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5-24-03 - The first small pond we visited was an unnamed warm-water and very shallow, in most places the weed/algae came up to just a few inches below the surface.
The Green Sunfish is one of my favorite panfish; stunning coloration and TONS of fight for their size. They hit a fly like a BASS!
Paradise Springs doesn't have a lot of flow, but it is pretty cool.
At the headwaters of the spring we found trout mecca. The fish were EVERYWHERE. Big Browns were sitting all along the shore in the shallows...catching them would prove to be much more difficult than finding them.
A long shot from end to end of the headwaters of Paradise Springs.
The pier is one of my favorite spots but with hip boots or chest waders you have FULL ACCESS to every part of the springs.
Although not exactly a lunker I had to be excited. My first Wisconsin Inland Brown.
We finished up our day on Lake Como but didn't manage to hook up with any largemouths despite our best intentions.

5-24-03 - Trout HEAVEN!

Rivers Fished: Paradise Springs, Pond at Paradise Springs, Lake Como
Fish Caught: 4
Outing Date: 5-24-03
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: 60's & 70's
Water Temp: 1st Pond -> 70F in the shade, 74 in the sun; 2nd Spring -> 60F, Lake Como surface temps were 65F
Water Level: N/A
Water Color: Crystal; Lake Como cloudy as always
Fish Species: Green Sunfish, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass
Pattern Fished: Too Many To List
Pattern Color: N/A
Fishing Quality: Character Building

Bart and his GF came up to Lake Como for the weekend; we spent the better part of the morning putting in the boat and taking it for a test run! After that, a birthday lunch for my Mom and then we were OFF for some fishing!

After seeing my reports from the week prior covering almost ALL of the Walworth County trout streams, I got an email from a fishin' buddy who demanded to know why I had wasted my time there when I should be looking at other locations. His suggestion was Paradise Springs...from the way he made it sound Bart & I knew we had to at least give it a look.

Arriving at the Springs about 1:00 we first noticed that it is essentially pay-to-play. $30 annually for WI State Parks Parking sticker if you're a nonresident. $10 daily. Well, I'm never one to argue if the DNR asks me for money, so $30 later I was all set. Besides, the sticker is good for all the other State Park FEE areas.

Now, the first body of water is right by the parking lot; crystal clear with lots of vegetation. A quick water temp showed 74F in the sun, 70F in the shade...no trout to be seen. I didn't have my buddy's specific directions in hand...I was stumped at first. Where were all the trout.

We took walks around the pond sighting numerous fish but they were too stocky. We also noticed several bright orange fish...AKA GOLDFISH! Wouldn't that be a fun catch on a 4 wt.? Anyways, turns out the prowlers were Green Sunfish..every last fish in the pond was a Green Sunfish if it wasn't a goldfish. I landed 3 sizeable fighters in no time, along with numerous smaller ones...Green Sunfish strike like miniature bass and will give you some fun...they're not against diving into the weeds which makes landing them a challenge on ultra-lightweight gear.

Off to the other side of the parking lot was a stream....this must be Paradise Springs. I was confusing in my head the description of this area and another set of springs which has a large pond on the other side of the road...so Bart and I walked downstream! Ha! Nothing worth mentioning although it was flowing at 60F. One neat side note; the WDNR has set up this small portion of the stream as an educational area with some small signs...it made me laugh 'cause it looked like a miniature trout stream aquarium. Someone with a lot of cash could have one built in their home! They tell you to look under the logs for hiding trout! Nope, no trout! But this springs must be coming from somewhere as we did see an angler coming back in his waders who said they weren't biting.

Ok, so there must be trout here...'cause if he said "they weren't biting" that means that "they" (aka TROUT) were around here somewhere. Upstream we went...Bart walked the stream for a bit while I opted for the PATH ;)

As I came to the top there stood a large pond waterfalling a good 10 feet down to become Paradise Springs Creek. I didn't notice it right away, but as we got to looking around there were trout EVERYWHERE in all sizes.

So here's the lowdown. Class 5, Special Regulations. Artificials ONLY. NO KILL. Extended Season from Jan 1 to something like Sept. 30 (but don't quote me on that). WDNR info say stocked brookies and browns, but I can verify that there are also rainbows...maybe the DNR has discontinued stocking them? However, it also seems that conditions may be suitable for natural reproduction which is even more exciting.

Shortly after our arrival I landed my first and only trout! This gorgeous little brown flew in from nowhere to hit a Tan Hare's Ear! Put up a good fight; since I had hooked up from the dock it took a bit to figure out just how to land the fish; couldn't haul him straight up 'cause I was fishing really light tippet.

HOURS passed and we did not get any other hookups...just a lot of looks and turns. The trout at Paradise are HUMBLING to say the very least; these are SMART FISH. Trust me, a visit to Paradise Springs will bring you to your KNEES screaming to the trout gods in rage and frustration. The feeling is that most folks only fish the springs ONCE.

Towards evening came the midge hatch..tons of tiny flies everywhere and the trout were ignoring all subsurface presentations. I moved 'upstream' and found several 8-12" trout feeding heavily on the surface; the closest match I had was the general Mosquito pattern, so I tossed it.

2 missed hookups later and I was fuming. Bart was PO'd and his GF had long given up. We didn't put the boat in back at Lake Como for nothing, so we packed it up.

By the time we got back to Como it was about 7:30; we'd have roughly one hour of fishing before we'd have to get off the water. Temp check as always; 65F. The water was the usual Como Green...visibility in the lake is usually about 6". It is worth mentioning that the Lake levels are UP compared to where they have been the past few years.

Let me tell you now, 3 people fishing out of a 12' rowboat with an 8 horse is fun but a bit risky, especially when two of those people are fly casting! Bart and I divvied up the offerings; he went surface with a yellow popper (yellow & black is THE deadly combination on Como); I went subsurface with a Black Whitlock's Hare Sculpin.

We worked the south shore of the Lake EAST of the boat launch, an area that I know has some gravel. Considering that the bass are on the beds in other area lakes, I figured this might be our best bet, especially since it's a good area year-round.

Bart got no hits, I maybe got one or two but honestly I kinda know how it feels to be a guide now...I kept oaring to keep us in position while the wind slowly pushed us west along the shore. After sunset we put in another 15 minutes or so at two other hot spots for me along the south shore, but still no takers.

Next time I think I'll just oar and coach; I think Chromeseeker also was frustrated because he had neglected to bring the appropriate gear (when you're hurrying out the door at 8:00 am it's easy to forget things). So basically Como turned out to be a semi-pleasure cruise towards the end of a tough but enjoyable day!

  MP 

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