Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lightning rod...

If you live in southern wisconsin I'm guessing you saw the amazing lightning show that went on yesterday (7/27)   And although I love fishing, I'm not one to stand outside waving around a 9ft. 4wt. 57million modulus graphite fly rod, or should I say lightning rod, during a storm.  At least I got to fish for a little while today!  I even caught a few fish, a few pretty nice fish.   I got to the creek at about 6:30pm and was hoping for a nice midge hatch like there has been the past two days, unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of rising going on so I threw on a wooly bugger and started casting.  After about 20 minutes in the same hole I was about to pack up and leave, since i was really looking for the "risers" just as i'm about to leave i get a really solid hit, fish on!  The fish fought really hard and had me thinking that he was gonna be about 18 inches... he wasn't.  He was still a really nice brown trout measuring right about 15.   Took a picture and put him back to fight again!  Next cast was in the same spot as the last,  the fly hits the water and I start stripping as fast as I can (which is how i got the first fish to hit) and boom, another hit.  The fish came up to the surface and started thrashing about doing everything it could to spit the hook, and it succeeded.  I was pumped that the fish had started biting, but I was bummed, because the fish i just lost was about a 18-20 inch rainbow.   (My personal best wisconsin rainbow is 15 inches, and my all time best was caught in montana at 21 inches)   Back to fishing.   I casted all around the pool and ended up catching two more browns about the same size as the first.   I started seeing lightning as was back to the car at about 7:40.  Not a bad outing at all!
1st fish of the day

Nice colors and spots on the 2nd fish of the day

the last fish of the day, hardly any spots

The other two days that the midges were hatching I didn't get any pictures, first day i forgot the camera, and remembered it on the 2nd day, but forgot the battery!  caught 4 the first day, 2 rainbows, and 2 browns.  and caught 3 the 2nd day.   I had many more hits, and several more on, but with those size 22 midge patterns it seems hard to get a good hookset.

Hope everyone else is having a good week as well - Tight lines

Monday, July 25, 2011

The trout drought is over

I'm going back out today again so i'm going to keep this one short!  Went out to Iowa county yesterday and was on the water at about 6:30PM.  By the time i left at about 9:30PM I had personally caught over 20 trout! I was fishing with my dad who also caught quite a few.   Didn't take too many pictures yesterday though.   The biggest fish was a 13" brown.  

The hopper bite is  in it's earlier stages from what I saw!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Another Rod Finished!

We'll the heat helped me get this one finished really quickly!  This one is a 9ft. 4wt.  Rainshadow "HHX" RX8 graphite blank.   It's got some good backbone in it and has a very fast action.  The wraps were inspired by the beautiful brown trout.  I like how this one turned out!

The materials were purchased at hook and hackle and the reel seat was again made by Dave Winslow

Friday, July 22, 2011

Good fishing, even if it is elbow to elbow!

Today I switched gears from trout again and decided to do a bit of warm water fishing.  With only a few hours to fish my friend Bryan and I wanted to go somewhere that we could catch some fish without much planning or preparation, so headed up to the Prairie Du Sac Dam on the Wisconsin River.  It was about 1pm and the shore was getting pretty full already.  We walked up to the base of the dam and talked with one of the guys fishing there and according to him, they weren't biting, but he insisted that we fish there next to him.   We stayed out of his way and told him that if we caught any fish we weren't planning to keep that we would give them to him.
We started fishing and within minutes we caught a sheepshead, the man wanted to keep it, so I tossed it in his bucket.  I personally have never eaten sheepshead, nor do I plan to ever eat it,  do they actually taste very good at all?  I may never find out!   Back to fishing.   A few more minutes pass and a few more sheepshead are caught then I hook something a little bigger.  After a very nice fight a decent channel catfish comes to hand!  The man also wanted to keep the catfish, so we let him.  it was about 3:30pm now and still no signs of any smallmouth bass or walleye.
After a long cast and a few jigs I started reeling in my leech.  BOOM, fish on!  The first smallmouth of the day!  He was huge, well actually he was tiny, about 8 inches.   I casted back to where the bass hit since smallmouths tend to sit near other smallies, and sure enough the 2nd, and last smallie of the day, another one about 8 inches.   After several more catfish and sheepshead my fiend hooks up and lands the only walleye of the day at about 4pm.  He was under the 18inch limit so back into the drink he went after a nice picture.   The people started to pack into the spot and we decided to leave.  Not a bad afternoon of fishing, and the other fisherman who invited us to fish along side of him should be eating good for quite a while!  When we left he had roughly 5 catfish and 10 sheepshead in his bucket!
Our tally for the day- Bryan: 1 walleye, 4 catfish, 9 sheepshead
                                  Blake:  1 Smallies, 4 catfish, 7 sheepshead  
6 people in this photo alone! 
The only walleye we saw today

