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5-23-04 - Rich Brown fishes with the cows...

Stew nailed a nice rainbow in the mud!

These ducks were here last week too...

The May 2004 Iowa Fly School Class; Stew, Mike, Rich (instructor/guide), Patty, Jim, Bruce and Jed.

One of the many scenic stretches on the South Bear...view the enlargement above or check it out in the 3D Viewer (awesome!)

My only trout landed for the day was a true dink wild brown.

Despite poor fishing quality, the South Bear was simply lush and breathtaking!

Mike is workin' the pockets hoping to get lucky...

Jim was taunted with two bites and some rises in his vicinity, but nothing materialized.

MP's Secret Stream...I feel I can post this 'cause it doesn't look ANTHING LIKE it does normally. Water is 2 feet high in this picture.

Notice the tops of the grass in the water...that vegetation is at least 12-18" high. Notice all the vegetation on the near shore...the Secret Stream may be really BAD for a while!

Pompey Pillar Creek upstream from Cty. I bridge. No apparent public access.

A look into the water at Pompey Pillar shows that it is going to clear up relatively quickly, but it's SMALL water!

The cloud formations on the drive home were amazing; this 360 dregree panorama was shot about 15 minutes west of Madision at 7:45 PM. As always you can view an enlargement by clicking the thumbnail above, or you can view the full sized image in the 3D viewer!

5-23-04 - ONE FOR TWO.

Waters Fished: South Bear Creek, MP's Secret Stream, Pompey Pillar Creek
Fish Caught: 1/2
Outing Date: 5-23-04
Weather: Rained all night, cloudy most of the day with patches of sun. Windy in the evening with brief sprinkles.
Air Temp: 50s in the am up to upper 60's most of the day.
Water Temp: Didn't bother
Water Level: HIGH
Water Color: MUD
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Chicago Leech
Pattern Color: Black w/red tail
Fishing Quality: You need to be dedicated to the sport on a day like this...

It rained all night. Nonstop. But by morning things had cleared & Rich gave his presentation on flies while I slept...man they were up again at like 6:00 AM!

Finally time to go fishin' by 7:30 AM....where to go. Based on all my luck scouting, I suggested our best bet would be the South Bear. Looking over the bridge, we could actually see some of the aquatic vegitation...far better than the Waterloo despite being far from ideal itself. South Bear was a GOOD CALL!

In no time, eager to catch fish, we were all on the water. Things were still tough...I tried several locations where I know fish normally hold and received NOTHING for my efforts.

Well it turns out it was a game of patience and methodic canvasing. In fact, 4 people hit the same spot for a total of 7 times before anyone turned a fish in that normally productive tail! Often, like Stew experienced, you'd get a bite, and if you got the same drift again, you'd get a bite again. Repeated presentations once you found a willing biter resulted in a fish finally being landed.

After some time it seemed like no one else was having luck, so we split up. Rich, Bruce and Patty went down to the confluence of North and South Bear. I took the 4 other guys to the forest where team BLT (The Red Hats) had done so well back at the Pet Fly Smackdown.

Initially the 4 guys got set up on the deep pool...I opted to head downstream and fish for a bit by myself. I picked a good spot with deep water and started working the pool...at first I thought it was hopeless.

The answer came when I started swinging the very tail of the pool...a resounding, unmistakeable strike got my attention and I all but landed a nice stocker brown! Darn Barbless hooks!

Next swing, another HIT! SWEET, and this time I thankfully got the little sucker into shore...a small wild South Bear Brown. This would turn out to be my final hookup for the day!

As lunch approached, I went up to find my now scattered companions...Jed had the watch so he'd tell us when it was time to go. I found Mike working the riffles, Jim was back up on the pool. Stew slid into the hole I was working...didn't turn anything however. And Jed was off upstream. So I spent some time taking some pictures, and around 1:30 we finally got back to camp.

At this point most folks ate and took off. We got camp packed up but I wasn't ready to quit fishing just yet. Perhaps MP's Secret Stream would turn out to be the saving grace just like last weekend?

By 3:00 it was a comfortable 68F, but was again RAINING. Got to the secret stream and at first glance it looked pretty high. Not until I got down to the spot did I realize just HOW high....2 feet up from it's normal level, and the vegetation showed damage another 6 feet up on the steep bank. UNREAL...MP's Secret stream had been up EIGHT FEET.

No place to even stand to fish, and the pool was now a rapid in it's own right. This quickly ended my hopes for another good day on the secret stream. To top it off, there's now a tree in the pool...I'm going to have to relearn the stream!

The drive home was much earlier in the day than I expected...stopped at Cabela's to pick up some rod building materials and by the time I was on the road it was still only 4:00 or so.

I ended up deciding to do some scouting around Dodgeville...just to see what I could find. Maybe I'd get lucky and hit a stream that was clear and full of trout?

Well, the first one I went looking for was Cave Hollow Creek - I learned the hard way that there isn't any access. Still looking around this little area, I went looking for Otter Creek, or rather what I thought was Otter Creek according to the map. In any case, I didn't find the creek I was looking for...turns out Otter isn't going to be that hard to find the next time I go looking.

I DID however find Pompey Pillar Creek. It was relatively clear (although still muddy) and had been up a good few feet, but in theory would've been fishable. The problem? No public access...one side is clearly someone's LAWN while the other is clearly posted. According to the WDNR Trout Streams Book there is in fact public access, bu tI didn't find any. Looks like normally this would be a tiny trout stream anyway.

So I wasted way too much time looking and finding nothing...by the time I was driving back a dark front was moving through...almost ran over a snapping turtle that was crossing the road on the ridge....stopped to take some pictures and move her to safety. The drive back was actually rather enjoyable, all things considered, as the most amazing formation of clouds was all around. Even had to stop to take a 360 panoramic of it, that's how interesting I thought it was.

Therefore, this is going down as a pretty lame day for fishin, having gone only 1/2, but hey, I still had fun!

  MP 

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