July 25, 2015

Time Marches On

Today was a long day.

This morning we said good bye to my wife's grandmother. 

Pearl was 101 years old.

This evening I attended my 40 year class reunion.


Time waits for no one.

July 23, 2015

Go Big!!

The dog days of summer have finally passed.  It is September and you are happy and you can come out of the air conditioning. The stream temperatures have finally gone down.  It is okay again to start chasing trout.  The mosquitoes have subsided and you won't need a transfusion after you are done fishing.

You have one month left before season closes for the year.  Are you going to be satisfied to just chase fish sticks or have you finally kicked off those training wheels?  Are you ready to chase the alpha trout in your stream?
For years I have heard about the stages of a trout angler.  The fish stick crowd want you to "evolve" and grow as an angler and away for the need for big trout. I have never met a "Trout Hunter" that agrees with this psycho babble.  It is like telling a seasoned deer hunter they need to start chasing smaller deer and appreciate the outdoors more to truly be good at the sport and "evolve." These steps of catching fish and then many fish and then big fish are unnecessary.  My first trout of my life was a 23 3/4 inch brown.  I was 5 years old.  I require no evolution. I started in big trout mode and will hang up my rod when they are no longer my target.
September is the perfect month to become a "Trout Hunter."  Small stream trout are getting the spawn urge already.  It is a little early for actual spawning but when nature calls, the "bigs" in the stream lose some of their cautiousness. They leave their log jams and comfortable snag ridden surroundings they call home.
The predators are doing what nature tells them to do.  Typically a "big" is very solitary.  An extra large male brown will chase every other trout out of its domain.  The huge kypes they sport are perfect for nipping at a wayward underling invading their domain.  September is when their kypes get pronounced and almost distorted looking.

 The female browns that get "big" status typically get a little more of a pointed head but don't have the crazy looking weapon on their lower jaw. Female browns of the same age as male browns that have eaten the same over the years are usually bigger than males.  Nature made them this way due to them carrying the eggs.  I looked back on my log books for the last couple decades and have counted how many big browns over the years have been male versus female.  There was a three to one male versus female ratio.  Three times as many males were bigs.  The top end of the spectrum or biggest of the big trout were overwhelmingly females. 

The alphas typically feel the need to go upstream.  Upstream is colder typically and smaller.  They have an instinctual need to move.  I would like to be able to tell you exactly where they are laying on their way to their spawning grounds but I cannot.

September is a wild card month.  Trout can be laying almost anywhere. Your skills from regular season have been thrown out the window.  Trout typically shun sunlight because they have no eyelids and they feel vulnerable to predators out in the open.  I walked up on a shallow run two falls ago and there was a huge male brown taking a break from his upstream trek and blasted out of the shallows when it saw me.
 I have seen a 26 inch male brown tucked up under some weeds hanging over the water in 12 inches of water.  I was very startled when it blasted upstream out of its secret lay and its back came out of the water as it jetted upstream.  It just kept on going.  It plowed through the shallow water until it was out of sight.
Here are some of my tricks I use.  The trout are moving and aren't in their regular feed lanes.  Food is harder to come by.  A big meal is just what the crazed kyped crowd are looking for.

 Size up your offering.  Try a mouse pattern or a giant bunny leech.  Go one size up with your spinner. September is stick bait time.  Don't be bashful with that stick bait.  Throw a big one in there.  Vary your retrieves and stream directions. A downstream retrieve can get under those cut banks to where the monsters sporting those kypes hide. September is a good month for crawlers also.  Please fish them proactively so the mortality rate is lower.  Along with bigger flies and lures you need to use the appropriate gear to land those starving monsters.  Leave the ultra lights and anything under a 4 weight rod at home.  That is if you aren't currently evolving that is.
Those big trout have snouts almost made of stone.  Make sure you have sharpened your hooks before you go out.  No passive hook ups.  Set that hook like you mean it.  I have personally seen a monstrous brown hit right at shore and the angler setting the hook had too flimsy of a rod and there was no hook penetration. The angler was devastated and still remembers the incident like it just happened.



July 20, 2015

Barb's Bike Trail Greatest Hits














New Glarus to Monticello Bike Trail

I dropped off Barb at the Chalet Land Haus parking lot in New Glarus and she biked to Monticello and back.  It was a 1.5 hour round trip.  This is a well maintained and scenic bike trail.

I kept myself amused looking in the beautiful shops in New Glarus and I scored a new liter Spaten Beer Mug at the Glarnerladen shop there.

After I picked up Barb we went to the New Glarus Hotel and ate their wonderful Swiss Sunday morning brunch.




Bike Trail Fail......Shake Rag Trail

Barb had heard of a new trail and we went exploring yesterday.  The trail between Dodgeville and Mineral Point is called Shake Rag Trail.

The trail looked like a winner to Barb at first but she quickly changed her opinion when it wove in and out between a real bike trail and riding on a road with lots of traffic and a narrow lane for bikes.