December 19, 2015

Traveling On The Stream Of Time

2015 brought a long awaited vacation back to Europe.  It  took 10 years of working on my wife Barb to get her to agree to one last trip there.  I had to promise her I would not pester her about going there again.

 The Road Not Taken poem by Frost just came to mind.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 I spent 6 years in Germany as a young adult.  I had fond memories of those years in Augsburg.  They were before knee replacement and back fusion.  The time was fairy tale like.  I didn't have a care in the world and I idealized that very special time in my life.

 Augsburg seemed very different than I remembered it from the 70s and 80s. Back then it was a large city but it still had that small town charm. I couldn't find that charm on our visit this year. I had planned for the last 2 days of my trip to be spent in Augsburg but i opted for Garmisch and Gstadt instead.

 I am from a town of 600 people and Augsburg just seemed so cold and it lacked character. I guess that is why the term "The Good Old Days" was coined. Everything seemed better back then. Maybe it was because I was in my 20s and healthy and wide eyed.

 This vacation brought new memories and I reminisced about old times that didn't seem like they even happened to me.  The new best memories were of Gstadt and the day at the waterfall in Austria. 

 The food was still excellent and that will never change.  My favorite meal was on the balcony of our room in Gstadt that we picked up at the grocery store 5 minutes from or place.

This blog post is to all of the people I have met during my trek down the stream of time.  Some are better to be left in my past and some are yet to be met. The future is unwritten.

 My two loves of my life.

 I hoped all of you are well and we wish you all a Merry Christmas.

December 15, 2015

Gully Washer And Effect On Trout

Here in the heart of Wisconsin's driftless area we were just slammed with a large rain event in the last few days.

Some of the streams in Crawford/Vernon/Richland got over 5 inches in 3 days.

The timing of the rain will really effect the redds or eggs of this spawning cycle. They were probably washed away before they could finish their cycle.

I believe we lost an entire age class with this large rain event.

Secondarily the rain came before the manure the farmers spread on their field just before and after deer hunting got a chance to leach into the ground and most of it ended up in the trout streams.  Manure runoff can be deadly to trout.

weather caused this anomaly not farmers preforming chores that are required to run a farm.  I am in no way faulting farmers

December 14, 2015

Wisconsin’s New Early Trout Season

 First off you need to know the dates.  Early catch and release season opens on the first Saturday of January yearly.  It runs to the Friday before regular season opens on the first Saturday of May.  No live bait is allowed in catch and release season.  

 Regular season runs through the 15th of October.  Many of the regulations have changes.  The idea of simplifying this season was thrown out the window.  You better look at each stream you plan to harvest fish in because the regulations have changed.  For example the special regulations in Richland county were twelve prior to the changes and now there are twenty-three special regulations.  This is the case in all the counties for folks that want to harvest trout.

The early season is an excellent time to land the biggest trout you have ever caught.  My personal best was caught during the old early season.  It was a twenty-seven and three quarters inch female brown.  I caught it on a size nine deep diving shad rap in robin’s egg blue.  Extra large trout become very shy and live in tangled messes and seldom feed in the day time.

The spawning urge brings them out of their fortresses of solitude.  The spawning is long over in January but they typically have not returned to their deep dark homes that they share with no other trout.  They typically winter in the deepest holes between the spawning areas and their nocturnal hideouts. 

  They are much more vulnerable during this time.  This was why the original early season was halted.  Many huge trout were harvested during this transitional period.  You might stumble on a wayward monster in a relatively shallow hole.  If trout were stream born they have a homing pigeon trait.  They return back up the small streams they were born in.  

 These streams are typically cleaner and have a small rock and sand make-up.  These streams will have springs in them.  These springs actually keep the water at a warmer temperature in the frigid Wisconsin winters.  Springs run a constant of forty to forty-two degrees year round. 

Most vegetation stream side is gone and the aquatic plants are at a minimum during the January season.  Stealth is even more important during these times.  The trout can see you much farther away.  A low profile is a necessity.

Cast placement is a must.  You need to evaluate the hole before you cast and guess where the optimum feed lane is and put your presentation up stream of the hide with minimum splash.  If you hook up on a little trout, the hole will be spooked and monsters will be in lock jaw mode. 

You are looking for the deepest hole in the area with minimal bottom current near springs or seeps.  The springs or swamps keep the surrounding water warmer.   Logs and large rocks are perfect hides near a current feed lane for the monster to hide behind and dart out and get the offering and retreat to their hides.

Many anglers recommend small stuff in early season.  I am the opposite.  A trout living on appetizers for a couple months will move quite a ways for a main course. 

 A good early season fly is a Hornberg in size six or eight.  It is meant to be fished low and weighted; a varied retrieve with pauses added in is the way to go.  Good early season lures are bigger sized panther martins in nine or even fifteen.  The same slow retrieve is needed.  Stick baits are the cat’s meow in early season.  Work them in all directions with pauses and twitches.  Make that lure look alive.  

The early bird gets the worm idea is wrong in January season.  Many mornings there is shell ice on the streams until ten or eleven am.  Scout your stream prior to going out to see what time the ice goes off.  Those trout from last fall in the faster current will be gone.  Trout will not lie in fast cold water.  It requires too much energy to hold in place.

It is important to respect the trout in early season.  Don’t fight them to exhaustion.  Size up your rigs and get them in quickly.  Limit the glory shots during cold weather.  The trout are very sensitive to cold on their eyes and gills.  If a glory shot is required, leave the trout in the net until your camera is out and ready.  Take one photo and set them free.

Early season requires extra clothing and a back-up outfit for water emergencies.  Hot hands are a must in your gloves, hats and pockets.  Keep that camera in an inside pocket because cold drains batteries.  Now go out there and catch that monster! 

January Small Stream Opener

the larger streams will be still blown out.

target head water.

might be warmer than normal.