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6-21-03 - Bluff Creek, upstream from Willis Road.
Looking over the bridge I found the deeper water, and the fish. Most all were suckers.
Salmo Pond. Supposed to have brown trout in it but really I'm thinkin it's more of a warmwater fishery.
First look at Black Earth Creek at the top of the artificials-only zone.
The only big trout I spotted was a huge brown....dead I might add.
At least if you looked past the stinging nettles, skittish trout, and overall poor conditions, you might find some enjoyment in the day.
Bart landing the first (and only) trout to come from Black Earth Creek. Yes, that tiny white thing below his hand is his trout. Notice the line of dead vegetation at the water's edge; I suspect BEC is well over 1 foot lower than it's normal flow.
Black Earth Creek immediately downstream of the town of Black Earth.
Ok, look at this picture...this area contains all aquatic vegetation, and it's ALL exposed completely. BEC has to be low.
OK, so this is a vertical panorama spliced from two shots...rather hurriedly. But a great shot of Mt. Vernon Creek.
A respectable brown and once again Bart has landed the first (and only) trout to come from Mt. Vernon Creek today.

6-21-03 - Checking out the closer WI Trout Streams...no dice!

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
Weather: Sunny
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 (Paradise Springs)
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 from there.

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 be better.

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 CS!

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!

  MP 

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