Saturday, November 17, 2007

And now, ALL 2007 Trout Report

Well, pull up a chair, its mid November, I'll decant the 2005 Malbec.
Only 7 weeks into the off season. Figured its time for an all season recap.
Starting at the end, but also styled all mash-up chronologically challenged blog style meaning in some way it is in order, just probably not the way you are reading it or the way it happened.

My last day of the season was a Thursday, in the midst of the days of awe, for a full day excursion, dawn to dusk on one stream. A pure day, a wild day, a brown day, a day that is all wild brown trout.

This was the last nice hole at about 6PM. Notice the rise form along that left bank.

It was that classic fall hatch, the bluewingedpaleeveningsulferdunbaetisolive size 18.
Fortunately I had two perfect imitations, two cul de canard fuzzball that came in some fly swap.
I fought off my natural in-bred ( I say that with the utmost respect to my U.P. bloodline ) instinct to throw a nymph to a rising trout and went with the dry.
Here's three of the five browns I took from this hole. Said fly can be seen in the first fishes mouth.

so after the five on fuzzball fries I figured i'd dredge the hole with my recent fav the of this type, a robo-tripper and brought this one up.

This will be my last day of the season for inland trout, I'm heading out of country Monday.

The day started with my usual drive, but instead of getting to the stream at dawn, I had to pull over and take a nap, was nodding off. So I got there a little past sunrise. The stream is down there, on the other side of the valley.

Through the gloom of the bottoms.

My starting point

And the first fish of the day; not a trout, not a dry.

Lets see now... Where was I ? and I mean really, where was I?

It began a while ago. I've been prowling the streams of sw wisco for about 20 years, which means I know a little bit, not much, just a little bit. In the off season I study the maps and all the waters I've never seen. One stream I 've looked at where it flows into a bigger river, and it is sort of flat and thin but has alot of water upstream above I'd never been. I asked someone who guides in the area, and he told me - "ah, that stream - don't bother - it's barren". So I didn't bother.

But that started percolating around in my mind.

"ah, that stream - don't bother - it's barren"

To make a long story short - by making it even longer I had gone up to the driftless with my new pup the week before. Thinking I could just get him out and running in grouse territory and see how it goes. We spent the early morning running, I had him on a lease at first, and then off going along some fence rows, and he ran and was pretty attentive and stayed kind of close and after a couple of hours thought well, we'll break. I'll fish a bit and he can follow along the stream. I geared up while he had a drink and snack, and we walked in the 50 yards or so to the stream, and he got on a scent and started tear assing around and went right in to some barbed wire.
He was stuck to it.
I ran over and freed his leg which just had been barely caught. I was holding him as I freed him and the little hole in the leg didn’t look like much and then stood back - and saw all the blood on my shirt. Alot of blood. I laid him down and saw a half dozen cuts across chest and upper legs. picked him up, ran to the car, and pedal to the medal got him to the nearest dog vet, about 25 miles away. They took him, and the vet was a nice guy, the cuts were cleaned up, and he said "Well - this happens alot with brittany's. One in town comes in here and gets stitched up at least every year -he has a frequent flyer card. These cuts are superficial, no need to stitch" and he sent me on my way with some antibiotic cream and pills and said keep him rested the next couple of days and watch the wounds and if there are any problems get him in to your vet.

I carried the pup in the car and then- in a diamond bullet flash in my forehead realized that my flyrod, camera, vest, and net were all back about 25 miles away next to a barb wire fence next to a kind of popular stream with a little dog blood around. Drove back - collected all my gear, checked on the pup again, which despite his open wounds acted as if was ready for another romp in the fields. So I was three and half hours away from home and thought - well, I'll drive around and do a bit of scouting. Pulled out the map. and suddenly the words percolated up:

"ah, that stream - don't bother - it's barren"

So I went and looked. And on the drive home between checking on the pup I was thinking I have to fish this. And every day at work I was thinking, when can I fish it.

And now - here I was a week later. Thats where I was.

