May 25, 2020

Magical Place

A magical place that exists in the heart of every trout angler.



May 22, 2020

Trip Report "Rob Gooze"

Hit the water at 9:30am.  Overcast skies.  Water clear and 62 degrees.

Rob started with caddis and ended with nymphs.

Between the two of us we caught about 60 browns.





May 21, 2020

Trip Report "Bangers and Brooders"

Went out this morning with Dale Schultz,  Overcast and 62 degrees.  Water good clarity and level.



We caught 40 browns between us on this stretch.



I am going to introduce a new word to you in my "trout speak." It is a "BANGER." A banger is a ferocious hit that nearly rips the pole out of your hand and you don't understand why there was no hook up.  I had a banger on this stretch.    I did not see the fish


The weeds grew a foot since the last time I fished this stretch. Two more weeks and weeds will block access.  Dale had a 12:30 appointment and we had to cut this stretch short.

Odd occurrence on stream.  Dale saw a female deer on the other side of the stream.  It did not act afraid until we moved. The doe busted upstream out of sight.  About 40 seconds later we heard a loud commotion where the doe had left from.  There was a loud noise...like a loud scream. We figured it was a fawn and it was scared.  The Mama deer came blasting through the weeds and then looked like it chased a coyote away from its fawn.  Wild Kingdom episode just across the stream from us.

I still had some gas in my tank and went to another stream in Richland County.

I went in at a bridge and hooked a fish on my first cast.  I got excited when I saw brookie colors.  A quick examination told me that this 14 inch male brookie was a brooder.  Its tail was short and rounded and the fins were stubby.  No photo warranted.

Fished for another hour and caught another one of those stubby tailed frankenfish brookies.  This one was approximately 15 inches and again no photo.  I have never caught brookies in this waterway. Again no photo.  Too warm and big of water to sustain brookies.

I landed another 14 browns.


Near the end I had another banger.  I saw this fish.  The big stone headed brown was laying right where a root system hung in the water.


May 19, 2020

Trip Report "Typical"

4 hours on the water. Overcast and 55 degrees. Stream clarity good.



30 to hand.  Nothing big.





Itch Scratched

This remote non-designated water piqued my interest when I looked at a satellite view one too many times. The plunge pools had to hold monster trout I thought. The two streams merging also. I had to find out. I took a long walk yesterday way back in the boonies…six trout total. Itch has been scratched.



May 14, 2020

The One That Got Away



Yesterday I lost a really nice trout.  It was very powerful and I did not have it under control for even a second before it bit through 10 pound power pro. The trout must have had alligator teeth to bite through power pro.  I have tried to bite the line and human teeth can not do it easily. After swearing for a while a long dormant memory came to mind.

I was 15 years old and fishing at the dam in Gays Mills. The local slayer of huge pike was there.  He was a fixture on the west side of the dam.  He had his place.  People would even move when they saw "Cap Stussy" walking down the bank.  He was a legend in Crawford County.  He always sat down nearest to the wall where it met the building.  He fished the exact same way every time.  He had a large sinker with a dead sucker hooked through the back and fished off the bottom there.  He would sit there all day or until he caught a huge pike.

Cap told lots of fish stories when he sat there.  As a kid I listened carefully to what he said.  I had seen him catch monster pike numerous times.  When he spoke I listened. He told me about a secret spot he fished as a child. He had not gone there in 20 years.  He told me exactly where to sit and how to get down to the water.  I took my bicycle out in to the country to find his childhood secret pike lair.

It was about 2 miles out in the country. It was quite a pain in the butt to ride the bike one handed with my fishing pole over my shoulder. I held my rod in mouth when my one arm biking got tiring.  I knew the area he had divulged. It had a big watercress pond and a spring trickled out the backside of the pond and emptied into the Kickapoo River about 50 yards away.  This was where "Cap" had told me to fish for giant pike.

