Friday, September 28, 2007

What qualifies as western Wisconsin?

For the purposes of this blog, I am focusing on the following counties, roughly to the south of Interstate 90/94 and to the west of Interstate 39 in Wisconsin. I will focus on the trout streams in the following counties:

  • Buffalo
  • Columbia
  • Crawford
  • Dane
  • Dunn
  • Eau Claire
  • Grant
  • Green
  • Iowa
  • Jackson
  • Juneau
  • LaCrosse
  • Lafayette
  • Monroe
  • Pepin
  • Pierce
  • Richland
  • Rock
  • Sauk
  • St Croix
  • Trempealeu
  • Vernon
One could certainly make the case for other counties to be included or some to be excluded, but these are the parameters that made sense to me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Delorme Map

When I refer to the Delorme Map, I am referencing the Wisconsin Atlas & Gazetteer which features detailed topographic maps with roads, creeks, landmarks, etc. FYI.

Mount Vernon Creek, Dane County, 9/14/07

Page 27 on your Delorme Map.

Brisk 50 degree afternoon and windy. Still beautiful day on Mt. Vernon Creek. I floated modified Dave's Crickets downstream near the far shore and landed a 15" and a 12" brown trout. They fought hard and deep. Didn't take pix of them as I didn't want to stress them any further with time out of the water.

Caught them within 25 yards of the stile pictured in my previous Mount Vernon entry. It is at the first bridge south of the main access area. Saw no other fishermen on this trip. My experience with Mount Vernon Creek is not supporting the conventional wisdom that the creek is always packed with fishermen.

Bushnell Creek, Green County 9/14/07

DeLorme Map, page 27. This creek is listed in the Wisconsin DNR 2007-2008 Trout Fishing Regulations and Guide as a viable trout stream.

I did not find any clearly marked public fishing areas, but I did ask Mr. Alois Mayer for permission to fish his section of the creek off County Road N. He graciously complied and I said I'd clean up all the trash I saw on his property.

Beautiful, swift, cold, clear, classic SW Wisconsin spring creek. Mr. Alois said the best fishing was below the bridge so I took his advice.

The 9" rainbow (returned) pictured took a black crystal bugger with sponge rubber legs. What a surprise it was to catch a rainbow in this creek. Naturally-reproducing rainbows are not at all common in this part of Wisconsin and I have not heard if the state stocks them in this or other connected creeks.

As I was concentrating on fishing beneath the bridge, I heard a loud snort behind me and discovered I had 30 head of cattle right behind me. Being a city boy, it startled me so much I jumped the fence. The cattle muddied up the stream after that as they took drinks. I had a fish story and a cow story, so I was done anyway.

Other access points to Bushnell Creek appeared to be impassible due to a significant amount of road construction just to the north of Mr. Alois property.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mount Vernon Creek, Dane County, 8/31/07

Delorme Map page 27. This creek enjoys wide acclaim from a variety of experts; it's among the finest trout streams in western Wisconsin. Mount Vernon has been described as a "showpiece" for the Wisconsin DNR and it's easy to see why...lots of access, abundant trout, insulation from surrounding farmland. Several access points have "public fishing" clearly posted and there's even a section designated a "state fishery area." Despite some fine streams to the south of it in Green County and to the west in Iowa County, I have to fight the urge to fish Mount Vernon exclusively.

The section I fished on this day was off of Route 92, just north of County Road A. I fished upstream from the bridge for 100 yards or so, traversing the fence via the helpful stiles (see photo). The 14" brownie hit a #10 Dave's Hopper and fought with great tenacity. He didn't spend more than a minute out of the water and then sulked back to his hiding spot.

Mount Vernon, in my experience, is very soggy at the edges. I'd wear knee-high waterproof boots. Waders are impractical as it is difficult navigating the stiles and wading Mount Vernon would be a muddy and counterproductive pursuit.

I encountered no other fishermen on the Mount Vernon that weekend. This after being warned that it would be elbow-to-elbow labor day weekend and all. I found it was also opening weekend for a variety of hunting seasons, which probably helped my cause. If my family can spare me, I may make labor day weekend on the Mount Vernon Creek a tradition. Join me if you like.

Dougherty Creek, Green County 9/1/07

Delorme Map page 27. Another of the creeks recommended by the Green County tourism people. Sadly there is no access to this creek posted and it's hard to figure out who owns the land so you can ask permission. Some beautiful country, though.

Hefty Creek, Green County, 9/1/07

Delorme Wisconsin Atlas and Gazetteer page 27. Interestingly, this is not one of the creeks recommended by the Green County tourism people, but it was pointed out by a fellow angler on another fly fishing Wisconsin blog:

Hefty Creek has a nice access point at the third bridge (all very close to one another) over it heading North on Highway N. In fact it has public fishing clearly posted. It's nice to not have to worry about access. Something that is rare in Green County.

Somewhat clear water and a little higher due to recent flooding. I tried grasshopper and ladybug imitations with no luck.

Ward Creek, Green County 8/31/07

Delorme page 27. This is one of the creeks suggested by the Green County tourism people. There are three potential access points and all are on private property. Off Airport Road, the creek is quite narrow, but was very clear and seems to be in good condition. Didn't seem to be accessible. Off Kubley Road, it was foreboding, with no trespassing signs aplenty.

Fortunately, off Ward Creek Road, which is adjacent to Argue Road, there seems to be friendly access via a bridge. That's where I fished just before dark. It's a swift, clear, classic SW Wisconsin spring-fed brook. I tried ladybug imitations to no avail. Incidentally, Ward Creek is one of only two streams in the county to have brook trout and brookies are the only trout found in Ward Creek, according to an older Wisconsin DNR publication.

The picture I uploaded is of the section off Ward Creek Road.