August 12, 2017

Fishing Alone CPR "Catch Photograph Release"

Every cast you make you should have a potential netting location decided.  I try to stay out of the water while fishing but a good netting location in the water is a healthy way to land your fish.

First off dunk that net bag in the water to make it wet and have less chance of rubbing off protective slim coat.  The rage these days are ghost nets.  These also do damage to trout and typically are not deep enough to handle a large thrashing trout.

 You are using a sharp hook to catch this fish.  Hyper-vigilance is good when releasing trout but not fanaticism. 

Second always net your trout head first.  Trout do not have a reverse.  They do often at the last minute have a burst of energy as you net them.  This can cause over runs of the net unless you have the lip of the net slight turned up to thwart that last run.

Don't lay them on the net for a photo.  They never hold still and you obviously need more out of the water time for the trout doing this method.  Many die from this photo shoot.

The trout is in the net and many times is rolling or trashing.  If using spinner it can be a very dangerous time for the trout.  They can catch the spinner in the net and really do some damage to their mouth. Be quick to unhook the trout.

Of course a two hand hold is optimal but that means having a fishing partner or a tripod.  That typically means more out of the water time for the trout with the tripod method.

Sit down or kneel at water level. Reach in that net and wet your hand as you do so and lightly grasp the trout and turn it upside down to unhook the trout.  The upside down discombobulates the trout for a couple seconds.

I do not like the fine mesh bags of a measuring net.  Flies and lures can easily get hooked and that thrashing trout can tear its face off.

The trout is unhooked.  Return it to the net.  Let it get calm in the net.  Stick the handle of your net in the bank and ready your camera.

In cold weather it is even more important to be quick.  The freezing temps can really do a number on trout's skin/gills/eyes.

Reach in the net wetting your hand as you do so and lightly grasp the trout with your left hand.  Make sure your hand is back from the gill plate and away from its vital organs.

The two hand hold is best but you can't do it efficiently alone.

Tripod photos are shaky at best.  The trout is typically out of the water too long for this method.  If the trout wants to leave let it go.  A death grip is not an option.

Extend your arm and snap one photo and set it free.  If the trout thrashed while taking the photo simply guide it back into the net or set it free.

August 11, 2017

Brown Trout Genetics

Both caught in same waterway about 20 yards from each other but about a year apart.

Same waterway and same hole winter and spring season.

Different County and smaller stream in spring and summer in same hole.

Trip Report One Hour On The Water

14 to hand

This one only one worthy of a photo.

My Morning Glories

August 09, 2017

The Curmudgeon

The Curmudgeon

Written by: Len Harris
Photos by: Len Harris


Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
1 : a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old male trout
- cur·mud·geon·li·ness /-lE-n&s/ noun
- cur·mud·geon·ly /-lE/ adjective

A typical life expectancy of a small stream trout varies. If a trout finds a good stream or "home" and it has the necessary cover and forage, a trout could live to an age of around 12 years.

Five years ago I found such a "home". I walked around the bend in a stream and it was before me. It is a *WOW* hole. A *WOW* hole is one that totally screams out "Large Trout Home".

The top of the hole has a current line for oxygen and feed source. The hole itself is an old farm field bridge that has caved in ages ago. The boulder at the base of the bridge causes a severe step drop in depth. A step drop is where the depth of a hole goes from 2 feet to 8 feet deep in about 2 feet distance.

The rest of the hole has some cover on the left and a couple ambush points for The Curmudgeon to attack his prey. The hole is about 8 feet deep in the center. This allows the trout stay in this hole year round.

I scouted the hole from downstream in a crouched position for a short time. It was March and the vegetation was limited. I watched the water. I saw no obvious feeding action.

This hole was so far off the main roadway it screamed Large Trout. It was way too far of a walk for the casual angler.

I thought for a long time how to attack this hole. The water was cold in March, so any possible large fish would be in the slow moving deep water. I needed to make a cast way up into the current to hide the splash of my cast.

I was worried that a smaller fish might spook the hole first and I would not have a chance at The Curmudgeon. I figured if i was going do it...It would be on the first 5 casts.

I cast for an hour at the hole with not even a whisper of a fish in the hole. From my experience, I learned that Old Male Trout are very territorial. When they are really old they chase ALL other trout out of the hole. They are Crusty and Ill Tempered.

After the hour I decided to walk out into the hole and carefully map the bottom for structure. The best way I knew was to actually wade the entire hole. I started at the edges and worked my way to the fast water funnel. The fast water funnel end was clearly over my waders so I poked my pole into the depths. Something flew out of the depths and did a circle in the hole and then stopped on the other far side of the hole.

From the wake the fish made in its circle..It was obviously a Big Fish. I had thrown the kitchen sink at this fish and had not even gotten a bump.

I visited this hole annually for five years. About ten times each year. I varied my casts. I varied time of day and night. I even sat on the hole in the middle of the night. I caught NO trout.

Last fall I was talking to a friend about The Curmudgeon. He asked what I had tried so far. I told him all of the tricks I tried. He asked me if I had ever tried to ANGER the trout. Make it so angry it would hit out of anger. I had my friend tell me what he meant by that.

He said that an Old Trout that big would be territorial and if i cast in and ripped the presentation through the hole at 100 miles an hour...I might anger it enough into hitting. I had tried everything else...So what the heck.

Second cast.....was bringing it as fast as I possibly could. It slammed it. It went deep and hunkered down on the bottom. After a change of direction battling it, I got it to the top of the water. I was not disappointed. It was well worth five years of hunting this fish.

I dubbed him ***The Curmudgeon*** and sent him on his way.

August 07, 2017


Went on a familiar stream today for an hour.  Wanted to fish an easy stretch alone.  Only little ones but was still fun.

Found this old root cellar in my wandering. It had a spring near it.

I found it near a trout stream I was about to fish on Crawford/Richland County line.  The root cellar would be an excellent place to keep salted venison and fish to get through a rough Wisconsin winter.

 This is one of the more elaborate root cellars I have ever seen.  Typically the cellar was dug into a hillside and the floor was left unfinished.  This one has a rock laid floor.  This structure could have very well been used as a living place until the homestead was built.  Then it was used as root cellar. There are no other buildings near it.

Back in the day before banks a family would keep their valuables in the root cellar buried or under a false floor rock under a huge gunny sack of potatoes

This root cellar was obviously built quite some time ago.  Just look at the large tree on the right.  It has grown there after the cellar was built and abandon. Would have to look at the rings in the tree to tell how old this tree.

My friend who does lots of metal detecting wanted to know exactly where it was.  He says the flat stone in the structure are a minimum 100 years old. This structure was built before 99.5% of folks looking at this photo were even a twinkle in their parents eyes.

 just upstream a few years back I considered crawling through an old culvert to get around crawling over a tall barb wire fence. Changed my mind when the floor of the culvert came alive with snakes when I glanced in there. Had to be 20 snakes in there...had flashback to culvert when i considered going in this structure.