4-27-05 - The Barnes Creek Mystery
Waters Fished: Barnes Creek???
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 4-27-05
Air Temp: 60's
Water Temp: 52F on the one I took a temp.
Water Level: low
Water Color: crystal clear
Fish Species: N/A
Pattern Fished: N/A
Pattern Color: N/A
Fishing Quality: Poor
OK, so I got my car back...it's running rough but
at least the transmission is working. I had limited time to drive
around before heading to Chicago...what should I do?
Well, after 2+ years of fishing the SE WI tribs
there was one nearby that I'd never bothered to look at - Barnes
Creek. Rest assured, many folks have told me it's not worth the
effort. Stocking reports confirm that as well...any fish this tributary
might see would be strays from other tributaries and from harbor
I went at this the right way but honestly, a GPS
would have helped. As I headed east towards the lake I stopped at
what is technically the north branch of Barnes Creek...it even
looks small on the Delorme map! I wasn't expecting to find anything
significant and my expectations were met - we had a larger drainage
ditch flowing through the yard of the old Lake Como house than what
I found as the "north branch" of Barnes Creek.
After finding my way to the lake shore in a residential
area, I started driving south, looking for signs of an overpass
or bridge. I wasn't let down..I did find a creek flowing into Lake
Michigan. This *should* be Barnes Creek.
I parked on the shoulder and took a look around...this
area was as it had been described - bordered by houses on all sides.
A neighborhood that wouldn't likely be very welcoming to folks walking
on their lawns. In fact, a run down home who's property was posted
"no trespassing" in several spots bordered the best looking
stretch of this dinky stream. Could fish show up here? Sure. Can
you legally fish it? Nope...I'd have to say that Barnes is too
small to be covered under navigable water rights.
As I walked back to my car, I was actually stopped
by a friendly police officer who was interested in what I was out
doing. After explaining my scouting mission, he went on his way
but not before asking me to move my car. Not a problem...the Delorme
showed a 2nd, smaller tributary to the south as well as other stream
crossings on Barnes Creek.
I went off in search of these other crossings on
Barnes Creek but the roads simply didn't match the map. Some gravel,
some roads were missing...this was odd. In fact, I must say I'm
pretty good at reading maps (that are accurate) - just look at Northeast
Iowa! For whatever reason, this area just DID NOT match up with
the Delorme! Perhaps I was on the wrong little creek?
Well, heading south I found a 2nd creek looking
even more private and secluded than the first. Either this was the
2nd stream on the map OR this was Barnes Creek. It didn't matter,
judging from what I could see there was again no way to legally
fish this water anyways.
I started looking for a way out of this tiny shoreline
subdivision when I happened upon a 3rd stream...this one bordered
by a small public beach. Wait a second...there's only 2 streams
on the Delorme Map but I've just found 3?
Well, the third stream held about as much promise
as the first two, and again I wasn't let down. Another dinky, tiny
stream that would not hold fish very long even if a stray or two
happened to make their way up.
That pretty much sums it up. In my opinion, the
last stream in some respects was perhaps the most likely to actually
be the Barnes Creek listed on the Wisconsin DNR Trout Stream Map.
However, even the Delorme Map, which shows 2 streams, isn't accurate
either, especially consider that I'd found 3 streams. According
to both maps, this third stream was too far south to be Barnes
So which one of these drainage ditches is actually
the Lake Michigan Tributary referred to as Barnes Creek by the
DNR? Does it really matter?
I'm content to leave it as a mystery.