Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Driftless Weekend, Fly Fishing SW Wisconsin

  This past Friday I loaded up my camper and fishing gear along with my good friend Joe. Despite traffic on I-90 being screwed up due to road construction, Joe finally made it to my house by 5 P.M. We quickly threw his gear into the truck and we where off to the land known as the Driftless Area of SW Wisconsin. We drove up watching the sun set and talking about what had been going on in our lives as of lately. Joe and I don't get to chat often, but when we do there is always something to talk about thus making the drive that much more enjoyable. Joe just picked up a flyrod for the first time last season and only got out on the water a few times, and unfortunately went fishless last year. This year there was a mission on my mind, to get Joe a fish to the net. On the drive up during the chit chat, we went over the basics of fly fishing to get him back to where he left off last year.

  We finally arrived at the campground we would call home for the next few days, Sidie Hollow Campground. Sidie Hollow sits in a valley just outside of Viroqua and is owned and run by the county. It is a beautiful place, and I highly recommend camping there if your ever in the area. We drove threw looking for a site for the weekend, and when we thought we found one, all hell broke lose. We pulled into the site and I could quickly tell something was not right. We where sinking. The site we picked out was defiantly not dry land. I came to a stop which was a mistake, and as I tried to back out and the tires began to spin, making things worse. It was dark and the ground was spongy. We disconnected the trailer pushing it back up onto the road, and then tried to get unstuck. To our misfortune things where not getting any better. Another camper down the way came over and offered help, but neither of us had a chain nor a strap to pull us out. We went to the local mans camper that watches over the campground and asked for help. Sure enough the gentleman was there in about 5 mins. and quickly retrieved us from the spongy grass. For  this we where very thankful. We set up camp on the opposite side of the road that was actually nicer due to the fact we where now stream side to a small stream loaded with small browns and brook trout. It always works out to be an interesting weekend right off the bat I guess. We cooked up some dinner, planned out the next day, and hit the hay.

The tire tracks the day after. Doesn't look bad, but if you walked in it you would know right away

  Saturday morning quickly came after all the chaos the night before. We ate some breakfast and we where off to achieve the mission we set out on. Get Joe a fish. Heading to one of my favorite spots to fish on the west fork I was amped up, and knew my good friend was going to connect. We headed back off the road to a hole I am very familiar with. I set my rod on the bank and stood next to Joe coaching him through his casts and presentations. About 5 drifts through the deep pool I saw the indicator twitch, and had an instant reaction by shouting " Set The Hook!" Joe set and connected. The smile on his face said it all as he retrieved line and bringing in his first trout on the fly.

 It was a decent Brown Trout that he could be proud of. In the few times he has driven a fly rod he achieved a goal many set forth on, but struggle to accomplish in there first few times on the water. I believe this was only Joe's second time on a trout stream. After a quick photo with the fish, it was back to casting. Another 4 or 5 casts in and Joe had another hook up. This time fighting much harder than the first fish. It was a large sucker, but a fun fight on the fly rod. Joe kept casting and I started to think I created a fishing monster as he hooked up once again.

 This time it was a bigger brown then the first. At this point I figured he had the hang of it, as I needed to start to catch up on the fish count. I started to fish the back half of the pool we where fishing in and connected after a few minutes.

 He wasn't a monster, but sure was a fighter. We continued to fish up stream as my friend Joe started to chump me up almost putting on a clinic, as he continued to hook up and catch fish. I believe Joe landed 4 fish on this stretch to my two as we wrapped up on this stretch. I had a few suckers in there, but we where only counting the trout. Here is a beautiful shot of part of the stretch we where fishing on taken by Joe.

 We headed back to camp for a quick lunch, and talked about the days events of fishing so far. Joe had bragging rights at this point, but as I told him the day was not over. We headed back out around 4 pm to another creek that I am not very fond of, but have always challenged myself to fish it. I couldn't tell you the number of times I have fished this stream and always come out empty handed. There are always hundreds of fish in this hole, but I can never get one to take my fly. I have tossed more patterns at them then I know of, and not a single fish. This time was different as we accomplished one goal for the day, it was time we accomplished another.

 This is the hole looking down off of the above bridge. Always loaded with a huge school of fish. I worked my way out and around to the back side of the hole trying not to spook any fish as the water here is gin clear. I started casting and felt a bump. Set the hook and the mission was accomplished. Although the first fish out of this hole wasn't big, I felt like I finally achieved something.

 I continued to fish the hole catching a few more fish of this size, and lost one really nice one. I finally did it though. I caught fish out of the hole that has skunked me time and time again. Of course I got a fish up on my good buddy for the day as well. It was a fabulous day on the water with great weather, a great friend, and great stories made to tell in the future. We headed back to camp to start a fire and cook some grub.

 We sat around the fire chowing down and enjoying a few barley pops. We reflected back on the days events, and couldn't have been much more happier about it. We caught fish and had a plethora of scenery to look at all day. What more could you ask for?