Mid morning

Early afternoon.
spring creek brown trout realism

spring creek brown trout impressionism

another nice pool, this was where I realized I had forgotten my snad and hop pop back in the car.
I felt I didn't have time to go back for it.

Late afternoon:

I started switching between the bottom dredger and a beetle on top for variety

By mid afternoon the lack of food and drink and lack of seeing another person,lack of hearing another person, lack of seeing a boot print on the bank, made me feel like I had found this most amazing treasure. There is no way this stream is hidden or unknown, or not regularly fished, it is just I lucked out on one day on a late September Thursday.

To complete in sequence go back and read the first post now... then continue...

Above that hole the water got super springy up to the take out bridge.

Then after fishing continuously upstream for about ten hours a hallucinatory walk down the road to car. It might've taken ten minutes, it might've taken an hour, but it ended my inland 2007 trout season.

ok - thats was it - final trip report is over. I left for Africa three days later.


AUG 12 - pics are a mix from the camerafon and superdeeduperunderwaterspycamera.

Green Bay Sunset

late night up road

arrival at the lake camp

Supplies for the day at the river place, best pasties in "titletown" thats Negaunee not GB

The shack : Ju-Si-Ba-Be-Ma-Pa

A toast - my Lunch

Enough already - wheres my lunch

My brother an I own the left side, My Dad and uncle the right

The water is super low - drought is on. the water temp in the creek is 70 - but the low water reveals all the cedar swamp seeps coming in. This was 58 flowing in to the hole -

Where I got the nicest fish of the weekend - a near 12 inch brookie, amongst the lots of smaller fishes.

from the top:

two from underneath

Started a new long term project - operation south shore coaster, walked a long stretch of the Mosquito river scouting ...

before a ranger told me pets weren't allowed in the backcountry trail so i didn't get to where it flows into superior.

Last night threw a cot on the deck and watched the persieds..

drove back to day Sunday...........

END OF AUGUST U.P. trip with the kids

Saturday Morning I was going to head up to the Cabin via Ristow's in Crawford county Wis. They have a puppy reunion every year. Looked at the radar before we left and figured it was a washout.

I had no idea how bad the washout would be, 16 inches of rain in a day and half before it was over.

Gays Mills is the town nearest Tainter Creek Brittany's where we were going for the puppy reunion.

MADISON, Wis. -- Gov. Jim Doyle has ordered a state of emergency for southwestern Wisconsin after recent thunderstorms dumped more than a foot of rain in parts of the state.

Doyle has also activated the Wisconsin National Guard to assist with flooding relief. The governor was to hold a news conference at 2:30 on Sunday to address severe flooding across southwestern Wisconsin, WISC-TV reported.

Officials said that there's been up to 12 inches of rain on Saturday and into Sunday morning in southwestern Wisconsin, washing out roads and bridges and triggered a mudslide that pushed a house onto a The governor's office said that there are reports of widespread flooding in Crawford, Richland, La Crosse, Vernon and Grant counties on Saturday and Sunday.

But Wisconsin Emergency Management spokeswoman Lori Getter said that there are no reports of injuries in the area, which includes Crawford, Richland, La Crosse, Vernon and Grant counties.

According to a news release, Doyle has also ordered the Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) to lead the state's emergency response efforts to the flooding and is directing all state agencies to assist with local communities as they recover from this natural disaster.

Getter said that numerous roads and bridges are washed out and closed.

Downtown Gays Mills in Crawford County was evacuated, with residents taken to the fire station, and a state of emergency put in effect there.

Getter said that a mudslide pushed a house onto state Highway 35 in Vernon County.

She said that authorities have been pulling people out of stalled cars, and evacuating them out of their homes. She said the Wisconsin National Guard is on standby.

Getter said the Pine Valley West Nursing Home in the Richland Center area was evacuated, and its 18 patients transported to another nursing home in the area.

She said six patients were moved from a Soldiers Grove nursing home to one in Boscobel.

The state emergency management spokeswoman said five cars of a 65-car train sitting on tracks a half mile south of Goose Island derailed and the area around the derailment was evacuated.

