Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Borah Creek, Grant County 03/01/08

Page 25 on your DeLorme Map. This is from the very nice DNR access point off of Bluff Road. A picturesque spot with the bluff shielding the cattle and I from a chilly crosswind.

It is such a pleasure to find a DNR access point with no ambiguity to it and a sturdy stile to traverse (see photos). Borah Creek is one of many streams chronicled in Humphrey & Shogren's Trout Streams of Minnesota & Wisconsin. They were more successful on this stretch than I, by the way. They are published professionals. I am a rank amateur.

A spring creek, Borah, and as such was clear of ice, albeit very cold. Like Castle Rock, it was gin-clear. Its trout were plentiful, but spooky. Conditions like this call for fishing perpendicular to the creek, without casting much of a shadow, kneeling a good 5-10' back to avoid being seen. Still, the bluff blocked much of the icy breeze and in the sunshine it was more than tolerable. This section of Borah is quite shallow, non-channeled and will likely be wadeable.

I fished this spot for a lonely two hours with nothing but a large and loud herd of cattle that obviously were late for their milking and weren't afraid to let anyone know about it. In all that time, just two cars passed, locals likely. No fish, despite plying them with orange scuds, prince nymphs and hare's body soft hackles. An unscientific study of stream report websites from opening day seems to reveal that orange scuds were the right call, though not for me. As my dad says, "it's a poor mechanic who blames his tools."

I found it odd that on both Castle Rock and Borah, both well-known creeks, I encountered no other fishermen that day--especially on Castle Rock. Too cold maybe?

Oh, and my date stamp is messed up on my camera. It should read 3/1/08

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Castle Rock Creek, Grant County 03/01/08

Pages 25 and 33 on your DeLorme Map. Heading northeast from Fennimore on County Road Q. Castle Rock is also known as the Fennimore Fork.

Castle Rock is a spring creek, which came in handy today. Many of the trout streams I passed on the way to Grant County today were frozen over. Hard to find much fishable water today in the creeks whose springs are less vigorous than Castle Rock. Even vaunted Castle Rock was not entirely free of ice for its duration. In fact, the first truly fishable section was not until you hit Church Road. But it was worth the wait. Castle Rock is a beautiful example of a Wisconsin spring creek; clear, fast water with a somewhat soft bottom and quite a few limestone boulders along the sides, giving it a defined channel.

The photos are from the Church Road section. There is excellent bridge access and no problems with permissions, thanks to the DNR postings on the Northwest side of the creek. The Southeast side of the creek appears to be owned by a game preserve, so I didn't head over there.

Conditions were quite cold without the bright sunshine. In the wind it was downright bitter. This was a snowmobile suit and gloves day, both of which helped immensely because one has to crawl on one's hands and knees to avoid spooking the fish. Castle Rock was crystal clear (see photo) today and the fish were ultra-spooky. I saw six or seven fish of less than 12". No strikes and no fish landed. Still, it was great to get out.

Opening Day 2008

Up at 4:30 for the trip to Grant County. I have the road to myself in the before-sunset peace. Fernando Ortega's Shadow of Your Wings on the CD player. "Grace and peace to you," he sings. Exactly my sentiment after a brutal week at work and the long snowy offseason.

The sunrise tells of the upcoming cloudy day. Overcast skies encourage me for my angling prospects. God has more surprises for me on the way. Two bald eagles, four cock pheasants, several red-tailed hawks and a troop of deer.

Sometimes it's just great to get out there.

Oh, and my date stamp is messed up on my camera. It should read 3/1/08