7 for 10
April 6 2007
So it goes like this: I planned to take three days off from work.
The family was going to the in-laws for the week so I was technically open for fishing, as the regular obligations were potentially lifted.
The first week in April, highs in the 60’s, lows in the 40’s, an irregular mix of drizzly rain and blazing sunshine, bwo’s, caddis, small black stones, the Wisco early season c&r in full swing, the potentials were all there. A deserved three days on the small spring creeks in the driftless.
This was one of the promises to myself, the tricks I use to get me through my work schedule. I don’t dwell on the in process work, so what I do this, I think two weeks from now I will be on a stream, so I access the WDNR interactive map site from CDC/Roissy during the 9 hour layover between ORD and BMO, look at the topos. Ah – that valley - I need to tie up more BWO’s. I need more black small Goddard caddis dries, there’s that timber filled bend that has that big ole brown in it. Such is my fantasy life, a middle aged fly fisher casting to pools and riffles while sitting in an airport lounge, flipping between WDNR topos and google earth.
The week arrived- as did a nasty cold virus starting with the five year old – then the ten year old, then the wife, then me, taking down the entire tribe. Spring break to the in-laws was cancelled. Also arriving was an unusual very late, very intense Alberta clipper. 25 mile an hour arctic winds coming down from Canada. Highs in 20’s – lows in the teens freezing the daffodils where they were and dropping them to the ground as they were about to bloom.
My fishing trip evaporated. By Thursday of the break I had already gone through the progression of sore throat with dripping nose – and was just starting into the hacking cough with headache. I could go back to work on Friday and be miserable. Or stay home in bed and be miserable. Or go on an ibuprofen cough syrup and hot tea one-day thermos fishing run robo-trip.
Left the house at 5:05 am.
Crossed into Beloit at 6:10 am.
Reached Madison at 6:55 am.
Dorn’s bait and tackle was not open. Wisco licenses expire March 31. I planned to get my new license there but had to go on, as I wasn’t waiting and hour for the shop to open. What sort of bait and tackle shop doesn’t open until 8:00 am?
Stopped for coffee, doughnuts and a license at the Fennimore Ace hardware. Was on stream and rigged at 8:25. The car thermometer said 26 degrees, the wind was whipping down from the north, but the sun was blazing.
I fished for the next 10 hours on one little stream, starting in very springy headwaters, and leaping frogging downstream into the main channel of the little river it flowed into to, and fishing a good ways down that. I’d jump downstream, fish up, jump down, and fish up. The creek is small. It has Timber and holes where it carves into the bluffs.
Where you can get some nice brook trout like these.
It also goes through nicely cropped meadow sections where the cattle and Holsteins keep the grass cut in the summer, not that this is a problem now when grass is just coming up. Each of these little riffles have a little hole right at the base. Sometimes is can go down four feet, and be three feet wide.
Caught this brown in one of these. The wind was whipping right down into my face here. Had to sit at the bottom of these pools and wait it out, cast into a lull, and then wait it out before you could cast again. Hunkered down, sip a little tea, sip a little cough syrup, make a cast.
And it goes through pool and riffle sections when it passes through the woods.
This section is essentially unfishable after mid July. The grass gets to be 7 feet tall and completely overhangs the water. Can’t walk along the shore, impossible to cast.
Where you have good brook and brown reproduction in small spring waters here in the driftless, both fall spawners, and being somewhat promiscuous, these somewhat rare creatures show up sometimes. The unholy hybrid offspring of the natural native and the naturalized immigrant.
By late afternoon, the wind, and the cold had beat me down. Took the very long walk back to the car, and headed back home at 6:00 pm. Three and half hours with a recharge on the tea thermos and only mildly delirious landed home about 10 pm. I drove 7 hours to fish 10.
The final piece of the story is this. I spent the winter tying some flies, restocking my favs, and getting involved in several fly swaps for the first time ever. I spent some time thinking about the large fly searchers that I use, and modified a few different ones to come up with this. Probably not original, except for me, but I think I have a good combo of sizes and feathers and materials in this one. Fished this fly all day. Caught all my fish on this fly.
I think I’ll call it the robotripper.