Beiträge von LHarris

    Top left is a milkweed. It is the prime food for the monarch butterfly. This weed/flower lines the roads on the ways to my favorite streams throughout southern Wisconsin.

    Middle top is the infamous touch me not flower. Its pods explode and rain down seeds on the one that touched it. Most of my late season streams in the driftless are lined with these.

    The right top is a wild bergamot. This flower was dried and used as in a paste for acne relief. They are a very late season arrival on clean pristine streams throughout Crawford county.

    Bottom left is a lily that thrives on the Fox Bluff Creek in Richland County.

    Bottom middle is a very rare poisonous flower located on Mill Creek in Richland county. It is called woody night shade.

    Bottom right is an aster. This flower is a favorite place for butterflies to land upon. This flower resides in Crawford county on Crow Creek.

    My season opens this Saturday

    I hope my knee is better

    I am missing many things being stuck in the house.

    I already missed the early season.

    I have many memories of years past.

    I am not ready to be put out to pasture.

    Near the end of September each year I get this feeling of loss. There is an unexplained hollowness inside me. For the longest time I could not understand why.

    My medical problems as of late have caused those feelings to be even worse. I sat down last night and mourned my lack of being able to go fishing because of my knee and back problems over a couple beers.

    It wasn't just the fishing I miss. I missed the December scouting trips. I miss the virgin snow.

    The outdoors serves as a battery charger for my soul. I have been bashful about testing my knee and back for fear of re- injuring them.

    I have decided to go fishing tomorrow and dam the consequences. I do not want to risk not seeing the new pine cones budding.

    My life would be quite hollow if I could not see the first blossoms on my favorite plum tree grove and smell it's amazing aroma.

    I don't know what I would do if the door to the outdoors was ever closed for me. I would wither away and cease to exist.

    "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

    - Henry David Thoreau

    The best fly angler I have ever fished with is hands down bar none John Armstrong. He use to live in Madison and now lives in a suburb of Atlanta. WE use to fish 3 times a week when he worked locally. We fish once or twice a year these days.

    I will set the stage for the story. John has been out fishing with his buddy Todd during the day. John is all pumped up about an incident that happened when Todd was battling a medium sized trout. John told me that an extra large sized brown attacked Todd's fish while he was battling it. He wanted to go right out after it with me. I told John to give the trout a rest for a couple days and I would be his net man.

    The next night John is on the phone and he wants to go out at about 7am the next morning. John is so fired up he has already tied a fly on to try to catch the aggressive monster in the hole.

    John had a size 6 hornberg on. He told he he had a small split shot back about 12 inches and he had a big glob of biostrike about 5 feet back. He guessed the hole to be 4 feet deep. His plan was to dredge the crease he saw the trout retreat into after it attacked the other trout. He had it on his lucky Fenwick rod with a 9 foot new 2X leader.

    We met up at 6:30am in Gays Mills and we were off after that aggressive male brown.

    He had discovered the fish so it was his to catch. I stayed back 80 yards so my movements would not spook John's trout.

    The second cast in to the hole John had a large trout on and was shouting for me to come net it. This fish hunkered down on the bottom for quite a while before coming to the surface and me netting it.

    John was happy with his brown and fished some more and I went home and he was off to Madison.

    That night the phone rang. John was on the line and he said the fish he caught that day was not the trout he had seen chasing and biting that other brown. He was certain it was a different fish he caught. I dismissed the notion in my mind of two extra large trout in the same small hole. John was certain and wanted to out again. He didn't have time until the weekend.

    He called me on Friday night and said he was coming in the morning with a father and son in tow. He had promised the father to help teach his son how to fly fish. We all bailed out of the vehicles at the same parking area from earlier that week. John wanted to see if he was right and there was another big different trout in the hole. John had already tied on the hornberg and he was biting at the bit to go try.

    I let John and the father go ahead of me and the son. The son picked up on the fly rod quickly and caught a really nice brookie right away. Then I heard the familiar cry by John of "LEN!!"

    We both ran to John and he was still battling another different bigger trout in that same hole. The father and son watched as John battled the trout. The father waded in and tried to net John's trout but his net was not big enough. I tossed him my big net.

    If you don't have a couple hornbergs in your fly box, you should have.

    This stretch had the rights sold to the WDNR 2 years later and the wonderful hole was destroyed with the Habitat Improvement nonsense.

    My buddy and I waded up to this hole. Our expectations were great. It had big and lots of trout written all over it. Frank picked up one smallish brown on the left as he put himself in place to fish the "Gravy Train".

    He fished it for 35 minutes and nary a hit. I fished it for 5 minutes and same thing for me.

    The hole looked awesome and our expectations were high. As we went upstream to fish we noticed a spot with no grass on it where a local had been camped numerous times. We could even see lawn chair indents.

    We would have fished it the same even if we had seen the worm dunker's perch.

    This hole gave me no delusions of grandeur coming up on it and I walked right up on it. Big mistake. The trout were screaming every direction.

    The water blasting down those shallows bounced off that bank before the bush and cut a nice bathtub sized hole under it.

    The next time I came back I fished that hole properly and picked up over a dozen trout.

    Ain't trout fishing grand!!!

