6-21-03 - Checking out the closer WI Trout Streams...no
Waters Fished: Bluff Creek, Salmo Pond, Black
Earth Creek, Mt. Vernon Creek, Paradise Springs
Fish Caught: 2 (not by me)
Outing Date: 6-21-03
Air Temp: 80's
Water Temp: Bluff Creek -> 62F; Salmo Pond -> 72F; Black Earth
Creek -> 64F; Mt. Vernon Creek -> 60F
Water Level: Bluff Creek seemed normal; others seemed VERY low.
Water Color: Bluff Creek was clear, B.E.C. was muddy, especially
downstream, Mt. Vernon Creek was semi-clear.
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Brook Trout
Pattern Fished: Various Beadhead Nymphs
Pattern Color: assorted
Fishing Quality: Was expecting better
First stop was "local" a quick drive
from my folks house and I was at Bluff Creek. I got more information
from a couple sources and wanted to check out another area. When
I arrived it was about 10:00 am and other anglers were working the
section of stream...I went down and generally spotted nothing /
saw nothing. In the bends I was managing to get really small minnow-sized
fish to come out and look at MP's Antron Bug, but other than that
not much excitement. Maybe a couple tiny trout bit, but overall
not so good.
I went to the bridge at Willis and THIS is where
the fish "probably are"; deep holes on either side with
lots of cover. However, all I sighted looked like Minnows and definitely
SEVERAL suckers...different species than I've seen before though...interesting.
Well, it was close to noon and I had to get on
the road to Madison. Bart and I would meet at Salmo Pond and work
About 1:00 I 'landed' and checked out the pond.
While I've read reports of Browns being IN THE POND they are probably
out of reach this time of year; surface temps were very warm...bluegills
were bedding by shore (and the Shiners in the pond were trying to
get some eggs...tried to land a shiner but no luck!)
What's neat about Salmo is that Black Earth Creek
runs right behind it...very reminiscent of Quarry Lake and the Root
River. I checked out BEC in a few spots; saw maybe one fish rise
and also tried to avoid an angler working a section. I went all
the way to the far end of the pond, where it drains into BEC and
what did I find??? Not trout, but instead SEVERAL Largemouth Bass
of fair size (roughly 12-14") holding in the outflow! I tried
a few things on them include a couple hopper patterns but instead
of interest all I did was spook them!
Bart and M arrived and we decided on starting in
the Artificials Only section of BEC. Normally I've found Artificials
Only sections to be pretty nice. And this area could have been,
with one exception. It seems that BEC is REALLY LOW...at least maybe
a foot down from it's normal levels. I walked the entire path to
it's end...came back with nothing but a rash from all the stinging
nettles (note to self...wear extra LIGHT long sleeves in areas like
this). Another note to take heart; there are several HOLES along
the beaten path...I fell not once but FOUR TIMES when stepping into
them. Be careful and walk slowly....not only will you spook less
fish but you'll hopefully avoid a twisted ankle, sprained wrist
or even something worse. BE CAREFUL. I'll repeat it, there are LOTS
OF HOLES in the trail.
Bart was the only one to manage a fish...a very
small brown. We sighted a LOT of trout between 5 and 12" at
best...but nothing big...except for the dead one :(
Overall we were all very disappointed with Black
Earth Creek. Definitely not deserving of it's "Top 100"
status as per Trout Magazine. Most of the river was shin deep at
best, there was only one really "GOOD" hole in the entire
stretch of river I walked, and that was being camped by another
angler (can I blame him?!?!? NOPE!)
We decided to go upstream, but failed to find access
(later on we realized that most Access requires parking on Rt. 14...there
isn't parking). We ended up driving all the way downstream and on
our way back up settled on the public lands just west of Black Earth.
Walking back to the creek was tough...there are
some great pictures of us in grasses / foliage with only our HEADS
showing. Upon getting to the creek, I initially thought things might
NOPE! No way. Although there was a lot of deeper
water here, it was MUDDIED up; apparently something upstream was
causing that. Visibility was at best 6"; there was no activity
going on. We TRIED and TRIED working all the best trout lies but
NOTHING happened. Not one take, not one bite.
Bart and I were REALLY ticked off at this point;
M had long since stopped fishing. We said we'd give BEC 15 more
minutes to show us something or we were out of there. Well..we left
at about 5:15 and headed to Mt. Vernon.
Kindof a backwards way of getting there, but we
managed to arrive by about 6:00 pm. Another hike through tall grass,
stinging nettles...let's just say Bart was IN SHORTS and well..his
legs were RED on every exposed surface. He wasn't just irritated,
he was in PAIN!
On the walk to the creek..well, lets just say in
the same fashion as Black Earth Creek, the trails around Mt. Vernon
Creek are full of HOLES. We came to an old bridge and Bart and I
split up (M was so disappointed with the fishing she didn't even
bother). There was MORE tree cover on Mt. Vernon, the water was
cooler (60F) but the creek was smaller. Many more twists and turns,
a lot of undercuts, thus possibly better trout water.
I headed downstream while Bart went up. Bart shouted
while I was a good 100 yards downstream to come back and hurry...I
showed up to a gorgeous brown trout, probably 11". NICE FISH
Now the real ticket was that both M and CS had
seen a much larger brown in the pool by the bridge. I wasn't going
back downstream 'cause I hadn't found any good holes really, so
I went upstream while Bart worked the bridge.
Once again, without warning, I fall into a hole
2 feet deep and land full body in stinging nettles. The next bend
didn't look good, I was now thoroughly irritated, so I went back
and tried some things in the good hole right by the bridge.
No such luck. Bart didn't get any either. By 7:00
PM were were tired, rashy, and overall ready to leave.
Bart thought he might head west more and stay in
Westby; turns out that there wasn't any room in the inn...well...6
of them! They didn't get back home until 5:00 AM!!
Meanwhile I made a mad dash for Paradise Springs.
By the time I got there it was already 8:30 or so...the sun was
rapidly setting...and well lets just say I didn't have ANY better
luck at Paradise Springs. 0/0. CRAP. That's 3 days in a row SUNKED!