I wasn't there very long when I lost my only daredevil on a submerged log.  I had a couple size 8 bait holder hooks with me and some split shots.  I thought what the heck so I rolled over some logs and picked up some worms and sat there for a bit soaking a worm.  The worm found the same submerged log as the daredevil and I broke off.  I felt defeated and put my rod over my shoulder and headed back to the road.

As I started to leave I spooked a frog in the grass.  I captured it and decided to use it as bait and give the secret spot one more try. Frogs can be used as bait if they not endangered and caught on the stream you are fishing on.  I decided to hook the frog through its upper lip so it could swim around on the bottom.  I put on 2 split shots to hold it down. I had never tried a frog before.

I flipped the frog out near where the spring fed into the Kickapoo and took a seat.  I envisioned having to sit there for quite a while to catch anything.  Boy was I wrong.  Within 15 seconds of throwing the frog in something large took it and ran with it.  I set the hook after I let it run about 10 feet.

The fish was powerful and hunkered down on the bottom and refused to come to the surface.  After what seemed like an eternity it started to tire and I got it somewhat under control and got it to the surface.  I was flabbergasted at what I had hooked. It was a ginormous female brown trout.  It was the biggest trout I had ever seen.  It was over 30 inches and fat like a hog. I had no net so I needed to tire it out before I could land it.

 I got it near shore and on its side so I thought was time to grab it.  I laid down on my belly with the rod bent in half over my head and reach out over the bank trying to grab the enormous beast.  I remember putting just one finger on the monster and it was having no part of me trying to land it.  It exploded on the surface and dove down for one more run.  Before I could get to my feet it wrapped itself in that same log I had lost my daredevil on and snapped my line.

I must have rode my bike out there forty more times that summer trying to tangle with the biggest trout I have ever had on in my life and she was not home.  The next year I got my drivers license and drove out there another 50 times.  I remember the loss of that fish just like it was yesterday.

May 13, 2020

Trip Report "Scads Of Trout"

Hit 2 stretches on the same waterway today.  Was sunny and 55 when I began at 10am.

Caught 20 browns and one brookie on the first stretch




Lost my biggest trout of the year so far.

Went to another stretch. 62 degrees and cloudy.





36 browns on the second stretch.

May 11, 2020

Trip Report "Unusual Outing"

Hit the water at 10am.  Bright sunlight no clouds.  Outside temp 40.  Last time here I rolled a couple very nice browns.


I put on exact type of panther as I had on the last time.  A gold PM Deluxe in size 9.

An hour in I had not caught a fish.  I thought about turning around but I hate getting skunked.

An hour and 30 minutes I finally landed a tiny brown.  My next cast I spooked an extra large brown and watched it storm downstream in front of me. Long skinny male.

I switched spinners to a silver blade yellow body with red spots.  The hits started to come then.

At 1pm the clouds rolled in and it was 50 degrees by then and the fish came out to play.

I exited the water at 3pm.

20 browns to hand.




May 07, 2020

My story in Our Wisconsin Magazine talked about this morning on NPR


Wisconsin Public Radio

An article I wrote for "Our Wisconsin Magazine" was discussed this morning.  Click on the above link and tune in to 7:40 to hear it.


Trip Report "Fishing With Floren"

Have not been out with Flo yet this year.  He and I have had some adventures through the years.  This spring he called and asked a recommendation for a reel.  I have made fun of his gear through the years.  He was the panther martin stuck in the forehead friend and the yellow fiberglass ultra soft rod that lost one of the only true 30 inch trout I have ever seen.



We fished from 9am until 1pm.  Water low and clear...sunny skies....many other anglers out.

I landed 23.




The brown were very uniquely marked today.

May 06, 2020

Craziness



It is quite hard to put into words the feeling as you stand streamside and you look up and down stream and muse ....I might be the first person ever to stand on this exact spot. Craziness.

May 04, 2020

Trip Report "Couple Hours"

11am to 1pm.

Sunny

Water clear and extremely low.

29 browns to hand.



