Friday, May 11, 2012

May 10th

Got out a little bit before work yesterday.  Was a nice day to be out.. Temp was in the mid 60s with slight gusts here and there.  Panfish were still as active as ever.. Was able to take a couple on foam bugs when the wind wasn't blowing.  But a majority of them were taken on a bugger.  When the wind calmed down the panfish would move back in shallower... Once the wind picked up.. Slowing down the retrieve seemed to keep them on my line.  I caught numerous gills and pumpkinseeds in the 2 hours I spent fishing yesterday... Plently in the 8-9" range..  With the river high and muddy the lake has been my only option for a quick gratification.  Hopefully in a week or so I'll be able to head back to the river for some more serious fishing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Foam Panfish Bug

So I was cruising through the craft section of the hell that we all know as Walmart.. And I came across these X-acto Edgers... 4 for $5.. Figured they would make some nice outlines for foam panfish bodies.. and Was I ever right.. No more neurotic clipping here and there to try and get a symmetrical design..

Here is a pictorial Step-By-Step as I find it hard to put my actions into words sometimes.. And well this is a pretty self explanatory pattern...

Hook:  Eagle Claw #8 Aberdeen Hook
Thread: 210 Denier, Any color.. I use black
Legs: Round Medium Rubber Legs
Foam: 2mm Craft Foam(Lifetime supply for $5 at Wally World)
Body: Chenille, Small 
Misc: X-Acto Scrapbook Edgers

With darker bodied bugs I like to add a hi-vis post to see them easier on the water.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pantastic Part II

Woke up this morning to quite the storm rolling through.. Waited it out and then headed to FleetFarm to pick up some size 8 Aberdeen hooks to tie up some more foam panfish flies.. Today's tie of choice was foam spiders..

Got down to the local lake with my 2wt in hand around 11am.. Temp was somewhere in the low-mid 60's... Not much wind and pretty overcast still from the storm system in the area.. But the sun was peaking out here and there.  Decided to check another spot on the lake today as I knew where they definitely were already from yesterday's outing.  Well needless to say.  The panfish are everywhere.. The one difference.. Size.  They were definitely bigger overall yesterday.  Lot more dinky guys today.  Which was kind of a surprise.. Since I'm use to catching pretty big panfish on this shore as well.  Bass were moving in too to start spawn and were making things rather annoying.  And then there were the carp cruising also... They definitely were not feeding.. Just dispersing the bluegills every time they all came through...

It was a nice day.. Caught plenty of bluegills and dinky bass.  Switched things up from the spider back to a black mini-bugger and back to the spider when the sun would come back out.. Seemed they were more willing to take the spider when the sun was beating down.. And when it was overcast.. They much preferred the bugger.  Even the spider trailed with a nymph took a couple bluegills.  Ended up forgetting the bucket. So I didn't take home any to fry up today.. But I'm sure I'll have no problem getting a meal in the days and weeks to come.


Woke up this morning and had a hunch the panfish would be moving in with this warm weather we're having... So I headed down to the local lake to see what's up... Fished for about 5 hours and couldn't keep the panfish off the fly!   I was right.. They moved in with no hesitation.. Were found anywhere from 1-4' of water along the weed beds.. Full of spawn and getting ready to move in and bed down.. So they are crazy aggressive.. Took them on buggers and on poppers.. The day was full of action and I imagine I would've been able to take my limit easily 3 times over..(which would be 60 fish).. A ton of bluegill in the 8-9" range.. Good eating size.. And one random black crappie.. I love this time of the year.. Panfish on the fly are a blast and the next couple weeks(weather permitting) should be full of top-notch panfish action..  Think I'll head back down there tomorrow with the bucket!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April 30th

