November 10, 2012

Log Jam Tactics

My friend Matt Pederson loves log jams.
 He calls it Mining. He does it 10-15 minutes under each jam.

Big heavy bunny leeches downstream.

He loses lots of flies but he says it goes with the territory.

He bounces the big bunnies right at the edge of the log jams to get the big dogs to come out.

He uses a stout rod....he doesn't like going way under them because they get tangled easily.

You need some strong fluorocarbon and you need to get their heads up quickly.

This black bunny leech has dumbbell eyes and is a great mining fly

There are other flies that will work well with this technique.

The coneheaded Turkey Leech works outstanding for this. 
If you are in a pinch you could use a Hornberg.  This would require a split shot at the fly or a split shot about 12 inch above the fly.  The 12 inches above works even better because the fly flutters in front of the log jam and teases the big dogs and they come out to play.
Clousers would work also.

I met Mike eons ago at the Spring Creek Festival that Nohr Chapter use to put on.

We were talking about log jams and I suggested to him to use the down stream mining tactic.

I even told him exactly were to go. Mike is from Iowa but the next season he was on the Pine River using my Mining suggestion. He fished exactly where I told him to.

The log jam directly behind him is where he caught this football.
Mike sent me this photo the next day.  He thanked me profusely.  It is his biggest brown ever.

This technique can also be done with a fly rod with a night crawler.

November 08, 2012

Schweinebraten Just Placed In Oven

 4 -6 lbs pork shoulder or 4 -6 lbs pork butt
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup water or 1/2 cup stock or 1/2 cup white wine or 1/2 cup beer
A recipe with beer in it is right up my alley!!!

Rematch With Big Pike!!!

Put on a Little Cleo earlier today and had my way with this pike.
She is already filleted and in my freezer.

The Gill Lice Epidemic Expands

In reviewing my log book, I have determined that for the past three years the brook trout population in my fishing area went down.

I fish the southwestern corner of Wisconsin. The counties I frequent are Vernon, Crawford, Richland and Grant counties.
The most significant numbers change I discovered was in Crawford County. It had a 65 percent decline in brook trout numbers in the past three years.

I contacted the Department of Natural Resources and asked if they had seen a similar decline. Officials there acknowledged there has been a decline, attributing it to the recent drought and to a parasite called gill lice.

DNR officials also said some brook trout streams may have been taken over by brown trout, with which they compete for the same waterways.

Matthew Mitro, a coldwater fisheries research scientist for the DNR, said the fall shocking crews are out and about and will report on any declines in populations -- and also the water levels -- they might find.

I found it odd, however, that my log books indicated a significant increase in brown trout populations over the past three years.

Gill lice (a parasitic copepod called Salmincola edwarsii) can cause significant physical trauma to the gill filaments, causing deformities which affect respiration and the efficient uptake of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide, ammonia and other metabolites. Fish that are heavily infected cannot obtain sufficient oxygen when they are exercised, such as when they are caught by angling.

Gill lice have a direct life cycle- when the egg sacs release nauplii, they immediately molt and become the first copepodid (larval) stage and they have about 24 hours in which to find a new host and anchor onto the gills and continue their development. After several molts, the copepods reach maturity and remain permanently anchored in the gill tissue. This is a significant stress especially when more than one parasite is attached to a gill arch.

In streams with dense brook trout populations, the success rate for the larvae to attach to gills increases due to the greater chance of contacting a fish within the 24 hour “post hatch” period. Streams with faster water flow (velocity) can make it harder for the larvae to successfully attach. So fish density and water velocity are two factors that affect the prevalence and intensity of infection by Salmincola edwardsii in a stream. A third factor that may play a greater role in the future is temperature trends. Gill lice are invertebrates and therefore their development is proportional to the water temperature of the stream. If water temperatures increase, the parasites will develop to maturity faster and will then be able to reproduce one or more extra “generations” each year. Because the copepods remain on the fish, the affect of more generations of parasites is cumulative and we may see far higher numbers of gill lice on individual fish in the future.
So rather than not fish the streams where gill lice are present, I would encourage people to fish and take fish home (reduce the density of the fish) as long as the fishing regulations allow this. Anything that can be done to keep water moving (faster velocity) may also help reduce the probability of larvae to successfully attach to fish.
Always carry clean tap water, a bleach solution and a scrub brush with you when you go fishing. Disinfect your gear away from the water before moving between waterways to ensure that you do not spread Gill Lice.

Just yesterday I was in contact with Matt Mitro again and he informed me that Gill Lice had been found in the vast majority of the adult brook trout in Ash Creek.  This stream is in Richland County but the significance is this stream has many of the eggs extracted from wild strain brook trout in Ash Creek and taken to the hatchery and raised.  The Gill lice have effected the adult brook trout in Ash Creek.  The adults are loaded with gill lice and breeding is less effective. The  0-1 year class of brook trout are down significantly. The Ash Creek strain brook trout are used throughout the state for stocking of wild strain brook trout.  The finding of Gill Lice in Ash Creek is very significant.

The only way to rid the brook trout of gill lice is to individually dunk each trout in a solution.  The trout is let back go and can be re-infected if it runs in to infected fish. You can not scrape off gill lice because they are attached to the gills and it will kill the trout.

The WDNR and Trout Unlimited are asking for citizen help with reporting of gill lice.
Here is a link to help out:

more information on Gill Lice

Gill lice Salmincola spp. are a parasitic copepod that only infect Salvelinus species such as brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, which is the only salmonid native to Wisconsin streams. The gill lice life cycle begins when egg sacs release nauplii, which immediately molt into the larval first copepodid stage during which they have about 24 hours to find a host. The larval copepods anchor onto the gills of their host and continue development. After several molts, the copepods attain maturity and remain permanently attached to a gill arch.

Gill lice can cause significant physical trauma to the gill filaments, causing deformities that may affect respiration and efficient uptake of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide, ammonia, and other metabolites. Heavily infected brook trout cannot obtain sufficient oxygen when they are exercised, such as when caught by angling. Respiration may be particularly difficult for infected fish during times of high water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels. High rates of infection may slow the physiological processes of growth and sexual maturation, which in turn may negatively affect brook trout population growth rates. Gill lice are a parasite specific to brook trout and are not known to infect brown trout.

All information on this article was gleaned from correspondence with  Susan V. Marcquenski
Fish Health Specialist for the WDNR and Matt Mitro Coldwater Fisheries Research Scientist for the WDNR.
Red writing above is direct quote from Susan Marcquenski.

Here is the stocking data:

November 07, 2012

Gill Lice In Ash Creek

Trapper passed on to me a conversation he had with Matt Mitro the Trout Scientist from the WDNR.

A large majority of Ash Creek brookies are infected with gill lice.

This "was" where many of the wild strain brookies have come from in the past.

Going Through Withdrawls