 The next morning came and we where kind of bummed that we had to head back home, but not before stopping at a few spots along the way. We ate and packed up and headed back down the road. We stopped at another stream that resides on the border of richland and vernon counties. This spot had always produced numbers, but something was different about the stream. It was loaded with algae and the size of fish where small compared to trips in the past.

 After the a few hours and going bust we headed back towards home. We stopped off at Black Earth Creek for one last hoorah in hopes of possibly catching some bigger fish for the day. Unfortunately I had one hook up and that was it. It was nice to fish Black Earth as this was one of my first Driftless streams I had ever fished, but I soon realized why I don't fish it much anymore. 

 We where back on the road after a quick stop at the coffee shop in Cross Plains, which has excellent coffee by the way. We made the trip back home over the border talking about how great the weekend was, and we were sad it had to come to an end. I had a great time putting a good friend on fish. I have a feeling Joe will be calling me soon to try and make an escape up to the Driftless in the near future. Until then, Happy Fishing!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Fish Porn

  This week I thought I would throw a little spice into the mix of this edition of Friday Fish Porn. The temps are starting to warm up, and the fly fishers in this weeks edition are even hotter. Have a great weekend! I am off to the driftless area for some small stream trout, so check back next week for the full report. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Raging Rock River

  Last night I took a drive down to Oregon,IL. Driving down Highway 2 along the Rock River was an unbelievable sight. Where islands once stood in the middle of the river are now trees trunks popping out of the water. Houses where surrounded by water, and may have even had the river running through there living rooms. I believe I even saw a boat that had drifted down stream and was hung up on what used to be an island. The boat launch parking lot in Byron was now a lake that was at least a foot deep. I snapped a few photos of the chaos on my phone, and they are not the best quality but they should give you an idea of the wrath of the great flood of 2013.

  Hopefully the water recedes back to normal sooner than later, and folks can go back to there homes and sift through the tragic damage. Hopefully fisherman can start to get back on the water in search of that next trophy fish.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bunny Leeches

  Last Night I started tying up some bunny leeches with the new magnum zonker strips I ordered. I have been toying around with mixing colors. They are looking pretty good so far. I love how the Fish Skulls really bring these flies together. The new vise is working out great. It takes a little getting used to, but I am diggin it so far.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fresh Goodies for the Vise

  Received a shipment last night of some fresh fly tying goodies. After much contemplation and me being a cheap ass I finally sprung some cash for a new vise. I purchased the Griffin Odyssey Spider. I haven't tied on it as of yet, but did get it put together last night. So far it is looking like it will be a solid investment. I have retired the old hand me down vise that have been using for the past 3 years and I am finally moving up the ladder. The functionality of the vise seems pretty simplistic and all the working parts seem to be of quality. I will post more after I get some use out of it. Also included in my package was some multi-colored Zonker Strips. I am excited to start tying up a few different colors of bunny leaches for smallmouth and pike fishing. I will post some after I get them whipped up on the new vise.

Monday, April 15, 2013

High And Dirty

  This past Saturday I met with my good friend Joe. Joe just started getting into fly fishing last year. With all the happenings in life lately, Joe and I haven't been able to get together and share the water. So the day finally came and we headed down to a little smallmouth hole on the Kishwaukee River on the South side of Rockford. Driving over the bridge on the way there I knew it wasn't going to be the best day of fishing. The water was high and dirty. We tried to fish what holes we could without trying to wade through the rushing waters. Unfortunately we caught nothing. We did manage to see some cool wildlife roaming the banks. A goose on her nest, A few other geese that sparred and made a bunch of racket, and some remains of a Coyote that must have been hit by a car. All in all it was just nice to get out and enjoy some fresh air with a great friend. Due to my interest in trying to catch some fish, I failed to grab the camera out of the truck to snap some pictures.  Hopefully in the next few weeks we start to get some nicer weather and the rain goes away.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Fish Porn

  Back at it again. It has been a few weeks since I have put up an installment of the Friday Fish Porn due to the Colorado reports and being out of town. So in this weeks posting I figured I would feature all the fish we caught in Colorado. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Visting The Vise! Fish Skulls, Zonker Strips, And Some Marabou

  I have been playing with some streamer patterns this week in hopes of hitting some rivers for smallies this weekend. If the rain ever stops. I have been playing with some of the new items I received from J.Stockyard on my last order. This is one of the flies I tied up last night that replicates the recipe for the Barr's Bouface Streamer .  It is a simple pattern to tie, but it defiantly transforms the fly when adding a fish skull to the head. Hopefully this one intrigues the fins.

Hook: Size 4 6x long 2x heavy

Thread: Rust Orange denier

Head: Medium Gold Fish Skull

Body and Tail: Orange Barred Rabbit Zonker Strips

Thorax: Orange Marabou

Dubbing: Rust Orange Squirrel Dubbing Behind The Head