May 03, 2020

Opening Day

When I was a kid we lived 33 steps from the Kickapoo River.  The days leading up to the opener I was giddy with excitement for the pike/walleye opener.  I would check my gear and test the rod/reel in the yard.  I would tweak my drag at least 4-5 times in the days leading up to opener.  I had learned my preparation rituals from my father.  He always preached that the gear should never cause you to lose a big fish. He also told me the fish won sometimes.  That is why it is called fishing not catching.

Things changed in 1967.  My mother took on both roles as mother and father.  My dad died while deer hunting.  Fishing was quite foreign to her.  She always made sure I had a good rod/reel for opener. She told me stories about all the big fish dad had brought home through the years.  We always had a Friday night before opener tall tales session.  She would run through my dad's greatest hits while fishing.  It was a tradition that we did throughout my youth.

I remember being so fired up the evening before I couldn't sleep typically.  I would be in my place at the dam in Gays Mils on the west side of the river way before light.  I would stake my claim to my perceived special area way before the other anglers got there.  My mom use to make sure I was out of bed way early.  She one opening morning apologized to me for not going to the river with me.  I just smiled at her told her not to worry about it.  I had not ever expected her to go with me.

There was a thing we did each and every time after I was done opening day.  Sometimes it happed sooner than others.  I typically quit fishing when I caught a big one.  I carried the fish and gear home immediately to show it to my mom.  Mom always smiled so brightly and wowed at my fish.  This happened for decades.  One day about twenty years ago mom told me she thought I was a better angler than my dad.  It was the best compliment I have ever had in my life. I was so proud.  My mother smiled and got misty eyes when she told me.

I remember last year when I caught my huge walleye.  I went to show her and she was not home.  She was out and about with sister Deb.  I missed her smile and wowing at the huge walleye.  I had grown use to it through the years.  The showing mom my catch had become part of the tradition through the years. I saved the photo on my phone and showed her the next time I was in town.

I drove to my hometown yesterday morning to see if there was any open places to fish.  I was not early like years past.  The banks were lined with folks.  I sat in my car and watched people fish for a while and drove home.

This morning I was awake at 4am and could not go back to sleep.  I jumped in the car and drove to Gays Mills and was in place on the river an hour before first light.  It was too dark to fish so I sat there on the bench and reminisced.  This morning it was quite different.  Instead of being giddy like years past I was sad.  Who was I going to show my big catch to?  Who was going to wow at my fish and smile?

The morning light awakened me from my sadness and I cast in the same places I have for almost 60 years.  I was reeling and smiling and running through all of my greatest hits from the decades past. I was there for almost 2 hours before I had a strike.  It was right by shore and it was a big pike.  It bull rushed me and straighten out my less than adequate small treble hooks on my fire tiger shad rap.  I was angry at first then sadness came back again.  Who was I going to show it too anyway? My mom passed away December 22nd. I decided to keep fishing.  I kept pounding the water for another 2 hours and was about to quit when I had a big pike follow. It did not come back.

I loaded my gear and drove around my small hometown slowly.  I went by where our house use to be.  It now has a Lion's Club Shelter there.  I visualized me in the front yard of my home and my mom taking my picture and smiling.  I drove to the cemetery and talked to mom for a while. I told her I loved her and missed her.  I decided that when I caught a big fish down at the dam in the future I would still take it to her at the cemetery and show her.






April 30, 2020

Trip Report "Revisiting Old Places"

Drove to a landowner's house yesterday.  Have not fished there in 8 years.  I thought a new ask for permission was in order.  They remembered me and I got new permission in short order.

Hit the water at 11:30am.  It was 60 degrees and bright sunlight.  I caught 8 browns in the first 70 yards.  I lost a big one that stayed on the bottom and did aggressive head shakes.


Finished at 4:30pm. 39 browns to hand.  66 degrees and sunny.  Water very clear.





April 28, 2020

Trip Report "Littles And Wildflowers"

Hit the water at 9am and was done by 11am.  24 small browns to hand.  None photo worthy.  Was a wildflower photo kinda outing.


Blood Root


Downy Phlox