Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Winter Adventure

I had been thinking about how much fun it would be to hike into a remote Driftless Area canyon to do some fishing and camping.  The weather looked favorable so I packed some gear and put my plan into action.  I had never been to this section of river before and I was excited to see what it was like.   Judging by the tracks in the snow I wasn't the first one to explore this canyon recently.

This is what I looked like that day.  
I followed in the footsteps of someone else. 
I could see the river down below.  The hike down the hill was very steep and I decided that next time I visit this place I will try to find a route that is easier to navigate. 

I set my pack down and admired my surroundings.  It felt good to be alone in the canyon. 

I left my pack behind and walked downstream for a ways.  So much water that was new to me.  I didn't see any fish and wondered if the snow melt was driving the stream temperature down and making the fish lethargic.  

Such a pretty Driftless scene. 

I picked apart a deep bend with my woolly bugger and on about the twelfth cast this guy came charging out of the depths.  It felt good to be on the board with such a nice specimen.  

There was a lot more river left to explore. 

This was a pretty slow and somewhat deep stretch of water.  I was getting some follows from small browns but they were not committing.

This little guy committed though.  It was nice to know that I don't suck at streamer fishing.  Sometimes you just really have to believe in yourself and eventually the trout will see that and reward your persistence with a strike. 
It was so quiet in the canyon.
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. 
I thought that sooner or later I should find a place to set up camp but there was still some daylight left. 
Another slow section.
A little current.
On the south side of the river there was way more snow than on the north side of the river.
I set my tent up on the north side of the river and got a fire going.  I then went about making sure I would have enough wood to get me through the long night. 

The logs were stacked up by the stove with care in hopes that it would be warm enough for me to sleep naked and bare. 

I boiled some snow on the stove.

It was pretty comfortable in the tent.

It ended up being so warm that I awakened this spider from it's winter slumber.  It felt good to have some company. 

I emerged from my tent a little after 8:00am. 

I was happy to have survived the night. 

I decided to fish a little before breaking camp.  The fish were really liking the size 16 Beadhead Pheasant Tail.

It was a quiet morning in the canyon. 

Another one bites the dust. 

I was so happy. 

I knew I had to go upstream a few miles before I got to a good spot to climb out of the canyon so I spent the rest of the morning walking and fishing. 

So much nice scenery to see for the first time.  I am looking forward to coming back here in the spring. 

I was catching trout at a pretty steady clip all morning.  All on the pheasant tail until I got bored and switched back to the Woolly Bugger. 

The snow was deep at times and the walking wasn't always easy.  I figured these conditions would keep most of the riffraff out of my canyon. 

The distant hillsides were very steep. 
Pretty little guy. 

Every once in a while I would kick up some ducks but they would fly away before I could get a photo. 

This looked like a good spot to fish a streamer.

Oh yeah I love it when my dreams become a reality. 

This was my last view of the stream before I climbed back out of the canyon.  Next time I will probably start here and explore the next stretch.

I found some other tracks and they led me to a well used trail that ascended up and out of the canyon. 

I found a restaurant on the way home that served pizza.  I am not ashamed to admit that I ate the whole thing.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Fishing Buddies

There are friends and there are fishing buddies.  You should choose your friends wisely but you should choose your fishing buddies even wislier.  Taylor is one of those guys that I can bring to my secret spots and trust that he's not going to spill the beans.  I mean maybe he'll bring his girlfriend and a buddy there at some point but he'll eventually tell me how they did. 

Today we visited one of those secret stretches.  The kind of place you visit when you're looking to put a big fish up on The Gram.  The Gram is short for Instagram for all you Boomers out there. 
I will never stop being fascinated with ice shelves.  This ice shelf is a double decker!  I thought they only had those in Europe.  
Boy was I wrong.
I usually throw streamers in big fish country and today was no different.  I did throw on a Pink Squirrel for a bit but I kept on catching little trout.  Ain't nobody got time for little trout.

When I don't have time for little trout I usually start with an Olive Woolly Bugger.  Throw some rubber legs on that bitch and you have yourself a fish catching machine.  When I reviewed my fishing journals from the last 16 years in December I calculated that 37% of all the trout I've ever caught have been on an Olive Bugger.  Usually size 2 but sometimes a size 4.  On top of that 56% of all the trout I've ever caught over 15 inches have been on an Olive Bugger.  

It had been a while since I fished this stretch and I forgot which bends were deep.  I would cast up into a spot for a bit and not catch anything.  Afterwards when I walked through it I noticed it was way too shallow to hold fish.
Taylor and I are pretty good at taking turns leading the way.  I would try to stay out of his back cast when he was fishing and he did a pretty good job staying out of mine. 
We both enjoy having fun with the .5 setting on our Iphone cameras.  It basically turns your Iphones camera into a fisheye lens.

I don't know if anyone's ever taken a photo of me rerigging.

It reminds me of this bronze statue in downtown Sheridan, Wyoming that my brother photographed me by in 2016.

Oh yes!  The point five strikes again!

Well we never got the big one today and I don't think either one of us even cared.  Always nice to go fishing with a good friend.  

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