Driftless Trout Anglers

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6/1 - Rush River at Stonehammer/690th Options
EddieRivard
#1 Posted : Sunday, June 02, 2013 2:29:07 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 7/27/2012
Posts: 1,123
Location: New Brighton MN
I had originally planned on meeting my dad at the FF access point on the Kinnickinnic at noon on Saturday but then I remembered that around 11am on a nice sunny Saturday the Kayakers start showing up and they don't stop until close to dark. I've heard of fish being caught in the midst of a, "Kayak Hatch" but I can only stand being asked, "How's the fishin'?" so many times before I feel like walking into a deep hole and letting my waders fill up with the stone cold waters of a trout stream. We met up at a park and ride lot just off 94 before you cross over the river into WI with no specific place in mind.
Being that it was free fishing day in WI I figured that a lot of the most popular spots would be filled with people that were too cheap to buy a fishing license and had visions of checking out some spots on the Willow or even heading up into the meth country of Dunn and Barron counties in search of some wily trout. My dad didn't seem very keen on exploring small streams where the term, "Back Cast" might as well have been expunged from the English language years ago and the natives have 200 words describing a, "Roll Cast". So when my friend Nick texted me that there were only two cars at 690th on the Rush I figured that fishing the place on the Rush that I am most familiar with wasn't such a bad idea.

There probably was two cars at Stonehammer when my buddies Nick and Ethan showed up to fish there at 7am but by the time my dad and I pulled up at 12:15pm one would have to think that the Minnesota Chapter of Trout Unlimited was having some kind of convention there. As much as the amount of Minnesotans frustrates some WI trout fisherman they have me to thank because I have pretty much kept that A&W Restaurant off the nearby freeway exit in business over the years. Nothing tastes better than onion rings and a coke after a day of trouncing about in search of trout.



I suppose I channeled my inner "Mark" when I made the decision to walk downstream in search of a Rush River trophy. I've heard that this access point was a favorite of his during his trout fishing adolescence and I have been educated to the fact that one must crawl before learning to walk. The vegetation is starting to grow at a fast rate and it wont be long before one walking along this section will feel like they are walking through a jungle. I have learned that even at the most popular spots on the river if you walk for 20 minutes or so before fishing your chances of finding solitude increase exponentially. I had in mind a place that I first visited four years ago when I convinced a friend to canoe with me from 690th to the city of El Paso. If you ever decide to canoe that section of the Rush get an early start and go when the water is high. I remember walking the canoe through the pitch dark for the final stretch with hundreds of insects making a meal of my exposed flesh.



When we got to my "Secret Spot" it was all worth it because I got to witness my dad put on a, "nympthing clinic" catching nice trout on 3 out of his first 4 casts.



I have confidence in my nymphing skills to the point where I feel as though I can catch fish at will even if that is not always the case. Today I would be fishing exclusively with streamers. I often practice my "Streamer Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech" while fishing streamers even if it may be a few years before I end up giving it. When the "XSTREAM DREAM STREAMER TEAM MEDALLION" is place around my neck I plan in mentioning to my legions of fans that I didn't get there by switching back to nymphs just because I am seeing someone else experiencing success with them.

It wasn't long before I was saying, "The Louie Special Strikes Again!". The Louie Special is a variation of the Betty Mcnall which in tern was a variation of the Royal Coachman Trude. The Betty McNall is also known as a Betty McNault for those wanting to use the google to do more research on this fabled pattern. The Louie uses white hackle instead because some guy in Ishpeming MI named Louie decided that Browns like white better.



Here is a photo of the Louie Special in the Vise. I was recently informed by someone who knows that my use of calf tail for the wing was incorrect and deer hair is a better option.



After losing my size 8 Louie to a tree behind me I decided that the next streamer I would test would be a Clouser. Invented by Bob Clouser the Clouser Minnow is heralded as being versatile and extremely deadly. All in favor of nominating Bob Clouser to the "XSTREAM DREAM STREAMER TEAM HALL OF FAME" raise your hands. I had never caught a trout on a Clouser before yesterday mostly because I am a recovering nympher. Here is a photo of a log that a huge trout came out of to inspect my fly. He turned around and went back into hiding. No one has heard from him since.



So far my experience fishing streamers has been mostly, "Trial and Error". I would have to say it has been mostly error though because few cases ever make it to trial. Today would be a trial day though and between myself, my dad and the Clouser Minnow that my dad tied for me we would serve as Judge, Jury and Executioner.

Here is a photo of my Clouser Minnow.


Here is a photo of Eddie Rivard with a fish he caught using the clouser.


Here is what a trout looks like after being fooled by the Clouser Minnow.



Here is a Bumble Bugger that I tied up and tried. I had a few follows but failed to hook a fish with it. This is not the last you will hear from the Bumble Bugger. One change that might be in the works for the Bumble Bugger is the addition of a stinger. Every Bee has got to have a stinger.












KojDads
#2 Posted : Sunday, June 02, 2013 3:30:30 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 3/15/2012
Posts: 166
Location: Hudson
Beautiful pictures Eddie! looks like you had a great time on the water!
I will always trade 20 average sized fish for "the one" 20 plus....
Jake Andrle
#3 Posted : Sunday, June 02, 2013 3:39:34 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 6/7/2012
Posts: 285
Location: Pierce County
EddieRivard wrote:


There probably was two cars at Stonehammer when my buddies Nick and Ethan showed up to fish there at 7am but by the time my dad and I pulled up at 12:15pm one would have to think that the Minnesota Chapter of Trout Unlimited was having some kind of convention there. As much as the amount of Minnesotans frustrates some WI trout fisherman they have me to thank because I have pretty much kept that A&W Restaurant off the nearby freeway exit in business over the years. Nothing tastes better than onion rings and a coke after a day of trouncing about in search of trout.


