Tag Archives: creek fishing

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A Couple of Creek Walks

Went on a couple of creek walks Friday and Saturday. Decided to finally hit the Fox River on Sunday.

I’ll take the creeks.

The fishing in the creeks has been less than spectacular this year, but doing okay is better than doing nothing at all. I still think it’s because we really haven’t had that much rain this spring. Enough to keep things growing, but we’ve had no major high water events on the Fox at all. I think the fish have had no real reason to head up the creeks for their annual spawning run. Why run up a creek if staying in the river is working out just fine.

But, what do I know. I’m no fisheries biologist. I just wander around and observe things, then my brain makes all the connections gathered over the years and draws a conclusion.

The creeks are stunningly beautiful right now. Bright greens of spring, dense under growth, all kinds of flowers and a wide variety of wildlife.

Fishing seems secondary, which it pretty much has become.

My one venture out into the Fox on Sunday resulted in catching one smallie and seeing a gar for the first time ever in this stretch of the river, but not once did I raise my camera to take a picture.

Too wide, too far away, not interesting.

I may have talked myself out of fishing the river much at all this year. The creeks have so much more to offer, at least in terms of sights and sounds.

And if the smallie fishing sucks, so be it. I’ll scale down and play with creek chubs.

The river simply doesn’t provide what I need. The quiet, the closeness, the solitude and the wildlife practically sitting on your shoulder and talking into your ear.

Yup, sounds like I’ve convinced myself.

From Friday’s creek walk:

From Saturday’s creek walk:

From Sunday’s river walk:

I got nuthin’.

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For the Love of Creeks

For the love of creeks and what they do for me.

Was going to launch into what a beautiful day it turned out to be today.

Was going to talk about the beneficial health affects wandering creeks has on me.

Was going to go on about the 100’s of bullfrog tadpoles.

About the sights and sounds and smells, especially of the honeysuckle.

Was going to mention all of the birds seen, especially the hawks.

Was going to go on and on about how far up the creek the gar have gone this year and how the removal of the 175 year old, eight foot tall dam a couple of years ago has been a raging success.

But the hell with all that, here’s a bunch of pictures instead.

For the love of creeks and what they do for me.

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A Hike in the Woods

Going out fishing was really an excuse to get out for a hike in the woods.

There was more skim ice on the bird bath Sunday morning, I think that’s 4 days in a row and one of those froze it solid.

This has done a pretty good job of stopping the smallie migration up the creeks in it’s tracks. Water really cooled down fast. I didn’t expect to catch anything inland on one creek and I didn’t.

Saved the day on another creek and fishing closer to the mouth. Wound up going 7/1 with one of those being the smallies sluggish cousin.

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I would probably be pretty good at Tenkara fishing. As it is I find myself fishing with 10 to 12 feet of line out and swinging my usual small lure into little pockets of water. One of the nice things about fishing like this is that smallies of all sizes tend to hit with the same amount of power. You don’t know till you set the hook with a sharp snap of the rod what size fish you might have on.

Was doing this in a small spot where I recently pulled out a smallie that was a good 16 inches. With my go to rod still in two pieces, I switched to an older rod that I had retired. This one too once had a fast action tip, but the top six inches was sacrificed to a sliding van door years ago. Now it’s a medium action rod and it’s been a good three years since I’ve bothered using it.

Remember, I also only use braided line, no stretch.

So, with 10 to 12 feet of line out I get a hard smallie hit. I set the hook with a sharp snap of the rod and the next thing I see is a smallie about 6 inches long come sailing out of the water, still hooked, and sails over my head, landing in the water behind me, still hooked.

Oops, sorry about that. You hit bigger than you were.

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I went inland on the first creek mainly to see if the big flood plain was filled with flowers like usual. A few more days will have them looking better, but I can’t get there in a few more days. I thought they didn’t look half bad today. Not sure what I’m trying to achieve with the shots in the gallery below, but I’m fascinated by how this flood plain gets covered with these flowers this time of year.

Their presence is fleeting. Barely a two week window of opportunity to see this before the flowers fall off and the plants are eclipsed by the undergrowth.

