Not Quite What I Wanted

It’s not quite what I wanted, but at least it’s a fish.

The desire to fish the Fox River in the early months of the year disappeared a few years ago.

Now I wait till the conditions are right to fish the creeks that feed the Fox.

A few years ago, by mid March, conditions were perfect with an unusually warm March and the fish cooperated accordingly.

Not so lucky the last couple of years.

Got out today to do some creek hopping. Chose to hold off on baptizing the new waders yet, conditions aren’t right to be combing long stretches of creek. The weather has been a little colder than normal, so I opted to hit a few key spots from shore.

Wound up hitting three spots on two creeks. Both creeks are crystal clear and perfect depth.

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I think that’s a creek chub that I caught, but there’s something out of the ordinary about it, so I may be forced to look it up, some day.

This was nine miles up a creek. I didn’t expect to see anything moving in the water this early and this far up from the river, but minnows were in a few of the deeper pools and the gut on what I caught shows that it’s feeding on them. Plus, it hit the usual small twister tail I use, so that’s a good give away.

The next creek was more of the same. Clear, but only here there were no signs of life in the water. Walking the shore was made easier by the lack of growth. Normally the grass in this stretch is well over waist high and will be in a few weeks. At least now I could see all the ruts in the ground instead of taking a back breaking, bone jarring hike.

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Where the two creeks come together there were more minnows in the slightly deeper pools. With a warmup coming this week, next week may be a good time to baptize the waders and take this all a little more seriously.

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It was nice to see that after nearly 5 months of no fishing, I haven’t lost my casting touch. Forty to fifty foot casts were made with little effort. This called into question whether or not I will bother using a fly rod this spring. Over the winter I looked at a lot of other blogs and all the pictures they put up. The bulk of them are all fly fishing centric. I came to understand why so many fly fish. There was virtually nothing along the shores except rock or grasses. Trees were almost always far back from the shore. There was nothing hanging out over the water.

This is a far cry from the creeks I fish. Trees and high brush line the shores. The arching trees create a cathedral effect over the water with some nearly touching the surface of the water. Today I was standing in and under canopies of leafless trees on the shore. I had just enough room to flick the lure out over the water. The light gear and light lures I use are no different than a 5-6 weight fly rod and clousers. There was simply no way I could have done the same thing with a fly rod. Moving out into the water is not always a better option. Still no room for back casts and going too far over head is a recipe for disaster.

The efficiency expert in me won’t allow me to waste time and expend energy to make a simple cast for the sole purpose of catching a fish. In my eyes, they’re all just tools and the tool lends nothing to the experience of being out, enjoying the surroundings, fishing small water and catching fish. If you have nothing between your ears that will allow you to enjoy the experience of fishing and all that it entails, using an inefficient and clumsy tool isn’t going to fix that for you.

I think I just made a decision about how much I’ll be fly fishing this spring.

Well, anyway..

I’m enjoying taking these shots of light on shallow running water. I may have to play around with this some more. Maybe try a movie, add the sound of water over rock.

If I can find that damn feature in the camera menu somewhere.

6 thoughts on “Not Quite What I Wanted

  1. bob

    the fly ain’t for hangy uppy places. more for close to the creek mouths, or out in the river. catch a few as usual and as the water warms and the fish head towards the main river, then at least give a few producto flip cast with the fly rod. dammit.

    1. Ken G Post author

      The efficiency expert is having a tough time justifying it all Bob. There are a few places it can work, the new Blackberry stretch comes to mind. But today I was very aware of my surroundings and happy with my casts in such tight quarters. I tend to fish more tight quarters than not.

  2. Justin Carf

    It’s all about how you feel and the conditions. I primarily fly fish, but I’ll use whatever the situation calls for. I have a special small creek fly rod that I use on Poplar with success. It’s a 6’6″ 3 wt. It’s perfect for there, but I have fished other small creeks that just allow a fly rod, and I know better than to waste my time, so, I’ll bring the UL spinning rod.

    Looks like you had a great time out on the water. At first glace, I thought creek chub, but after you had mentioned there was something about it, I took a second look, and agree with your suspicions. I just looked at an old picture of mine for comparison, and the one you caught looks to have bigger scales. Could be the picture, but they definitely look significantly different.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I did a quick look Justin and it is a creek chub. There are a few different types apparently and this is a female version of one. When nothing else is biting they are fun to catch, aggressive as hell. I never scale down for them, so they hit the usual 3 inch twisters I use.

      I’ll probably get out the fly rod in a few places on the creeks, but I can’t stand being limited and I know I’ll suddenly find myself in a situation that will just frustrate me. I have a 7 foot 3 wt. in my collection, but I have a feeling I’ll either go with the 9 ft. 5 wt. or the door modified 7 ft. 11 in. (it was an 8/6 – 5/6 wt.). Now I think it’s an 7/8 wt., but still casts pretty nice.

  3. Richard Velders

    Like Bob says, creek termination &river. I do mostly roll cast as so few open spots. You’ve got me back to mostly spinning on bushy waters. Big thrill tho, catching a big smallie on a Crawdad fly.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I think I’m just going to have to be selective and maybe plan outings Dick. Not something I’m used to. There are parts of all the creeks where I can put a fly rod to use, but I’ll have to refrain from venturing into those bushy areas. Bob keeps talking tenkara rods, but I already use my spinning gear like that in the real tight spots, so I don’t see the point.

      Not sure what to do about the river itself. I guess I’m set in my ways.

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