February 16, 2020

Long Ago And Far Away

On snowy days like these I read log books from decades ago.  I opened the one from 1994 this morning. It was the year my wife and I moved to Richland Center. We moved because Barb had a job offer here and it was time for us to start a family.  No more Madison. We wanted a smaller town to raise a family.  Excuse me because I got side tracked and lost focus.  Back searching logs books and dreaming of huge brown trout.

I looked at the summary for 1994 and the statistics of me fishing Crawford County versus Richland County were really different.  I caught more trout in Crawford but much bigger trout in Richland. I decided I needed to read the entire year's log book.

I caught a really big male brown and took it to the taxidermist.  I read the entry today and smiled because the log entry made the memory seem just like yesterday. I also made a note in the log book about the GIANT female brown that someone else brought in while I was there.  It was pushing 30 inches and crazy deep.  The angler was so giddy he was babbling about how he caught it and where he caught it.  I made a note in the 1994 log book to remind myself to research that area.

Ways leads on to ways and fatherhood clipped my wings for a long time. Medical problems then limited my ability to walk a long ways.  The comments in the log book were swallowed up by time and by bad knees.  In 2014 I made a visit to the area mentioned in the log book. It was a January day and it was snowing like cray.  I got permission to fish part of the water that the GIANT came from.

I remember finding this old bridge on an oxbow near a spring feeding in.  The trip to the bridge I jammed a knee and it was throbbing badly when I fished the area. I did not give the short stretch a really good look. 2014 was a painful year.  I had microfracture surgery on my left knee. That procedure failed and I had it replaced in December 2014.  I looked at the 2014 log book entry about this failed exploration. There was a note there saying try this area again when knee better.

Today February 16th 2020 I fired up my smart phone and zoomed in the plat maps of that stretch. Downstream of where I fished the walking was much easier and it looked like there was a 4 wheeler path right on the stream.  I zoomed in closer and there are scads of oxbows and there even is a rapids with a deep plunge pool at the end.  The far away from the road waterway has lots of small feeder streams and swamps also.  I got more and more wound up as I looked at the deep cut corners and large trees on the water. There was a clover leaf oxbow that nearly touched in three places with tall tree.

I was so fired up I had to go find a land owner and ask permission.  I pulled into the first farm downstream and was met by a huge black lab and spaniel of some kind.  I petted the dogs as I walked up the driveway. Two people came out on their deck of the farm house. I walked up to them and recognized the woman right away.  She worked at Riverdale School and I did a presentation there and she remember me.

In no time flat I had permission to a huge new section of the stream.  The exact part I was wowing at on the maps on the phone.  They told me where to park and the wife told me about her catching huge trout on their land years ago and how no one has fished the area for at least 15 years.

My knees are better....my endurance is back again. March when the snow melts a little I am going to try the stretch. My trout radar was screaming when I looked at the area on the maps ap. I am sure the wait will be worth the six year hiatus.

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