The National Weather Service said that at least an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain is forecast in southwestern

Went out to the river camp 40 miles upriver and fished for eight hours, and managed one ten inch brook trout from the inflow of a cedar seep. This is a rather heavy inflow, usually below the water line, now a cold clear little creek waterfalling in to the river.

For all practical purposes the river was barren of fish. Returned and tented with the kids the next week for two days and outside of the one fish that I left alone and could spot still finning in the same outflow we saw no fish, caught no fish. Spent the time working with the kids in the river, and it was then about half way through the second day that I was giving instruction – to no avail and the girl says: “Dad – we know – you caught 100 fish from every rock and pool and every run out here” Which put me back of course. But it was true. I have been fishing this same stretch of water for 43 years. I caught my first trout here. My kids caught their first trout here. I can stand at one point and look at a rock and say ”there is hole tucked in under the right on that rock there that I’ve take brook trout from and on the left that churn is a big brown feeding spot…blah blah blah” but mostly I don’t catch fish here. Mostly it is really hard to consistently get fish on UP streams. Mostly it is usually like it is now, two days working the water and no fish. Nada. Not one. One can rack up a lot of fish in 43 years, even on a mostly barren stream, but really you rack up a lot of fishless days.

I was unpacking the car from the camping trip back at the lake cabin. Taylor the five year old from the neighbor’s camp came over with her mom. She said, “We all wanted to see the new puppy”. She had her Mom in tow, and mom was holding a one year old. I turned to her mother.

“Are you Renna”?
“You guys haven’t met my new pup yet?”

Renna was the little sister of the kid I used to hang around with out at the lake camp. They stay at Pritchard’s camp. She was eight years younger than us, and I remembered that she was monosyllabic back then. We used to steal cigarettes from his mom. I could never remember hearing more than one word in a row come out of her mouth. I hadn’t seen her for probably 25 years, here she was with two kids and slim, yet still potatoey in that special UP way. My pup was running around their dog and nipping at his tail, and the one year old was laughing, and falling over, and rolling around with the dogs.

“What’s your dogs name?”
Taylor chimed in “Its short for his full name”

I had to process this. They named their dog Beo. Beo – short for Beowulf? What a cool name for a dog. The original English work of literature. What an amazing name. How could this yooper have come up with this? It defied my basic theory of the ever descending gene pool, that every one smart, with looks, or with ambition departs, taking off, leaving the left behind to spiral downward on the remaining diminished DNA possibilities.

“Beo – what’s that short for?”
Mom responded “Bay-wees”
“Bay-wees? What’s Bay-wees?”
“Baywees Iwish cweam”

The rains came on Monday and Tuesday. 2 inches, more rain than the UP had seen in the last 9 weeks. The temps were dropping into the mid 40’s at night. We went back out to the upper river. The water level had come up and the water temps gone down. Late August, cool nights, a little extra flow in the water, you know, time for a sculpin. Suddenly there were trout all over the river.

The drop off behind the pyramid rock.

The run with the barely perceptual undercut with the over hanging tag elder.

The churn at the left of the mid run rock – a hangover stocker that must have come up from the reservoir –notice the fin clip.

I caught fish all over my spots on the every where river. Each of the kids got one. And per the angler’s prerogative – we brought those home for them to eat.

Those are whitefish filets trying to get a little nobility from the same oil as those trouts.


  1. Just finished reading your fishing journal.... I think you should be thinking of a book deal, if you are not already planning one. A wonderful read. Drama( poor griff), humor (Beo by the way who is Reena? I dont remember any one by that name?), Mystery ( will he find his equipment, will he find the exact spot he left it?) And Beautiful photos So glad I'm on the Rss auto send for your mobile web.

  2. You have not finished reading it.
    I am working my way backwards, so I have to pick up again at AUG 4, and will keep going to the beginning of March. Regarding Reena, the names have been changed to protect the identity of real people that you MIGHT in fact know. on the other hand, perhaps I made up the whole thing. so don't try to figure out who it actually is. Thank you.