Black Earth Creek
Water Temp: 68 deg
Water Clarity: Moderately Stained
Patterns Fished: Elk Hair Caddis, Yellow Sally, Orange Stimulator, Pink Squirrel, Black Beetle, Milwaukee Leech
I had a couple of hours free this evening and hit Black Earth Creek for the first time in about a month. I hit the bends behind Salmo Pond and another “hidden” spot closer to the village of Black Earth that has consistently produced for me this season.
At this point in the season you may have heard, and it’s true: BEC suffered a significant fish kill over the winter. The DNR has estimated 70% of the population died off between Cross Plains and Black Earth, and suspect that a one-two punch of flooding during the 2013 season plus below-normal stream temperatures during the 2013-2014 winter devastated the first year trout class and did a number on the rest.
If there is a silver lining to this story, it’s the fact that BEC has suffered large fish kills in the past and has been resilient in the wake of constant environmental threats. It will take BEC’s browns several years to recover, but they will likely bounce back. That’s little solace for the average angler looking for sport this year, though. In response the DNR has dumped 4,000 hatchery rainbows and 300 brood-stock browns into the stream to offset the kill.
I will say, the rainbows provide steady action and a decent fight. Which is good, because of the couple of dozen fish I’ve landed this season, all but two of them have been rainbows (or three, if you count the big brown I lost while Hex fishing [which I assume was a brown!]]).
Water seemed a little high today and more stained than normal. No action at Salmo today, not even rises. The hidden hole had some consistent, but slow, rises in pools both up and downstream. These fish have learned over these past few months– earlier in the season I could throw any ol’ dry across the surface and they would hit with abandon. Now, they are more wily. My selection of dries were not working. Maybe they were hitting emergers? But again, nymphing showed no results.
I finally got a few to stab at a Milwaukee Leech, and one to stick, this one showing a beautiful speckled pattern tattooed along its flanks.
Few other people hitting BEC. Saw one car at South Valley, one more at Scherbel Road. Despite the doom-and-gloom news from the DNR, BEC is still fishing well so long as you don’t mind a trout of a different color in you creel.