With this nice spring weather we’ve had here fishing opportunities are opening up everywhere for a variety of species in the midwest. Wisconsin’s early trout season has been open since January, steelhead tributaries in southern Wisconsin have been free of ice and should be providing some of the best lake-run trout fishing of the year, and my local ponds and lakes are open and also giving up some nice fish. The biggest problem now is deciding what to chase. I may have to try for steelhead this week if I can get out. The tributary rivers are shaping up with perfect flows and clarity, and I did get a small stream trout fix and a really productive hour on my work break fishing my favorite local pond for bass and crappie. Spring is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Less bugs, weeds, and people to distract you from just taking it all in. Get some!!
Just another story of big business trying to destroy critical habitat for profits. Buying out politicians and backing out of a land deal that would provide a holding area for the toxic water coming from the agricultural land surrounding it is what the company US Sugar is trying to do. Without clean fresh water to replenish the Okeechobee basin which overflows during the rainy season flooding into many rivers and the everglades, these coastal wetlands could start to disappear.
The Menominee River is a major tributary of Green Bay and the Great Lakes. It also forms most of the border between NE Wisconsin and the UP. Currently, it is in danger of being developed into an open pit gold and zinc mine by Aquila Resources via their Back Forty Project. Please visit the link and sign the online petition to help preserve this wonderful wilderness environment. The mine, if created, would likely produce metallic sulfide that would damage the river.
Here are some good questions being asked about the project:
- How does an open pit mine on its banks fit in with the goals of the Great Lakes Compact or the $250 million dollars just budgeted federally for clean up?
- How does it fit in with the lower Menominee clean up projects of the Wisconsin DNR and Wisconsin Public Service?
- How does it fit in with the Sturgeon restoration or other stocking programs on the river?
- Or how does it fit in with the Menekaunee Harbor Restoration Project at the mouth of the river?
- How about the state motto? Pure Michigan
Here is an amazing short documentary about the geographic and biological diversity of one of the most unique places in our country which happens to be in our backyards.
The Fall/Winter run on the SW Tribs of Lake Michigan have been very difficult these last 2 years to say the least. After talking to a lot of fisherman who have fished these rivers a hell of a lot more than myself for many many years, it’s clear the number of fish are way down. When you see a couple guys fishing one of your favorite pools with spin rods, live spawn, and minnows, yet they have nothing to show for their efforts…you know you’re in for a rough season. I remember last year was the first Fall/Winter run where I never grabbed a trout’s tail on the local tribs and this year was shaping up to look the same. Anthony even started calling the Milwaukee the Milskunkskee River.
The two week forecast was about to change to steady freezing temperatures with the occasional sub-zero low, so Anth and I strung up the switch rods on a mix of snow and rain January day to get some redemption on a lack lust season. Fishing all the way into January is a pleasure and we owe it to our Spanish friend El Nino. Which is Spanish for…Anyway, I was lucky enough to get a small bright Steelhead and a healthy looking post spawn Brown. Anth was broken off from an aggressive Brown that continued to drift out of the run to pursue a strip/swung streamer even after the break off and a fly change.
These past couple seasons have been psychologically rough and revealing. When you reach the point of doubting if there is even a single fish in the river seeing your presentation, it really makes you wonder how you got up hours before sunrise, geared up, and drove 3 hours round trip to wave your stick around the river like you were actually fishing to fish. The truth is, it doesn’t matter whether fish are in the river or not. If you love swinging flies for Winter Steelhead with switch rods like we do, and there’s always a chance, no matter how terrible the run is, you’re going to hear your reel scream and see a dime bright mini-sub flash you mid-swing…the only thing you stand to lose is the hot fish you’ve been paying your dues for since that last one you’re probably still talking about. Stubbornness and blind faith are a few qualities a lot of Steelheader’s have in common. My fingers are already crossed for the next warm weather pattern so I can swing a fly once more before the freeze.