excellent fish structure.

  As we arrived to the area we drilled a hole and instantly started marking fish. Scott and I looked at each other and said this must be the spot. We continued drilling, set-up the shack, and then started fishing. In my previous post I showed an image of the gold tungsten teardrop jig we have been using. This was the jig of choice for the evening tipped with waxies and a new bait we have been experimenting with. Due to the fact that the lake we are fishing does not allow live minnows for use we had to come up with an alternative. I am on the fence over the issue, but in the long run it helps prevent the spread of disease and unwanted species getting into the lake. With that being said I think we have found an alternative, Gulp 1" smelt minnows.
 The big key to using these on the small teardrop jigs is to cut 1/4" off the head side of the minnow. This combined with the tungsten jig presents a horizontal and more natural presentation. Gulp baits have become the new alternative to live bait. They perform as well as live bait, but last that much longer in my opinion.

  The evening seemed to start off slow. The first 30-45 mins. we only caught 2 small fish. 1 gill and 1- 6" crappie. It had me boggled from the stories I have heard over time at this particular location. Then all of the sudden it was like someone flipped a switch and it was game on.

Nice crappies started biting, and plenty of them. At first they started hitting the wax worm and then slowly turned over to only wanting to feast on the gulp minnow. Fish where marking all over the water column. I managed to catch fish anywhere between 4' below the ice to 8" off the bottom in 14' of water. Crappies are suspending and schooling fish, but this was unlike anything I have experienced in the past when catching crappies through the ice. My depth finder kept lighting up like a Christmas tree.

 Although this is a horrible pic there are some faint marks on the screen which are hard to see. I need to get my good camera out and charged. This went on all night even while we where packing up our gear to head in. We limited out in a matter of 3 hours. We where able to be picky with the size of fish we kept being that we caught so many. We average 10" fish all throughout the night. We caught 60+ fish during this outing between the 2 of us in three hours. Biggest of the night was 12" with a bunch of 11 1/2- 11 3/4" thrown in the middle.

  Now it is time for a fish fry! It was an amazing evening on the hard water and I can't wait to get out and give it another go. Next time out I will have the good camera in hand and get some more and better quality pics for you all. Tight lines!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'm Back!

  After a long break from the Blogger & website world I'm going to try and make a comeback. 2 years ago I started TrailtheOutdoors.com and it started out on a good foot, but after some complications, growing to rapidly, and not being able to keep up, I shut it down. Soon after I joined the Blogger world with the Illinois Wisconsin Fishing  Blog. Blake Hamilton took me in and let me contribute to his growing blog, in which I am deeply grateful for. As the hunting season approached in Illinois this past fall, I turned all my focus toward that and fell off the grid for awhile. Along with the holidays and my family it was hard to even keep up to say the least. New years came, and I kept telling myself I wanted to get back in the game and start to explore some new options such as podcasts, more videos, and some more photography type work.  It should be an interesting and challenging journey along the way, but I hope you all tune in and follow along with me during 2013.

  So far this year Ice fishing has been phenomenal. I have been drilling holes and setting hooks like you wouldn't believe. I had my first bad outing of the year this past Sunday mostly due to the weather. I will be heading back out this evening to try getting into some slab crappies. As of recently the hot setup has been a gold teardrop jig tipped with either a wax worm or a 1" gulp smelt minnow.

  I should have a report from tonight's outing up in the next few days. Please add my blog to your feed and I hope you all enjoy what is to come in 2013. Tight Lines!