The first and largest cat of the day!

The hot weather hasn't really helped the fishing too much, but it had helped me focus on rod building!  Started and finished a rod in 2 days! (other than the glue, which takes 24 hours to dry)  Pictures should be up tomorrow after it's dry!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not too exciting...

Well this past week it has been ridiculously hot.  I only made it out fishing twice, both on nearby Black Earth Creek.  I was skunked for only the 2nd time this season on the first outing of the week, bummer.   Today was better, but not too great.  Good old BEC only gave up 2 fish today, first an 11inch sucker, and 2nd about an 8inch largemouth bass.  I also had a fish about 15-16 inches on, although I only got a quick glimpse of it before it spit the hook, I think it was a brown, but it might have been another sucker.  Days like I've had this week really make me appreciate the good days of fishing!

Maybe tomorrow will be better!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rod finished!

I've been building rods for about 4 years now and I just finished my latest one!  It's an 8ft. 4wt.  built for my mom, she's a "crafty" person and actually wanted to learn how to tie flies, but she figured she should at least use the flies she makes so she told me that if she learned how to fly fish, I had make her a rod.   I took her out to Spring creek (in lodi) and she decided she wanted a fly rod.  I figured even if she doesn't use it very much,  that I could borrow it! (it casts really well so I might be borrowing it quite a bit!)
She chose the colors for the wraps and the reel seat and I put it together.
Dave Winslow makes some very beautiful reel seats and at a  very fair price.

double foot snake guides

1 stripping guide on this shorter rod

the butt section of the rod, a side view

the top view of the decorative wrap

The reel is a TFO Prism, and so far it is a wonderful reel.  The drag system seems very smooth and performs great! at about $85 it's one of the best values that I've seen.  Also it is one of the nicest cast AL reels I've seen.  Bought at On The Creek fly shop, if you haven't been there, you should check it out!
For anyone looking for a beautiful custom reel seat make sure to check out Winslow Rods!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

3 personal bests in one day... actually in about 1 hour...

No, I didn't catch my biggest brook, brown and rainbow.  I went out on the Wisconsin river with one of my friends and ended up catching my first sauger (that i was sure about, i've probably caught them and just thought it was a walleye at some point) and being my first, he was my biggest ever at a whopping 10 inches.  a few minutes after i caught the first walleye of the day, about a 15inch (pictured below) Several casts later I got another bite, set the hook and then after a short 35minute fight i caught my first sturgeon ever!!! not to mention this whole time i was using a 5ft ultralight and 6lbs test which makes a bluegill a worthy opponent....  It was really cool catching such a prehistoric creature.  They have an almost leathery feel to their skin, it's very rough and tough feeling.  He was an estimated 43inches long (the tape measure I had only went to 36) He was also foul hooked in the side, which explains the very, very long fight,  but it was still cool getting to see one of those fish in person and get a quick picture with one!   Only about 10 minutes after releasing him I caught another walleye about 16 inches, the cast after another walleye about 13 inches.   With all the luck i was having my friend that was with me wasn't doing too well, so he decided to switch to a jig like I was using. As he was tying on I got another bite, set the hook and instantly thought "oh no, not again" because my little rod bend over  and line ripped out from my reel, luckily this time I felt some head shakes so it seemed to be fair hooked.  about 2 minutes later I saw the beast, which ended up being a 28.25 inch walleye, beating my previous record of 27 inches.  After taking a few pictures I let him go to fight another day!  After that I caught a decent smallie and then we called it a night. Talk about a good day!

