April 1, 2014
Weather: Mostly cloudy and windy
Air temp: 32 deg
Water temp: 41 deg
Fish Caught: APpRoxImateLy Fifty Or fOrty waLleyeS
Well, Spring was nice, wasn’t it? Flew by real quick around these parts, and now we’re back in the 30s-40s again. How refreshing… no, wait, what’s the word I’m looking for…? F***ing depressing. Yeah, that’s it.
Now is a friendly reminder that Wisconsin fishing licenses for 2013 have expired.
With all the avoiding frostbite this past month, I’ve completely ignored other developing opportunities to laugh in the face of hypothermia. A few days ago I came across a few fishing reports for the Wisconsin River indicating the start of pre-spawn walleye activity, and for some reason that thought tickled me. Fly fishing for walleye? Sure, why not?
It helped that I have a new rod that has yet to see the water, a nice little 9-weight that I bought for my first season of muskie fishing, and I’ve been itching to try it out. 9-weight is a bit overkill for walleye from what I’ve read, but what the hell? Might as well see how this thing casts with the intermediate line that I also bought but have yet to use. I waited until later in the day in hopes that things would warm up (ha!) and hit the dam around noon.
Windy, cloudy, freezing. Man, I’m really getting sick of this crap. Two guys were fishing right off the dam in a boat, but nobody else was in the water. A few spectators camped out in their cars here and there. Water levels were about average for what I experienced last summer, and a bit higher than my last time here in October. Only one spill gate was open and gushing water.
I tied on some big blue-and-chartreuse Clouser Minnows and worked on my casting with the new rod. I’ve never had a rod heavier than an 8-weight, and I was purposely trying to cast some larger flies in order to mimic the big, ugly musky flies I’ll be investing in later (I’ve tied a few so far, but didn’t want to waste ’em here). In hindsight it was nice to have the strong winds if for no other reason than to figure out how to power through them. After a few failed attempts I finally got a rhythm going and was able to consistently rocket that Clouser out 40-ish feet or so.
The intermediate line will take a little getting used to. It’s a clear line, so it uses a monofilament core that takes on more memory than normal fly line (which uses braided line). It’s propensity to sink rather than float meant that I had to really haul it from the water to reduce drag when shooting line. I think it’ll be a different story when fishing from a boat or sandbar, but wading waist-deep made the line a bit of a drag (ha!) to work with.
Anyway, it was frickin’ cold and after hanging up a few flies on boulders I headed home. I was happy with the rod and I can see trying this again once the weather improves a bit more. I think it can serve as a nice change of pace from early season trout.