Tag Archives: creek wandering

At Least I got a Fishing License

At least I got a fishing license, even though the rod hasn’t been put back in the car. Had to take it out a couple of weeks ago and it never made it’s way back. At least the trunk is still loaded with everything needed. Now to put it to use, maybe.

The Fox River is doing it’s usual spring high, fast and muddy thing. Catching smallmouth bass out of the river under these conditions is easy. Fish close to shore, fish close to obstructions. It’s called dabbling and after many years of doing that every spring, it’s got old.

Decided today to just go for a walk in the woods, but I also figured I may as well go check out four nearby creeks while wandering the woods. Unlike the river, they were all crystal clear and in perfect shape. Still went with the walk instead of fishing.

The main reason to head out to the woods was to see how the undergrowth was coming along. No leaves on the trees, plenty of light getting down to the forest floor, makes things sprout. Today is the last of the colder days. From here on out, supposedly, it’s all uphill temperature wise. Or so they say.

For now, things are trying to grow. The next couple of weeks should see a dramatic improvement.

The woods I walked today run along two of my favorite creeks, so I was killing two birds with one stone. I got to enjoy both.

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What was once an easy stroll down the creek has changed over the winter. It’s now an obstacle course. Will be interesting to navigate this when I get to it.

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I’ve seen this creek clear like this many times and it’s nice to go to spots where smallies get caught. From a different vantage point, it’s easy to see why.

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Birds, waterfowl and tree dwellers were everywhere. I was grateful when these two chose to ignore me. Faithful readers of this blog will recall my run ins with nesting geese on creeks.

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Many Aprils over the years have been spent fishing this creek with this one pool consistently producing every time. I wondered if I’d come back again this month to find out if it’s still consistent.

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Wandering along the creek I came across a found object, if you want to call it that. I tend to call them Shit I Trip Over. Considering where I am, it makes you wonder how many decades it’s just been sitting here all by itself.

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The signs of beavers on these creeks are everywhere, though the beavers themselves are seldom seen. Finally figured out that with the bigger trees, they just use them for sharpening their teeth.

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I found this interesting at the time, not sure why.

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Headed off to another creek with the intention of wandering the woods along it’s banks, but I was met with more of the same under growth waiting for more warmth. While walking over the little bridge over the creek I noticed that the suckers were making their migration upstream. That I didn’t expect. I assumed like the plants, they would be delayed by a couple of weeks too.

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Mixed in with the hundreds of suckers were hundreds of shad.

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This next one may be difficult to see. I almost didn’t see it, but my shadow spooked it and it moved. I could see the distinctive bars of a northern hog sucker. Pretty good size on it too and it looked to be a good 16 inches. I’ve been told it’s rare to come across them, but coming across them is a good thing. I’ve been seeing them in these creeks on and off for years and apparently they are a sign of high quality water.

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I’m sure this week I’ll put the rod in the car and next weekend I’ll be met with a conundrum.

Do I wander around taking pictures and fishing or just wander around like I did today.

It is kind of nice not hauling around all that fishing shit.

I should have been here a few hours ago…

At least the sun was out.

I have no doubt the fishing would have still been nonexistent, but at least there would have been light. A blue sky, streaks of gold on one side of the trees with some deeper shadows. Instead, the clouds had rolled in as I rolled down the back roads to go fish a creek.

At least the wind died.

I could have increased my fish catching odds by going to the river. I know the places to go during the winter, they were once my winter go to spots. My rule in the past was to never go fishing when the air temperatures were below freezing. And yet, here we have the mildest winter in 78 years and I got out once in December, the last day of the month and year. Here it was the last day of January and I was getting out again. A far cry from years past.

I have no excuse other than this winter has been getting to me. Despite the balmy weather, we still have a lack of light and sunshine. It seems to have drained me differently this year, taking a physical and mental toll. The other day we had a bit of snow, just enough to turn everything white. I went out and took some pictures that day. When I opened them for viewing, it looked like I had opened them in black and white mode, I had to check. If not for a bit of gold in the grasses in one corner, it was black and white.

On the days where the sun has shone, if I’m not in the house my wife knows where to find me. I’m out around the corner of the house, where the afternoon sun beats down and I’m protected from the wind. I stand there basking in the sun, absorbing the heat coming off the house.

Instead of the river, I went to the creek because it’s out in the middle of nowhere. There’s an off chance of catching something, I know the fish are there year round, but patience isn’t always rewarded.

Here I can park on the center line of the two lane road, if I wanted to, change into my waders and not worry about a car coming by. That kind of solitude is what I needed.

I followed a deer path toward the creek. Deer always take the easiest routes and I knew it would lead me to a low point on the creek bank.

I entered the creek in the middle of a long stretch of shallow riffles. It took a few steps, quite a few steps, to get my wading legs. The rocks were foreign to my feet after such a long absence. I would pay for this later with cramped calves and sore hamstrings, but that would be later. With the wind gone, all I could hear was the song of water over rock, the different pitches giving away the different depths.

The pool downstream is wide and long and I decided to go stand in one spot that let me cast to all of it. I would stand there till my feet couldn’t take the cold water anymore and my shoulder was sore from casting practice.

It took almost two hours.

There was nothing to look at of any real interest, more grays and monotone browns.

I let the sound of the riffles, one at the head of the pool to my left and another behind me off to my right, lull me into a simple, slow casting routine. The sound was like a drug, like tranquilizers pumped directly into my brain. I was surprised I wasn’t drooling as I stood there slack jawed casting and casting.

An owl hooting off behind me somewhere broke my trance. I guess my feet were cold, I should probably leave. Other than the owl there were no other sounds except the water. No other birds, no road noise off in the distance. The kind of silence that makes you put your fingers in your ears and wiggle them around a bit just to make sure your ears are still functioning.

I have friends that wonder what I’m going to do when others figure out where I’m fishing. How am I going to deal with running into other anglers. How will I react when they disturb my solitude.

I don’t worry about that.

Apparently I have friends in high places, the sign clearly says so.

A simple phone call will make those other anglers go away, possibly forever.