So We'll start this blog with talks about a very heart breaking Sunday evening.. The 29th I decided to head on down to the Ol' Miss to see about getting into some crappie.. Unfortunately that would not be the case.. I get to my spot and as always.. There is another fisherman.. He asks me "What you gonna catch wit dat fly rod?"  "Hopefully some crappie"... 2 casts later and I'm on my first fish of the evening.. It's not a crappie.. It's much bigger than a crappie.. My rod is bent over...  But what could it be?  Within a second of that though rises from the water a massive pike.. Full body lunge from the water.. This pike may have been named Jordan because it got some serious air and I about shit myself.. I get him within about 20' of me and my rod looks like its within that range of snapping in half... Rod is definitely doubled over at this point.. So I let him run... And within seconds everything goes limp.. Clear cuts my 25# fluoro... Shortly after it starts to rain.. And I hold my ground... Even though I forgot my rain jacket.. And soon after it starts raining.. It starts pouring... And that ends my night.. 1 Fish Tale.. 0 Fish..

So today I headed back to the spot.. Holding on to a thread of hope.. I hoped to tie into another large pike.. Unfortunately that was not the case.. Fishing was slow but I took my first smallie of the year!

A little later my phone rings and it's my buddy Ted.. And he wants to head south and do some trout fishing.. Obviously I'm down.

So we head south.. It was supposed to be mid 60s and overcast.. Not 50* and looking like rain.. We decide to hit a gem of a stream.. Not an easy stream.. I'd say my batting average on this stream is somewhere around .200.. This year it was .000 as I have struck out both the times i've headed out there..

It had rained the night before but this stream was still gin clear and we knew it could go either way... First couple holes are a bust.. There's trout.. But they are not biting.. They aren't even spooking.. Running around our feet and being able to walk right over the holes without seeing a ton of trout scatter.. They know what's up.. And know there's nothing we can do about it as they sit there all smug.. Taunting us

The next hole.. Well well.. This is a dandy.. It's a great little hole.. Well.. It has been.. I've pulled a 14" brown out of this plunge.. Pretty big trout for a very small stream.. Was hoping we could tie into one here again.. First we have to over come the obstacles.. There's maybe a 2ft window to cast into.. Tree over hanging the hole with vines coming down on both sides.. And Tons of brush to the sides and behind us.. Nothing easy about it.. But hoping the reward would be worth it.. So I step up and make a cast or two and snag... Ted's turn.. couple casts and snag.. I go back in while he's retying.. Snag.. Ted steps back up.. Snag.. We probably spent at least an hour on this hole.. With trout rising 20' in front of us. We were very stubborn and not willing to give up defeat.. We probably lost about a dozen flies between us on this hole... Ted was able to pull two dinks.. And then we conceded and blew the hole to retrieve our lost flies...

Couple holes later I finally got my redemption.. Tied on a #18 Griffith's Gnat and It was game on.. 2nd cast.. Land my first trout... a couple casts later another.. And then another.. Ted too took one from this hole as well I believed.. And we headed further up stream


Ted took another small trout to hand further up stream but that was about it and we called it a day on the stream.. 

We decided maybe we should hit the Root for a little while.. But not much was going on.. Ted saw a couple fish rise... But that was about it.. As we were heading back to shore we saw a ton of shorthead redhorse cruising and rising.. So we gave them a shot.. unfortunately we could not tie into any of them.. But it sure was entertaining.. Two guys about 7' from each other trying to cast to the next riser before the other could.. "Battle Fly Fishing" I think is what Ted coined it...  

It was nice to see the redhorse schooled up and really gave me the itch.. Now I know what I'll be searching for the next couple weeks as it warms up!

Friday, April 27, 2012

SBS: Mini-Bugger

This has been a pretty effective pattern for me over the years.. Dead drifted as the lead fly.. You cannot go wrong.

Hook:  #12 Nymph
Head: Bead Head in matching size
Weight: .015 Lead 6-8 wraps
Tail:  Marabou, 3-4 stands Krystal Flash
Body: Black Ice Dub
Hackle: Whiting Hen Hackle, Grizzly

Step 1:  Add bead and Give 6-8 wraps of lead or until shank is 1/2 wrapped in lead.

Step 2:  Lay down a layer of thread to secure in the lead and lay down a coat of super glue/head cement
Step 3:  Tie in marabou and krystal flash

Step 4:  Make dubbing loop and tie thread forward and tie in soft hackle

Step 5:  Sparsely fill dubbing loop with black ice dub and twist tightly

  Step 6:  Wrap dubbing brush forward and tie in behind head

Step 7:  Wrap hackle forward and  stroking back feathers and wrapping thread to secure hackle.  Whip finish and secure with super glue.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 17th

Yesterday my buddy Ted called me up to see if I wanted to do some trout fishing.. Pfft.. What kind of question is that.. Of course!  So we headed north to the Whitewater area to do some trout fishing and hopefully catch some trout..

It was a great day.. Temps were in the low 50s when we headed out and peaked in the low 60s as the day progressed.. At first things were frustrating.. Trying to find a pattern that was gonna work.. The past couple days it's been easy.. Fish rising to Caddis.. Tie on a EHC and you were money.. Today it just seemed that it wasn't working out for me.. BWOs were popping and there were a few risers.. But I started out with a nymph tandem.. No dice.. Ted stepped up with a EHC and took one or two.. I switched up to a BWO dry as few of them were coming off and nothing.. Switched to an EHC and nothing.. Just was not going my way.. Perfect casts.. Perfect drifts.. Nothing.. Tie on a bugger.. Nothing.. Ted on the other hand was catching them here and there on nymphs.. mainly copper johns of the red variety..

As we headed up stream and the day progressed.. The caddis were coming off a little more and we both switched back to EHCs and that was where it was at the rest of the day.. Each taking our turn to step up and land a fish.. First Ted.. Then myself.. and back and forth we'd go catching one and letting the other step up to the plate to land another.. Finally things were working out for me..

As the day got later the caddis dropped off in normal fashion of the past week.. Seems like the hatches have been starting around noon-ish to 1pm.. and dropping off by ~3pm.. Overall it was a great day as always... Any day catching fish is a good day..

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review Time! Sawyer 3-way Inline Water Filter

A couple months back I decided I would finally purchase myself a water filter system for those days that I forget water.. Or I decide to go camping where fresh water is not an option.. As in backpacking into some of the 1,000,000+ acres of state forest land that is found here in southeastern Minnesota..

After looking at many different options... MSR.. .Katadyn... Aquamira... I decided to go with the Sawyer 3-way Inline Water Filter.. I chose it based on reviews I found on-line.. And unlike the different pump systems out there that could(and have from reviews) break down.. I went with what seemed simple enough... Connect to hydration pack and sip.. I also liked the idea that this water filter could be used in many different ways.. From a simple straw system where you connect the tubes and dip directly into the water source and sip.. Or gravity system where you can fill up your hydration bladder with water.. and allow it to drip down into another container.. ie: water jug/dish tub/nalgene.. Or it can even be connected to a water faucet if you are in an area where you should not drink tap water..

The filter is good and guaranteed for up to 1,000,000 gallons.. How you would keep track of that is beyond me.. But I imagine it's guaranteed for life by that statement.  It is equipped with a 0.1 micron absolute hollow fiber membrane filter.. Protects you from 99.99999% bacteria and 99.99999% protozoa and cysts... The filter weights in at a whole 3oz.. So it's definitely light enough for the hardcore backpacker..

So Saturday I finally got to test it out as I had forgotten to fill my hydration bladder before heading to the stream to do some fishing.. So I unhooked my platypus and dipped it in the nice cold stream and filled it up and my thirst was instantly quenched... First thing I was impressed with was how easy it was to draw water from my pack with the filter on.. Could barely tell that it was even hooked onto my hydration pack.. The second thing I noticed was how clean tasting the water was.. Even fresh well water has that metallic/earthy taste to it.. This water tasted as filtered and fresh as possible without the nasty chemical/chlorine taste that is added to municipal water sources.. Or from chlorine/iodine tabs.. Even with nymphs and all swimming around in the bag.. It tasted great! And 3 days later.. I'm not sick!  So it obviously does it's job..

I would recommend this to anyone looking into a hydration system as it's simple to use and on the cheaper end at only $50-60.. No maintenance besides maybe having to backwash it as it get's used more or is used in very dirty water.. And the chance of this thing actually "breaking down" seems slim

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Just because it's called "smart"water.. Doesn't mean it can fix stupidity and ignorance...

Bonus Round!

Once I had gotten home, cleaned and grilled up my trout.. I was still yearning to get out and do some more fishing.. So I geared back up and headed down to the backwaters to do a little fishing and see what I could find...

To my surprise.. Wasn't a single fisherman at this spot.. Normally there is a minimum of 4 cars lined up.. With up to 8+ lined up down the road.. Maybe they were all streamside!  I tie on a simple white bugger.. Nothing fancy.. I attach 25# Vicious Elite Fluorocarbon to the end of my furled leader as pike love slamming all sorts of flies out here and better to be safe than sorry...  Within a couple casts I tie into my first fish.. It's something decent...  He starts jerking line out from my hand.. It's a biggger guy.. And takes off.. My reel clicking away as the fish runs and takes me to my reel.. Ok.. It's pretty big.. Or at least for my 5wt as it bends.. Almost doubling over.. I get a little edge on him and finally see.. It's a big pike.. He quickly jets back off and takes me for another short run.. Finally after about 10-15min of fighting I grab him behind the head and remove the bugger from his big toothy jaws.. 30" pike.. Biggest on the fly this year.. If not my biggest pike on the fly ever...

I continued fishing until I basically couldn't see where my fly was landing.. I caught a pair of crappies and that's all she wrote.. That pike sure was a blast though!

Trout Opener 2012!

Yes.. Today April the 14th was Trout Opener in Southeastern Minnesota.. I originally had taken off the weekend to dig up and turn the dirt on our expanding garden plot.. But with heavy rains last night.. Turning up dirt was gonna be no easy task.. Knowing my day was now open I thought where I would fish as the day was looking promising.. As the morning progressed I realized it was Trout Opener.. I am not one to always make it out.. And the times I do plan on doing so.. The weather is never favorable.. Or I get sick.. Like last year...

So I decided I'll head to one stretch and if it's filled with cars.. I would not play this game of "find a place to fish in peace on opener".. I pull up to the stream around 12:30-1pm.. There is a vehilce.. Someone is sleeping inside of it.. Good sign?   I look downstream from the bridge and I see one guy making his way back.. So I figured I best get geared up and moving before more cars arrive.. Without hesitation I get my waders and boots on.. Rod all lined up and tie on a Elk Hair Caddis as it was the fly of choice the other day.. And today was very similar.. So I was expecting similar results...

I hoof it downstream and start where I had begin the other day.. A couple casts in and I land my first trout of the day.. A dinky little 4-5" brown... Not too much going on for rises.. Here and there but nothing like the day before.. I'm catching one here and there.. Watching plenty come up and look but do not take.. I switch up here and there to find a color more favorable and finally figure out it was a size issue.. And from there on my catch rate increases...

Overall it was a good day.. Caught plenty of fish and easily took my limit... Finally I got to do what I had been waiting since last September to do.. Catch and Eat!  MmmmMmmm grilled trout.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back To The Stream..

So it's been awhile since I've posted.. Not much going on.. Mediocre bass... Small perch.... Small pike.. Crappy weather and sore elbow keeping me sidelined for most of the days this past week... And the upcoming week is looking pretty grim.. Possibilities of snow???  Jesus.. This state's weather drives me nuts some times..

I decided I better get out and do some fishing.. Any fishing today.. Before the inevitable comes along.. Rain... And crappy weather.. The rain is definitely needed as the stream I was at was very very low.. But this highs in the low 40s and low 20s at night should be long gone.. At least with how untypical the weather has been so far this year..

It's been awhile since I've been stream side with all the great warm water action.. So I decided I would hit up one of my favorite streams.. One that I knew would have me on at least a couple trout... And with my elbow being sore.. I figured I best leave the 9wt along for a little bit and go with something lighter.. Got stream side.. It was sunny.. Slight breeze.. Absolutely perfect day for some fishing.. It was so nice.. I didn't need nothing more than a T-shirt for a top... Left the hoodie in the car.. Rigged up and walked down stream...

As I was walking I realized I was going to have to retie immediately as a caddis hatch was brewing up.. Get to my first hole and trout rising everywhere.. I tie on a tan CDC EHC.. And within my first 3 casts had my first fish.... A couple more casts and brown brown brown... I move up a little bit and see a bunch of trout rising around this downed tree.. I keep casting to them.. Pulling one at a time.. The bigger of them sitting right up underneath the backside of the branch.. Casting and casting to him.. Each attempt a miss at him and a hook up with another.. I was determined to get this fish.... About 20 casts and a dozen trout later.. I finally land him.. Persistence pays off!  After about an hour.. I decide it's time to leave my first hole..

I continue up stream pounding browns left and right as they rise to the swam of caddis along the streams edge and around downed trees... I keep catching browns on a regular basis.. most in the 10-12" range.. all very healthy and putting up a great fight with my 4wt St. Croix Imperial... I jump a bunch of water and head to my final stretch as I have to head back within 45min because of work.. The fish are going absolutely crazy through the stretch and landing more trout than I can count easily.. Elbow is getting sore and I'm wasting more time drying my fly after each trout than I am catching them it seems.. Alarm on my phone goes of... Snooze... 9min later.. Snooze.. I can catch a couple more.. Then.. Damn.. I gotta head to work...

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Thursday, April 5, 2012


Was out rock hounding today because the fishing was unimpressive... Was hoping to maybe find some redhorse starting to pile up in a local stream.. But ended up rock picking instead as they were no where to be found.. And instead came across this...

Revisiting Old Hometowns

So over the past week or so the fishing has been so so.. Temps jumping up and down and water levels dropping... Fishing has been hit and miss.. Not skunks.. But definitely nothing worth writing about.. Mostly a bunch of 8-12" Largemouth Bass.. And small pike.. A bluegill here and there... But Monday I decided I needed a change from the normal waters I've been pounding for what is almost a good month now... So I headed north to the Wabasha area to hit up water that I use to fish on a daily basis when I lived up there...

It was supposed to be a good day.. Temps in the low 70s.. Not much for wind.. Gusty.. But very fishable.. First cast of the day landed me my biggest fish of the day.. And biggest bass of the year so far.. It was all down hill from there... Next cast had me tied into something that had my 9wt doubled over.. And being too anxious to get a glimpse of what it was.. I had pulled the fly from his mouth.. Overall it was a good day.. Took a handful of bass.. and a small pike... Was at least able to add a couple fish to my Species List for the HSO Fly Fishing Challenge.. One of them which was more than a worthy add to the list!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


So yesterday I decided I would head out on some backwaters before any sort of rain for the day came to be.. It was very windy.. winds were probably in the 10-20mph range.. But that did not deter me.. Now that I have my Redington Predator 9wt.. This day I came to find out that this rod definitely can handle the high winds...

I got water side around 9:30am.. Wasn't planning on fishing long as my elbow has been giving me some problems.. Probably because I've been fishing daily since last Tuesday.. My apartment definitely shows that there are other priorities at the moment!... I tie on a yellow, orange and black clouser and within a couple casts I have my first pike of the day.. Nothing spectacular.. Maybe 14".. But that was enough to let me know they were on the prowl.. It started out slow after that.. Short strikes and missed hits...

As the morning went on it became a more productive day.. The pike were definitely warming up to the clouser I had tied.. As I had landed about 3 more pike in the 18-20" range and one monster bluegill that measured roughly the size of a silver dollar!..

I bomb a cast out there.. And BAM! My rod almost doubles over and I'm in for a fight.. Or so I thought.. Next thing I know he zips towards me and into a snag that I could not see.. And I was left to just pull on the rod until either my line snapped or his teeth cut the line.. POP! Disappointing.. But not discouraging.. I kept casting and landed a few more pike before the rain rolled in.. Good morning if you ask me.. And well it's looking like a good morning right now.. So I suppose I should hit some water yet again.. So until next time!

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Full Circle

It's funny how things can come full circle... About 10 years ago or so I woke up one morning.. Looked out my window and saw the backdoor of my car open.. I ran downstairs and it was all gone.. My rods.. My tackle.. And my disc golf bag that had roughly a dozen discs in it.. a couple hundred dollars worth of shit... Gone... I still had a rod left.. An old Shakespeare Ultralight combo that I had snagged when I was still a teenager while fishing the backwaters of the miss... This rod brought me to a whole new level of fishing.. Ultralight fishing... Bass.. pike.. anything.. on a maximum of 6# mono or 10# braid... You got to really feel the full fight of the fish.. unlike with the med-med. heavy bass rods I had flung previous to what I was left with now..

I look back on the day some pathetic piece of shit decided to steal my gear and think.. Had my stuff not been stolen.. I probably would have never actually used the kmart $20 special... And I would have not been forced to enjoy fishing for big fish on small gear... And my love of the UL would have not trancended into what is now fly fishing.. I would have never imagined catching trout/bluegills on a rod with slightly less bend than a limp noodle... Or catching pike and large bass on a 5wt... Now that I think about it.. I hope the kids got good use out of the gear.. Because in the end.. I'm happy with where circumstances left me.. Full Circle...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kickin' Bass...

Man the Largemouth action has been absolutely crazy.. Today they were in full force.. Chasing around schools of minnows in the shallows.. Meat Whistle has still been my go-to fly at the moment... Anything white or silver should land you plenty of bass in the shallows right now!

A Trip To Wisconsin..

So it's Sarah's spring break and she wanted to go on a yarn excursion.. I decided to tag along as she was going to Viroqua.. Which gave me the chance to finally check out The Driftless Angler.. The shop is nice.. From how I've heard it talked up.. I was expecting to see more inventory.. They definitely carry all the essentials any well off vacationer would need to get on a stream and catch some trout though.. And a nice fly selection... I was also able to buy The Heart Of The Driftless DVD...  I would recommend that any fan of the driftless area and trout fishing check out this dvd... Full of amazing footage and useful information... In the end.. I was still able to drop $50+ for what seemed a "small shop" when I walked in...

Before we left Viroqua we decided to stop at the local co-op and see what they had for lunch.. This was a very nice co-op.. Lots of selection.. Even had a buffet bar that you paid by the pound.. We went with an amazing deli sandwich.. Took about 10min to make... Longest sandwich ever made.. But it was made with love.. Because it was delicious!   Leaving Viroqua I thought to myself.. I could live here

Once we were done in Viroqua we headed to the Kickapoo Reserve to do some hiking... The weather outlook on the day was rainy.. But so far the day had stayed dry and sunny.. We brought our rain jackets just in case.. But shortly after we started our hike we decided they were of no use.. The Kickapoo Reserve is a beautiful area of Wisconsin.. Rolling bluffs... Outcrops galore from down cutting of the streams through the limestone, sandstone, and shale.. Beautiful timber... And plenty of nature was out and about.. Lots of Bluejays.. And even saw a ringneck along side the road eating.. Stumbled along a frog.. Deer running through the forest.. We weren't the only ones out enjoying the day...

Part of me had wished I had brought my gear.. But with the rain the area had gotten.. I figured that the streams would be up and mudded.. Unfortunately that was not the case for the smaller streams in the area.. The Kickapoo was muddy though...  The guy at the reserve lodge was more than happy to point me in directions on where to fish.. But alas.. No rod..

After the Kickapoo Reserve we headed north towards Tomah so Sarah could check out another yarn shop... Dug in the back roads on the outskirts of Tomah.. It was a nice little place.. But was really surprised to see such a small localized shop not carry local yarn... Shortly there after we headed home.. What a wonderful day it was.. Was supposed to rain.. Stayed sunny all day long.. Nice and warm... Like a perfect spring day.. And it's still technically winter!  All I can say is keep bringing on this great weather for more days like today!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fire Bunny

Took a new pattern to the water today.. My Fire Bunny.. Bunny strips lain out in fire tiger fashion...  Caught me my first pike of the year.. Was fun on the 5wt.. Though my wrist and elbow are really feeling the effects of wrestling all this fluff with a it...