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1-30-05 - Sean lands the first fish almost instantly; meanwhile Bill stands in the background, undistracted and intent on landing his first of the day.

Centerpin Trout! Yeah, I kicked butt with the pin, drifting small white eggs below the float in the springhouse current.

Another FAT Paradise Rainbow, one of many to fall victim to the centerpin.

Yeah, fat rainbows on the centerpin..even these small trout put up a great fight on the end of a 13' rod.

The Big Boys are still in the pond, although most people never notice them with all the rainbows swimming around.

One of Bill Hall's first trout on his new MP Rod (#36). It's always nice to see a rod broken in!

Jerry casts for trout at McKeawn.

Sean or Jerry first noticed this; a small Chain Pickerel, DOA at the bottom of McKeawn's lower pond.

1-30-05 - The Southern Ice Clave II, part 2?

Waters Fished: Paradise Springs, McKeawn Springs
Fish Caught: numerous (at least 20)
Outing Date: 1-30-05
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temp: 30's
Water Temp: didn't take them.
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout
Pattern Fished: mostly egg patterns
Pattern Color: white was the hottest color
Fishing Quality: EXCELLENT

Winter Trouting is always fun. It's even more fun when you do it with a bunch of guys! What started all of this? Well, first we had a bunch of guys hanging around from the Ice Clave. I also had Bill Hall coming up to pick up his new trout rod. All in all, why not go fish the SE WI Spring Ponds?!

Sean beat us to Paradise and spent most of his time looking for larger trout. Upon our arrival, we all took some quick whacks at the stockers with egg patterns. The first few casts to these undisturbed fish were the best bet at catching them...Sean brought in a rainbow and the group skunk was off.

I had opted to try something different; I was fishing the centerpin today. Floating my flies didn't really make much of a difference in presentation, in fact perhaps it hindered my success at first as the fish seemed to be expecting the flies to "sink slowly" rather than "hang suspended". Deadwater float fishing for these trout wasn't going to cut it. I moved to the springhouse.

Bill and Sean came over while Bob and Jerry continued to work the casting dock. Around this time a couple folks showed up around the springhouse...shortly thereafter we found ourselves amidst the heaviest hard amber durham spinner fall I've ever seen. As the semolinas hit the water, thousands of trout rushed after the easy prey. I grinned, knowing I had just the pattern in my vest.

We all quickly changed over to what would prove to be the deadliest fly of the day - white eggs patterns. They're hardly an exact match for a hard amber Durham, but the rainbows didn't care..the color was right and they were feeding with such reckless abandon that anything white was gonna be just fine...the heavy spinner fall brought out their hatchery instincts as the fish tumbled over one another to grab the next meal that came floating by. The older, wiser and more-educated browns meandered on by, taking the occasional snap at whatever floated by but definitely not interested in the churning insanity of the rainbows.

I definitely got my best float fishing practice of a lifetime during this feeding frenzy. At first I thought my fly was dragging the bottom, causing the float to pause and then continue, usually pointing "downstream". After a couple drifts I started setting the hook and well, every bump or pause in the drift happened to be a fish. Crimped barbs were a must during this madness...I don't know how many I landed, easily 20, hooking a good 50 or 60 more before finally just saying "this is too easy". It was about this time that I also happened to wade in just a bit too far for my hip boots...soaking myself from the crotch down.

I handed the rod to Sean and he got in plenty of time with a centerpin as well. Meanwhile Bill was hooking into fish consistently as well, landing several himself. I shouted down to Bob and Jerry to match the hatch, it was working, and who knew how long the frenzy would last. It was a now-or-never kind of opportunity.

When the activity subsided, we reconvened to find that Bob had to left (he had obligations later in the afternoon down in IL). With all of us skunk free, we decided it was perhaps a good time to check out McKeawn for some brook trout. Bill was kind enough to lend me a pair of sweatpants...otherwise I'd have been pretty chilled by the end of the day (Thanks Bill!).

The footprints in the snow told Sean that since our trip to McKeawn only 9 days before, only one other angler had visited McKeawn. Despite this, we watched as the brookies scattered at every cast...gone was their reckless abandon, replaced with all the skittishness of wild trout in 8" of water. I had definitely had my fill of fish, so I mostly watched as Jerry, Bill and Sean took turns trying to coax a bite or two.

It was clear to see that the brookies had been well educated by our earlier "session" over them...perhaps whatever trout were in the main pond downstream would be easier to get? Well, despite patience and good casts by Jerry, we didn't have any more luck for the day. Around 4:30 PM, we called it quits, no longer all that warm and already plenty satisfied with our outing!

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