Even though I took a short break from this blog it doesn’t mean I’ve taken a break from fishing… although spending an hour-plus writing an account of eight hours-plus of fishing isn’t as cake as it would seem. Instead of some full blown “stream stories” here I present to you shorter, to-the-point fishing reports of a couple of streams I hit over an (extended) weekend.
March 13, 2014
Big Green River
Air temp: 22 deg (morning), 38 deg (afternoon)
Access Points: Spring Valley Rd, Big Green Rd, Collins Rd
Big Green was rather sleepy until about 10:30am, when temperatures crept above freezing and the first midges began to appear on the stream. Not long after I began seeing rises in larger pools and runs. Not being much of a dry fly guy, I stubbornly stuck to nymphs and size 8 woolly buggers. Surprisingly, I did manage to get a couple of small brown trout to hit the bugger in between rises. In fact, I sight-fished one brown in the beaver pond upstream of Big Green Rd with a bugger. After clearly watching this fish rise on more than one occasion I managed to feed a bugger to it. I was always told that rising fish tend to ignore subsurface presentations. Lesson learned #1: sometimes fish can’t turn down a big meal.
I fished every pool, riffle, seam, bank, and what-have-you for hours without nary a bite on numerous nymph patterns– Pink Squirrels, pink and orange Scuds, beadhead Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails, something I concocted I call a Fuzzy Buffalo– and after scaring up pool after pool of fish I finally swallowed my pride, tied on a size 18 Griffith’s Gnat, and began fishing dry. Within a matter of minutes I had three browns to my credit. After having trouble following the tiny Gnat, I figured (what the Hell?) I’d tie on a large size 16 Elk Hair Caddis and skated it through a riffle, and in response there came a big burp of water from… something. Lesson learned #2: fish dries if fish expect dries.
Air temp: 37 deg (in the sun)
Access Points: Snow Bottom Rd
On my way home I stopped at Blue River for a short while along Snow Bottom Road. The section upstream of the bridge was already bathed in shadow and temperatures were already dropping. At about 5:00pm I noticed what appeared to be tiny blue-winged olives coming off the water, and saw one (COUNT ‘EM) rise in response. I fished a Griffith’s Gnat and BWO Sparkle Dun for a while and came up short and decided to call it a day.
March 15, 2014
Dell Creek, Hulbert Creek*
Air temp: 32 deg
Access Points: North Ave
Man, fishing the Dells area for trout looks rough… I had the opportunity to spend a few hours Saturday morning while on a family vacation to the Wilderness, and I didn’t even bother using up all the time I managed to steal away for the adventure. Dell Creek is one of the few designated trout creeks in the area. It might be a decent creek at some other time of year… but following a week of above-freezing temperatures every access point along the stream showed high, fast, chocolaty water. After driving continually upstream to nearly every access point possible, I finally stopped at North Ave where I decided to give fishing the old “What The Hell?” try. Staying on the bank I swung a black Woolly Bugger through the mud-water and came up empty. Even in the larger pools the swift current delivered the bugger downstream at a pace that I guessed was much too quick for any trout to bother with it. In fact, I doubt any trout were holding anywhere but at the very bottom of where I was fishing, and I don’t think they were in a feeding mood.
*I did not fish Hulbert Creek, but I thought I should give it a mention. About a week ago I put a post on DriftlessTroutAngler.com asking if anyone had fished it before. The lack of response should have tipped me off. The Wisconsin DNR calls it a Class 1 brook trout stream and Class 2 brown trout stream. I did a quick scouting trip Friday afternoon along Birchwood Road, part of the Hulbert Creek Wildlife Area, and found a stream about 15″ wide and about half that deep. Now, I’m sure somewhere along its length there are some holding areas for fish. But the skinny water, coupled with brushy bankside vegetation, deterred me from giving it a shot. (If I would have had my 6’6″ with me, instead of the unwiedly 9′, I may have given it a shot).
Tomorrow I’m headed west again to fish the Richland Center-Viroqua area. Expect a stream story or two…