My friend did end up catching 2 sheepheads and 2 walleyes about 16 inches a piece! 

Not a bad sized walleye!

This 28.25 inch monster dwarfs the 15 inch that was caught earlier
Although he looks a bit skinny in the picture he actually had a 13inch girth a healthy summer walleye!
Although foul hooked, I'll still count it as my first sturgeon ever!
(I didn't see the fish until right before we got him in the net, had I known it was foul hooked
 I would have broke the line as to not stress the fish)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why do fish miss streamers more than they hit them?

Today I made it out on the stream and decided I would bring also two rods, my 1wt. for nymphs and dry flies, and my 6wt. for streamers/wooly buggers.   I ended up catching a good amount of fish, about 20 I would say.. 9ish on wooly buggers, 9ish on a size 14 pink squirrel, and 2 on a small pheasant tail.   I didn't catch anything too huge, but I did catch two fish on one line! Only the second time I've ever done this, the other time was on the Ruby River in Montana.  The only problem was that both fish were chubs of some sort, neither were trout!  pretty cool anyway.
biggest and first fish of the day 14"

I wasn't going to photograph this 10" but when i let him go he went and beached himself
so I took his picture then.

one of many browns

some great colors on this guy

another 10"

little trout with some big spots

my double for the day!

unfortunately neither fish was a trout!

A skinny 11" that put up a very nice fight
The sunset after any enjoyable afternoon fishing

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pre-blog post

Pictures of the past...well some pictures, from earlier in the 2011 season...

A 13inch victim of the size 16 pink squirrel

An 11 inch brown taken on a very poorly tied size 18 dry

size 6 Wooly bugger
Biggest of the season thus far taken on THE wooly bugger pictured above

12.5" brook taken minutes after the brown above, also on the rust wooly

First walleye of the year 22"

22"  large mouth

A beautiful brown from the middle provo river, utah

So far the 2011 fishing season has been a great one for me,  I'm hoping it will continue that way!

A slow day fishing is still better than a fast day at work

The past two days have been relatively slow for me.  Yesterday I ventured into Iowa and Grant counties in search or the ever elusive 20inch trout!... to no avail. Not to say the day wasn't a success, it was just a hard day of fishing.  Between myself and a friend we caught about a dozen fish with the biggest being a 12 inch brown.
We did, however, see several huge fish.  I had a brown that would have probably measured around 23inches swipe, but miss my wooly bugger only to sink down into the weeds, never to be seen again (that day... I'll get that s.o.b next time)  then later in the day while we were working a deep, slow pool another fish about 18 inches lept out of the water and "tail-walked" across the surface right in front of us, unfortunately our flies were now where near the jumping fish.

Then today I switched gears and headed to the Prarie Du Sac dam on the Wisconsin River to try my luck with the walleye and catfish.  Right off the bat I caught a small smallmouth bass,  but after that it wasn't for another hour before we caught our next fish which was the only walleye of the day that measured a healthy 17 inches.
Bryan with a healthy river walleye
After another hour of walleye fishing we ended up only catching one more fish, which was a dogfish (AKA bowfin, cotton fish etc.)

Bryan strikes again, this time it's a dogfish
Unfortunately after that dogfish we weren'y lucky enough to land anything else, but we did have several catfish bites, including one that broke the line, which was my fault.  So although we didn't bring any monster cats to shore I learned a valuable lesson, if the line looks frayed, even the tiniest bit,  it's best to re-tie just in case.  

Although the fishing wasn't spectacular, the time spent fishing with a good friend is never time wasted.