Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter Trapfest-2017

Ever since the inception of the Wisconsin early inland trout season in 2016 a Trapfest has been held at the Westby Rod and Gun Club on the banks of the Timber Coulee to commemorate the event.
Trapper was the visionary who first came up with the concept and planning of Trapfest and thus the event carries his name to this day.

In the days leading up to the event the forecast for the area wasn't favorable for fishing.

I wasn't too surprised to see that people decided not to come.  I was looking forward to seeing Weiliwen at Winter Trapfest but I couldn't fault him for deciding not to come.
When Brevitz told me that he wasn't going to make it I was upset but this hardened my resolve to make it down to Trapfest.
You can't add logs to the fire of tradition by not showing up.  I was determined not only to show up at Trapfest but to also catch trout once I got there.  Someone was going to have to fish with Skimmer.

I arrived at the Westby Rod and Gun Club around 8:00pm on Friday evening to find DTA diehards: Trapper, William Schlafer, and Skimmer already in attendance.  The Trapfest tradition was alive and well.  Foxy had accompanied me on this trip and it didn't take long for me to get camp set up.  It was good to be in attendance.
 A little while later these four bearded dudes came walking in to the Rod and Gun Club.  At first I thought they were probably lost but then I found out they were the guys from O'pros
O'pros has taken the fly fishing world by storm recently with the introduction of the Dragonfly Rod Holder.  It was awesome to have them in attendance at Trapfest.
I made it out early Saturday morning.  The sun was just starting to peak over the hill.
 It was so cold that my Green Turd Bugger was fully encased in ice after only a few casts.
 Not all ice is bad though.  This ice was pretty and it somewhat made up for the bitter cold I was enduring.
 And the creek flowed.
 It was good to be out.  The Mad Bomber hat really shines in temperatures below 10 degrees.  If it's warmer than 10 degrees out the hat is almost too hot.
 It was cold.
 But still pretty.
 The ice formed around the rocks in the stream.  It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine.
 The sun was getting higher
I was filled with desire
To go back to the Rod and Gun 
and get warm from the fire.
All light not dimmer
It was time to go 
and wake up Skimmer
 I picked up Skimmer at the Rod and Gun 
It was fun 
He said he was hungry, stomach achin'
We traveled in to town for some french toast and bacon

Thinkin of ideas 
Tryin' to make a plan
Where would I catch the trout?
To prove that I'm a man

I didn't have a plan
Where'd I put my mapper
So that's when I turned to my best friend Trapper.

Trapper spoke up and gave us a location
Having a solid plan filled me with elation

I don't claim to be an expert at fly fishing in the extreme cold.  I did know that we'd have our best chances of catching trout between the hours of 11:00am and 3:00pm.  

I'm not gonna lie
Because that's when the sun is high in the sky

When we got to Trapper's spot it was covered all in ice
That's when I decided it was time to roll the dice
Skimmer doubted me and thought it was a fable
I turned to Skimmer and told him, "I am able."

Tip top
We made it to the next spot
I dropped my bugger right in slot
A brook trout turned and said he liked it alot

 Next Cast
Fast Blast
Brown Trout
No Gout
 Foxy spoiling
Getting annoying
Back in the car
You little white dog
 Skimmer on the board
First trout of the year
Look at that smile
Cast a country mile
 Rockin' the world 
with his Pink Squirrel
I keep my rod in a holster
All the ladies screamin' for an Eddie Rivard poster.
 After exhausting the second stretch we made our way to another spot that I was confident would hold fish.  It turned out I was right when I quickly landed two smaller Brown Trout on the Green Turd.  A few more casts without a bite and I decided to change flies.  I have always had good luck when switching to streamers that are yellow and heavy.  I found a streamer in my box that fit the bill.  It was a generic looking yellow Woolly Bugger with Tungsten dumbbell eyes that I had tied in the winter of 2014.  It was tied it on a size 2 B10S.

Well most of my attempts at tying flies will never win a beauty contest I stand behind their ability to attract trophy trout.  I am one of the greatest fly tiers of all time.

I tied the bugger on to my line and yelled to Skimmer, "Watch this!".  Skimmer looked in amazement as I cast the bugger with great skill and concentration to the head of the pool.  He watched attentively while I counted out the seven seconds before started to slowly strip the bugger in.  One strip, two strip, three strip, bam!  Just when I knew it would happen I had a strike.  I could tell by the way the rod was wobbling that I had a good hook set and it was probably a trophy class Brook Trout.  "Brevitz is going to be so jealous!" I thought as I scooped that Brookie into my net.
 She wasn't the 16 incher I've been dreaming about for years but she was really close at 15 and 3/4 inches.  I was so happy.
 Soon after landing my trophy we went back to the rod and gun.  Saturday is kid's day at Winter Trapfest and William Schlafer was giving a fly tying demonstration to the next generation.
 I spent some more time talking to my new friends from O'pros as well as the others in attendance.  It was a good time had by all.
Thanks again Trapper!

Monday, January 2, 2017

My Opener

New Year's Day in Southeastern Minnesota marks the beginning of the stream trout catch and release season.  I had to get out even though I knew I had to be done fishing by 11:20AM if I was going to make it to my rescheduled family Christmas in time for dinner at 1:00PM.  Fishing can be tough on winter mornings but whenever I attempt to accomplish something challenging I always tell myself, "Stranger things have happened".

I was already on my stretch of choice when I saw the sun peaking over the horizon.  It was cold out and I was just being reminded about the leak in the right leg of the waders I had on.  I figured it would be a good time to check the temperature of the water.
 2.6 degrees Centigrade.
  • "This is the most common temperature scale in the world and the simplest to understand.
  • Put simply, 0°C is the freezing point of water and 100°C is the boiling point of water.
  • Centigrade is an old fashioned name for Celsius.
  • You can abbreviate it to °C.
  • The scale is named after Swedish scientist Anders Celsius (1701-1744)."-The Internet
That's 36.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  • "Fahrenheit is still in everyday use in the USA and preferred by older people in the UK.
  • In Fahrenheit the freezing point of water is 32°F and the boiling point is 212°F.
  • You can abbreviate it to °F.
  • The scale is named after its originator Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736)."-The Internet
 I see you admiring my CEN-TECH Infrared Thermometer.  I picked it up at Harbor Freight for five bucks after spending fifty bucks on other stuff.  It was one of those deals where if you spent fifty bucks on other stuff you could get the thermometer for five bucks.  Unlucky for you the deal is no longer going and it is now 26.99 plus tax.  It's nice not having to bend over to take the temperature of the water.
 I read in an article put out by the Minnesota DNR that, "Fish are most active in water temperatures of 38 degrees and above.".  By my calculations I was 1.5 degrees on the side of being S.O.L.

I can't remember if I caught a trout in this spot last summer or not.  I can't remember a lot of things these days.  I wonder when I caught my last trout.

 I was so happy not.  I forced this smile but figured I should take a selfy before putting my camera back in the dry bag.
 I thought it was cool how the rocks seems to be a different color after the little waterfall.  The current was just fast enough after the waterfall to inhibit algae accumulation on the rocks.
 This was the spot where I saw my first two trout of the day.  By now it was getting to be close to 11:00am.  They swam around for a few seconds before hiding from my view.  About fifteen minutes later I actually had a trout follow my streamer for a bit.  It was a small thrill to see that.
It was good to get out for a while on the opener.  I will be fishing again on Friday of this week and am confident that I will catch fish then.  Thank you for reading my latest masterpiece in it's entirety.  You are a true fan.

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