|Early trout. Note the dirty fingers and spinning rod|
In June of '11, I purchased a fly rod and waders. On June 4th, I caught my first trout on a fly (a 10" brown trout from Camp Creek on a prince nymph). Fishing with the fly amplified my interest in fishing tenfold. Eventually, 2nd and 3rd rods were acquired, waders were replaced. Money got dumped into flies, leaders and all of the other gadgets and bobbles that would get stuffed into my chest pack, lost, broken and wedged into the crevices of my car.
|First trout on a fly|
Enough of my short trout fishing history... Two weekends ago, with advice from a friend, I tried fishing the south fork of the Bad Axe river. I arrived around 10 AM and fished upstream from the bridge at Duck Egg County Park. This area is purported to be a popular area. While there were a couple of cars there, I saw no other fishermen. A few horse trailers pulled in before I left. There is access to horse trails here and around the area.
|Duck Egg County Park|
The fall colors were really starting to pop already and the scenery around the creek was gorgeous, due in part to the perfect sunny weather. Sunny doesn't help catch fish, but I caught enough to be plenty amused for my few hours there. The creek had a few good deep holes without moving very far upstream, one of which yielded my second largest trout to date, an 18" female brown trout. This was done using a #14 black woolly bugger and strike indicator set about 6' back. The cast landed across a deep green pool bordered to the right by weeds floating on the water, creating a shady trout home.
|18" female brown|
Wanting to hit another area before the day was up, I headed back to the car around 1:00 and drove to Viroqua for lunch at the CO-OP. I would just stand there eating directly out of their buffet if they'd let me.
Next, I plotted a course to a bridge near the confluence of Hornby and Bad Axe. It was on highway N with a deep looking hole on the downstream side of the bridge. I tried to fish it but caught nothing.
|Highway N bridge|
The final weekend. It was challenging to schedule in the amount of fishing I wanted to do as I also had 2 shows to play. Friday night in Madison and Saturday night in La Crosse. I usually get free beer at shows so it wasn't just a matter of time but resisting the urge to party past the point of having a "friendly morning". Saturday morning could had been better, but I successfully retrieved Brown Beard by 8:30. We had our sights on Hornby Creek, part of the Bad Axe system.
We found the public parking area on Hornby Road, a primitive gravel road buttressed by uniformly sized, autumn colored bluffs that appeared to have been carefully dripped into place by a giant pastry bag. Two trucks and a tractor overgrown with weeds already occupied this space, though we only suspected the trucks as belonging to fishermen. We spotted one group of people headed down stream so we went upstream, and never saw another angler. Fishing started off slow in the sunny mid-day light. Brown finally broke the silence and reeled in a 10" brown. I followed that with a 13 incher and we proceeded to catch about a dozen fish together by the time we left, including a 16" female. The creek, though shallow near where we started, contained a good number of under cut banks, bends and pools. Of special note, I caught my first fish on a fly I had tied. A basic woolly bugger pattern.
|One of my first fish to be caught on a fly I tied. (It fell out of the first fish's mouth)|
|Unusually dense dot pattern|
I had to play a show in La Crosse that night, so we needed to find a campsite by mid-afternoon. Originally we had planned on again staying in Esofea, but happend to pass a modest looking campground not far from where we were. A wooden sign read "Countryside Campground" and beyond it was an immaculate green lawn accented by tastefully placed clusters of fountain grass, lawn ornaments, fire rings and trees.
|Porta potty palace|
Henry made a point to show us his augmented porta-potty that his wife was especially proud of. The "front yard" of the outhouse was adorned with a few lawn ornaments, brick entry way and solar powered lawn light. Without even looking inside it seem to say: "someone cares about me." He opened the door and pointed to a sign that read "comfort room". It was comfortable. Pretty things hung from the walls and deodorizers populated the shelfs. The walls had wooden siding, periodicals were provided and hand sanitizer was available. This was a mom's bathroom and it was wonderful.
A site costs $20, 4 more bucks than Esofea, but we had a premium camping paradise that included free firewood. The only thing missing was beer which was easily attainable from around the bluff about 10 minutes away at a bar and grill called Norwegian Hollow Hideaway. This was a nice new looking establishment overlooking Norwegian Hollow Creek, a brook trout stream I'm told. I was only there to buy a case of beer, but intend on returning to enjoy the view of the creek next season.
|Sunday morning outside my tent|
|More fish on my bugger!|
|Sundog in the sky on the way back to the car. Seeya next year...|
So does this blog die now for 5 months? I've got to finish the Colorado series yet. I'll be headed to Iowa, possibly next weekend. I have an annual license. There's also a chance for lake run trout and salmon. Other species of fish might make an appearance as well. Ice fishing? I doubt it.