I will admit A&W is nice, but there are still way to many Minnesotans that hit Stonehammer. I won't even fish there anymore Sad 10 cars at a bridge just doesn't sound appealing to me. Just glad none of them whip out a plat book and google maps ThumpUp
LenH
#4 Posted : Sunday, June 02, 2013 11:56:58 PM
Rank: Guest

Joined: 2/27/2010
Posts: 4,877
very nice photos
EddieRivard
#5 Posted : Monday, June 03, 2013 12:24:31 AM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 7/27/2012
Posts: 1,123
Location: New Brighton MN
KojDads wrote:
Beautiful pictures Eddie! looks like you had a great time on the water!


Thanks KojDads!

LenH wrote:
very nice photos


Thanks Len! If it wasn't for you I wouldn't have such an appreciation for the many colors of the Brown Trout.

Jake Andrle wrote:


I will admit A&W is nice, but there are still way to many Minnesotans that hit Stonehammer. I won't even fish there anymore Sad 10 cars at a bridge just doesn't sound appealing to me. Just glad none of them whip out a plat book and google maps ThumpUp


Thanks for the input Jake. You don't have to worry about me blowing the lid off your favorite stream since I don't even know what it is. If I ever make it to some of the smaller creeks and ditches of Pierce county I will definitely exercise some restraint as far as giving up the exact GPS coordinates goes. ThumpUp
B-Mac
#6 Posted : Monday, June 03, 2013 12:49:15 AM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 1/13/2012
Posts: 221
Location: Saint Croix Falls, WI
Jake Andrle wrote:


I will admit A&W is nice, but there are still way to many Minnesotans that hit Stonehammer. I won't even fish there anymore Sad 10 cars at a bridge just doesn't sound appealing to me. Just glad none of them whip out a plat book and google maps ThumpUp



dumb
"The f*cking ego of these bloggers"
B-Mac
#7 Posted : Monday, June 03, 2013 12:50:18 AM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 1/13/2012
Posts: 221
Location: Saint Croix Falls, WI
great photos and story...always good for a chuckle
"The f*cking ego of these bloggers"
Mark Dahlquist
#8 Posted : Monday, June 03, 2013 1:57:39 AM
Rank: Administration


Joined: 2/27/2010
Posts: 4,797
Location: Minnesota
Old haunts. Very cool. The stone wall with the log I presume was Stonehammer itself. Does not look as deep as I remember. Maybe filled in with silt? The downstream less people fish. I assume simply because most prefer to fish their way going upstream. How far downstream did you go? Did you run into other anglers. If you are just out to have fun and catch trout that amount of traffic is really no big deal. People spread out and hit different beats. Not like you won't catch trout. What is the brookie to brown ratio in this reach? Neat photo you took of the brookie jumping. Really cool post!!!
-Mark
Board Owner

ilikefood
#9 Posted : Monday, June 03, 2013 2:02:50 AM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 6/30/2011
Posts: 491
Location: River Falls, WI
Great photos and story. I love the photo of your dad playing the fish. Did he get you into fly fishing?
What was big was not the trout, but the chance. What was full was not my creel, but my memory.
- Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, p. 40 (Oxford University Press, 1949).
EddieRivard
#10 Posted : Tuesday, June 04, 2013 2:29:31 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 7/27/2012
Posts: 1,123
Location: New Brighton MN
Mark Dahlquist wrote:
How far downstream did you go? Did you run into other anglers? If you are just out to have fun and catch trout that amount of traffic is really no big deal. People spread out and hit different beats. Not like you won't catch trout. What is the brookie to brown ratio in this reach? Neat photo you took of the brookie jumping. Really cool post!!!


We walked downstream past the "Broken Willow".


We traveled farther than the "Wall of Wonder".


A bird had constructed a nest into the face of the, "Wall of Wonder"


Until we came to the "Recent Rock Fall" then we stopped and started working our way upstream.


We never made it to the, "Field of many Campers".


We bypassed another angler during the walk downstream. It rained pretty good for a while around 5pm but on the way back upstream around 5:45 we past another fisherman fishing a run. His car and ours were the only ones there when we made it back to the bridge. It makes me think that on an evening after rains have past through is a really good time to go fishing as long as the river is not blown.

I seemed like the brookie to brown ratio was about 57% Browns to 43% Brookies on Saturday but I presume that as the water warms the brookies will seek out areas with cooler water so it may become progressively Brown as the summer rolls on. Unless of course that specific area has an influx of spring water but I left my dowsing rods and well witching sticks at home on Saturday so it was pretty hard to tell.



ilikefood wrote:
Great photos and story. I love the photo of your dad playing the fish. Did he get you into fly fishing?


Thanks for the compliment. I sent that photo to Andy Roth who owns Gray Goat Fly Fishing and he featured it on his most recent update.

http://www.graygoatflyfishing.com/

It seems like it was about 6 or 7 years ago when my dad gave me my first fly rod. A St. Croix Avid 7 weight with an Okuma Sierra Reel. On our first trip together to the Gallatin in Montana we hired a guide for a day. I still remember when my dad informed the guide not to hesitate telling him if he saw him doing something wrong because he wanted to get maximum benefit from fly fishing with someone who knew what they were doing. He said something like, "I can handle criticism because the first ten years of my life I thought my name was, "Little Moron"".

Since then I have improved gradually every year. It seems like it was only last year though when casting a fly rod really started to feel natural for me.
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