    I hear often that I don't smile in photos.

    I believe that mother nature paints the best pictures and it takes a lot

    to get me to smile on the outside when my soul smiles often.

    At the top of the hole is a sweet step drop from 2 feet to 6 feet. There are huge boulders there from the old farm bridge collapsing.
    The trout lay in wait at the drop with zero effort because the current is shooting right over there heads and they are there surveying the main courses and entrees they want to eat.

    I introduced Coach Knight to the hole also.

    His weighted girdle bug scored a nice fish.

    This was back in 2007 I believe.

    This permission was acquired from lots of door knocking. I have been told "NO" many times but I returned the next year and was friendly and got a "YES".

    This stretch has an older couple that like a trout for their table. Each year in May opener I give them what they seek. I even clean them in their yard with the garden hose and play with their numerous cats and feed them the left overs of the trout.

    Holes with fast current at the top of them can be tricky.

    My friend from Pennsylvania was visiting Wisconsin . He told me he had a morning to do some running and gunning. He just wanted to catch a couple fish and be on his way back to PA.

    He wanted easy access and a nice place to fish. The hole above came to mind. He was a little bit of a "doubting Thomas" when I showed him the run.

    He strung up his three weight the way I explained. Again he thought me to be a bit crazy. I explained to him that he should fish a size 10 turkey leech through there with an indicator. He refused the indicator and threw the leech in the hole 30 times and wanted to move on. He also has a 5x leader on and I asked him to size up to a 4x minimum. He was set in his ways and said he could handle any fish with 5x on his 3 weight. He said it was a worthless hole and he didn't get a single bite in the hole.

    I told him that I had seen a video once that proved to me that fly anglers miss 40 percent of their hits because of the lack of an indicator. After a little of coaxing he put on a "bobber." He was old school and anything that looking like fishing with bait was against his belief system.

    I explained to him that my father had showed me this hole as a small child and he always used a piece of cork on the line here on his fly rod with a crawler and ALWAYS kicked trout tail.

    Many years of fishing the area had taught me the lay of this hole. If I fished a hole hard and believed I was not going to catch another fish in a hole, I would walk in to the hole to map the bottom for a return trip.

    That mapping told be that the corner directly above this hole swung the current in to the bank and eroded the bank under that tree and there was a serious step drop there. The Alpha trout typical has the top of the hole at the tight step drop. It has the bank to break the current and is in the best feeding lay. The current also magnified the size of fish in the hole and under gunned anglers usually left with their tail between their knees.

    My buddy from PA "Mark" swung "my" fly I gave him tight to the right bank about 15 feet above the hole. I was getting preachy and told him to keep it tight to the right bank because the alpha trout would be there. He gave me this blank stare and said something again about this being a worthless hole.

    Then it happened. He wasn't even paying attention to the indicator and I screamed BITE!!!!BITE!!! Mark's reactions were slow but he did have a hook up for about .5 second and broke off his 5x leader. We got to see the 18-20 inch brown at the surface and he was sick because he broke off on it. I explained to him the current magnification I told him about prior. The current was fast in the hole and told him he needed to keep his line short or he would miss bites with a big belly in the line. He started listening to every word I said then.

    5 minutes later and a 4x leader on he wanted to throw back in there right away. I told him to let the hole calm down. That big fish flashing on its side when it was hooked surely alerted any smart fish in the hole and it was best to wait. We actually sat down and talked about the hole.

    I explained the bottom to him. He was very attentive now. He wanted to know how I knew exactly how the bottom laid . I explained to him my after fishing mapping trick.

    This hole was an unusual hole. The water was shallow upstream and there was an obvious bend that shot the spring floods in to the bank directly above the tree on the right. The tree roots kept the bank solid so the water bounced back out. I pointed at the bottom above the hole. The bottom was rocky and not silty so I told him more than likely the hole was that way too. That spring flooding had a bounce back to it also.

    He wanted to know what a bounce back was. The current slamming in to the hard bank with the tree roots stabilizing it caused a bounce back effect and the beginning of the hole was much farther out from the bank than one would think. There was almost a wing dam there because of the bounce back. I showed him the color difference in the hole and he could imagine the wing dam effect from the water color.

    This step drop ran a good 8 feet from the bank out in to the main channel and the current going under the tree also ripped out a good place.

    The colors on this brown were amazing and made the trip to Wisconsin from Pennsylvania well worth it.

    3 hours hours later and 20 trout from the same hole Mark was sold on strike indicators. He broke off one other large fish that took him in to the roots and his 3 weight didn't have enough backbone to turn the fish out of them. We talked about that tree eventually falling in to the water from the floods. I explained to him that that little tree was at least 20 years old and mother nature is better at making trout streams then any back ho or pallet maker.

    This Wisconsin brookie is bigger than Mark had ever caught in Pennsylvania.

    Mark questioned me if maybe we were directly behind the stocking truck because of his outstanding luck. His smile was huge when I told him the fish manager from that stream did not stock fish. Mark left to PA after just one hole.

    The really sad part of this story is the landowner sold the rights to the WDNR and they manicured the area and that tree was one of the first things they took out. The hole is utterly worthless now.