Came across a lone skunk cabbage plant. I believe it was Mary Anne from Alaska that asked if they smelled like skunk. Since I never bothered finding out all these years, I took off a tip of one of the leaves and inhaled deeply.

Smells like earth, but also has a distinct skunk like smell to it, but without the gagging produced by a hefty whiff of skunk.

Also checked out the one spot where I know morels grow. No morels yet, but all around the same area quite a few other mushrooms were starting to poke their heads out from under the leaf clutter.

Had two more mornings of skim ice and frost since Sunday. Getting a little tired of that. Evenings are supposed to start warming up soon and that’s what will finally get the smallies moving up the creeks.

Guess I’ll have to go Wednesday after work to find out.

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My Last Cast

Before I got to my last cast, the day started out innocuous enough.

Went to a spot two miles inland on a creek to see if the smallies had moved that far. Something was spawning, but hard to tell what.

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I knew the suckers were on their spawning run, the riffles were loaded with them. Yes, the trained eye will see them.

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Other than that, the creek was devoid of life. Frogs singing on the edges, lots of the usual unidentified birds, things turning green, but I can’t recall even seeing a minnow, so I cut things short after an hour and headed for another creek.

My first cast on this creek started where I would eventually make my last cast. The picture at the top of this post shows the spot, more or less. To the right is a plunge pool that drops to around 6 feet. The water moves through here quickly and there is so much oxygen in the water that you can’t see through the water. It’s not all that wide and about 30 to 40 feet long before it quickly slopes up and all pours over a barely ankle deep rock bar.

Like I said, not much to it.

I always try to get a lure to the bottom of the beginning of the plunge pool. I know the fish like all the oxygen and I know big schools of minnows like to roll around in the rush of water. Using only 1/16th ounce jigs, getting something that light down to the bottom of water like this is a challenge. But I can do it.

I started out with two powerful hits from smallies with some weight on them, but they had no interest in staying hooked so I wandered off downstream.

Smallies were in all the usual places and then some and I wound up going 12/10.

That took a couple of hours and then the wind picked up, the temperatures dropped and my sweatshirt was back in the car. Called it quits for the day.

Which brings me back to the beginning, to where I started and my last cast.

I was hoping the smallies had forgot they had been briefly hooked and sank the little lure down to the bottom a few times.

Nothing, so I made my last cast.

Put the following up on Facebook the other day and I can’t think of a better way of describing it…

I am now the proud owner of a custom made two piece medium light fast action rod.

Tied into the heaviest fish I’ve ever had on.

It kept diving down to the bottom of a 6 foot deep plunge pool that has relatively quick water running through it that keeps you from seeing the bottom.

Made a valiant effort to bring it up so I could at least see the damn thing, but it would dog it’s way back down to the bottom.

It was fighting like a big flathead, a really big, heavy flathead.

Then the rod snapped in half.

Shit.

Really?

So, I grabbed the braided line, smart, I know, and tried to hand line it in.

Shit.

Stupid.

But it almost worked. I almost get the damn thing to a point where I was going to at least get a look at it.

Then the lure snapped off.

Fuck.

Me.

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Moving up Quickly

The smallies must have liked the warmer weather, warmer water and perfect creek levels and in the past few days have been moving up quickly.

Friday after work it took a good hour and a half to get to a spot on a creek that normally takes under an hour. Traffic has sucked all week as stupid people dropped from the sky onto the roads to screw things up for everybody else.

About an hour and a half of fishing and went 9/4 on smallies. Foul hooked a couple of carp/suckers and thought I had another one foul hooked when it went airborne. A gar nearly 3 feet long with my little lure in the edge of it’s snout. A twist as it came down and the lure flew back at me. That was pretty cool to watch. Makes me wonder about those other two that I thought I foul hooked.

Fished the first quarter mile of a creek for those. Heard that a couple of stray smallies and a bunch of catfish were caught further up. They’re all moving up faster than I thought they would. They must have liked this weeks weather too.

Tomorrow I think I’ll go check another creek two miles in to see if they’ve got that far.

I’m also eternally grateful that the average fisherman will never figure out how to fish small flowing water.

More for me.