Driftless Caddis 4/17/2016

Sometimes you head to your  favorite trout stream looking for a particular hatch and all the conditions seem right, and for some random reason of cruel fate, it never materializes.  This was not that day.  Everywhere you found rocks and riffles, you found Caddis popping and trout rising.  The heads of pools was where the action was.  Tossing your presentation into shallow riffles leading into any pool would bring a beautiful Driftless Specimen to hand more often than not.  Bubble lines hugging the bank were also productive.  It’s great days of dry fly fishing like this that make all the other tough days fade away.

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You’ll never go thirsty again with the Life Straw in the Driftless. Nothing quenches your thirst like fresh Spring Creek water.

 

Categories: Driftless Area, dry fly, fly fishing, Wisconsin Fishing, Wisconsin trout | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Michigan Steelhead 4/9/16

Last weekend a bunch of guys and I headed up north along Michigan’s west coast with a few small boats, way too many fly rods, a smoker, and a cooler full of meat.  Exactly the way I expected to celebrate the end of my non-married life.  Along the way we checked the weather forecast and stream flows to devise a plan and it was looking grim.  After a good rain some cold air moved in and changed conditions from almost perfect to borderline dangerous.  Michigan rivers are deceivingly swift.  At first glance the water looks fairly flat and slow but once you step in up to your thighs you can feel the current start to move you down river.  So, with some added rain and cold weather our first concern was safety.  When we arrived we had heard that the area hadn’t gotten as much rain as they expected, and despite the cold forecast the temperature stayed above freezing and we got a good mix of sun to keep us warm, and enough clouds to keep fish active.  Day one we floated our fleet of small boats from pool to pool drifting eggs and swinging streamers through likely lies waiting for THE TUG.  Brown trout where caught here and there, but that’s not exactly why we traveled 6 hours.  Catching a steelhead anywhere is a major feat in fly fishing.  Catching a wild steelhead in a river with no dams, and littered with log jams is something that definitely requires your A-game and a bit of luck.  With so many river miles and so many places to hide getting one to eat your fly is the first challenge.  Then, it becomes a struggle to keep the fish out of the wood and trying not to let it get too far down river.  When all this happens and the fish comes to the net you quickly forget about the cold, wet, fishless hours, and the victory resonates throughout your group.  Everyone loves a chance to see these amazing fish up close, and this time I was the lucky one to get my hands around a fresh hen.  Day two we waded in damp weather and my brother had one steelhead take an egg and then break off due to a drag malfunction when it decided to make a run.  Other than that just a few questionable bumps and a couple brown trout provided some fun filler between long walks and cold beers.

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Adam feeling relieved to reach the bank after wading a little too deep.

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Categories: brown trout, fly fishing, Lake Run Trout, Pere Marquette, spey, steelhead, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Backwaters – Spring Fishing in Northern Illinois

Ben K’s latest video from our recent spring floats in Northern Illinois.

Categories: bass, fly fishing, pike | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Mixed Springs

After two brutal Polar Vortex Winters and late Springs, this year’s early Spring is well deserved.  And rather than fall into the same early season routine, Anthony and I have been very happy to pursue water and fish that we normally ignore this time of year.  Most of this year’s early fishing has revolved around exploring stretches of local rivers that may harbor some early season Pike potential.  I knew this would be a very different Spring once Anthony pounded some fish on a local Farm Pond at the beginning of March.  Normally the Driftless season opener is tops on the list when March rolls around but with the new regs we’ve been able to scratch that itch since January, and by the first day of Spring we’ve usually developed a severe case of Chronic Chrome Chasers Disease, but that illness has gone into remission.

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I had quite the tussle with this Hen

Instead, curiosity, exploring hunches, and breaking routine has been driving how we spend our time.  Also, who doesn’t love to tie large predator flies just to see them swim and get eaten?  You can only swing the same old runs and dredge the deep pools so many times before you have to mix it up.  Not that we haven’t made any visits to our local SW Lake MI Tribs to chase Lake Run Trout, we have and they’ve been productive, but even then we were fishing new water.

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A new stretch of the Kish

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Bald Eagle on the Kish

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Root River Steelhead run has been pretty fishy the last few weeks

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Always a joy to see the fish respond to new fun color schemes

We’ve been out in tough early season conditions, usually morning, searching for Pike in high cold backwaters.  Anthony landed one nice fish on each float and that’s enough to call it productive to me this time of year.  Not only that, we’ve seen some choice habitat for Smallies, LM, and Pike that will likely be productive in the future.  Local waters are definitely starting to seem more appealing this year,and I think I will focus a bit more on them.  I think part of the reason we’ve been able to bottle chasing Steelhead as much as we normally do this time of year is because we have a great outdoors bachelor party planned on the PM coming up for Anthony.  It will surely be a blast and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than chasing PM trout & Steelhead with a group of good guys.  I hope we have lots to share after it’s all said and done.

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Anthony landed this 4lb Hog about 10 minutes after he said he didn’t expect any bass to be active.  Ben of the Remedy Fishing Channel snapped this great pic.  He joined us on our 2nd Pike float

Trio of Turtles

Trio of Turtles

Juicy backwaters

Juicy backwaters

 

Categories: fly fishing, Lake Run Trout, pike, steelhead, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pike Fly Sessions

I can only take so many days chasing fish that don’t wanna eat (lake-run trout) before I get the urge to watch a reckless predator chase and eat a 10 inch fly.  So, I’ve decided to fill up my pike box with some new patterns for this spring.

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Categories: fly fishing, fly tying, pike | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Kishwaukee River Pike 3/12/06

2016-03-12 14.06.58Jaws and I floated a new stretch of the Kishwaukee River in Mchenry County today in search of some early season pike.  Armed with two boxes full of new flies we set out to explore a part of the river that none of my friends have really fished.  The water looked promising with deep cuts and plenty of wood for cover, but this time of year I suspected the pike might be in shallow backwaters off the main river channel where they spawn right after ice out.  The day was overall a little slow.  I did see a couple pike in the 24 inch range in the shallows that didn’t seem aggressive likely due to the spawn, but at the confluence of a side channel and the main current I had one thick pike just shy of 30 inches inhale my fly.

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Categories: fly fishing, pike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment