Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bucket List

 When Mark asked me if I wanted to canoe the Kickapoo with him on Thursday I was definitely stoked.  It was like being a kid in Minnesota during the late 80's and having Kirby Puckett call you up asking if you wanted to meet up and play some ball.

While I really wanted to go I couldn't give Mark an answer right away.  I have taken quite a bit of time off work this summer already and I had to figure out who was going to watch Foxy during my absence.

After a few busy days of work I decided that I only live once and I think Foxy kind of likes it at the dog sitter ladies house.
I arrived at Mark's house around 7am Thursday morning.  From there we headed to Drifty's Complete Canoe Rental in Cashton Wisconsin.  While I was unloading my gear from Mark's car I was disapointed to  discover that rod case that I thought had contained my 7 weight fly rod actually contained my 5 weight fly rod which meant that my 7 weight was still in my car back at Mark's house.  Over the summer I have progressed to using heavier flies which I can cast easily with my 7 weight but not so much with my 5 weight.

I had really been looking forward to meeting Drifty and felt dejected when I discovered that the guy who helped us wasn't Drifty himself.  He did tell us the story of how his cousin purchased the Canoe Rental Business from Drifty years back.  It wasn't very interesting.  Here he is helping a family get ready for their voyage.  
 About 5 minutes into our journey I was casting one of my heavily weighted streamers with my five weight and I heard a snap.  I looked back and noticed that my rod was broken.  I wasn't really too upset about it though and just figured I would spend the next four hours canoeing the mighty Kickapoo with Mark.  About 15 minutes later we stopped to fish a deep hole and Mark caught a small Brown Trout.  He even let me take a few casts with his spinning rod.  I have always wanted to know what it is like to catch a trout on a spinning rod.
 We  continued downriver taking turns paddling and casting the spinning rod for trout.
 The scenery was marvelous!
 The lush vegetation was very cool to look at.
 There was one spot where I noticed some Native American petroglyphs.  I was only able to make out a few words of it though.  One of them states, "Paul loves Kaylynn".
While I was thrilled to be spending the day with a trout fishing legend I could tell Mark was glad that he had invited me to come along.  He is a big fan of my blog.
 Check out those rocks!
 Around every corner there was another natural spectacle.
 Did I mention that I was fishing with a legend?
 Here is a photo of a Shiner that Mark caught.

  It was a fun day canoeing the Kickapoo even though I broke my rod and failed to catch a fish.  Mark ended up with one trout, a shiner and a chub.
The next morning the we met outside the hotel at 5am.  We headed to a bridge where we knew we had a good chance of hooking into a trophy trout.  The only other fly rods I had with me were two four weights.  I opted to use my 9 foot four weight over my 7 and a half footer.  I was definitely missing good ol' number 7.   When we got down to the water I attempted to cast one of my heavily weighted streamers to a spot Mark had told me to cast to underneath the bridge.  I was having trouble making the cast and Mark suggested that I try using his spinning rod.  I was a little apprehensive at first but when I felt the rod enter my grasp a sensation of power flowed through my body.  I cast out to the spot with little effort and within seconds a trout had taken the worm.  I could tell it was large and the muscles in my arms burned as I struggled to keep it at bay.  It was indeed large and I was glad I had Mark there with his net.  Once netted we brought it to a spot on shore where we could get a few photos of the magnificent beast which measured in at 26.5 inches.

After we finished up at the bridge we made our way to the town of Gays Mills where we planned on trying for some catfish.  Check out this 27 inch Channel Cat that I caught.

I was so happy.

Before long we decided it was time to fish for trout again and we made our way to one of Mark's secret spring creeks.  Sometimes when I am out fishing I see flowers and decide to take pictures of them.  I thought this flower was very pretty but I am not sure what it is called.
 The Brook Trout were all over Mark's worms like flies on shit.  Here is one of the nice Brookies that Mark brought to hand.
 Initially I was having trouble catching fish so I decided to listen to Mark's suggestions and I tied on a Pink Squirrel.  This Pink Squirrel was one I had tied myself on a size four hook with a cone head.  I immediately began catching trout at the same pace as Mark.  I was so proud of my Mega Pink Squirrel.
Here is a close up shot.

 It appeared as though trout large and small wanted a taste of the Mega Pink Squirrel.
 This spot was quite challenging to fish but after several minutes I figured out that if I cast close to the tree and let the squirrel sink to the bottom the Brookies would hit is as I lifted it off the bottom.  Figuring this out made me feel like a fly fishing champion.
That night I stayed at the Westby Rod and Gun Club where the bi-annual gathering known as Trapfest was taking place.  It was fun seeing friends both old and new.  I made plans to fish with Aaron Avestruz the next morning at 5am.  Here is a shot I took of Aaron.  I have named this photograph Aaron in the Mist. 

 While the trout didn't seem to be biting in the early morning mist of Coon Valley I did have some fun taking photographs of the grasshoppers.  They seemed to prefer a certain type of weed for their nighttime roosts.  I'm sure they starting hopping all over the place once the sun came out.

 After failing to catch a trout at Coon Creek we made our way to one of my secret rivers known as West Fork of the Kickapoo.   Within a minute of our arrival Aaron caught a Creek Chub.  After taking a good look at the chub I was really excited to match the hatch so I tied on a Fish Skull Craft Fur Deceiver minnow that I had purchased at Lund's Fly Shop the week before.  It wasn't long before my plan proved successful when I landed this nice Brook Trout.
 Followed by a Brown.
 Followed by another Brown.
 Followed by another Brookie.  I was stoked because catching a trout with a Fish Skull Streamer is something that I have wanted to accomplish since they first hit the market a few years back.
 I caught this beetle in the West Fork.  Since that time I have come to realize that aquatic Beetles are a major source of food for trout during the later months of summer.  I have been in the early stages of research and development for a new beetle pattern that I am inventing.  I haven't quite settled on the name yet but it will probably have something to do with the words Eddie and Beetle.
After complaining to Aaron that I hardly have any photos of myself trout fishing that are not selfies he agreed to take a few photos of me.  Ain't I cute.

 After having lunch at Culver's in Viroqua we traveled to another area creek.  We didn't catch anything but I took this photo of Aaron casting.  I have named the photo Aaron Casting.
 That evening we made our way back to the campground where Trapfest was in full swing.  One of the things I have always wanted to do in my life was to meet a famous person.  Well it was a good thing that Dan Small from Dan Small Outdoors was there because I can finally say that I have met someone famous.  Other than myself that is.  Here is a photo I took of the group.

It's always great when you can check things off your Bucket List.

No comments:

Popular Posts