Monday, May 11, 2009th

Mother’s day weekend is spent at home – time well spent with a wonderful woman – some would say a saint! . We have a 2 ½  year old on the run and another little guy arriving sometime in August. And so I have left the Mother’s Day caddis hatch to future years. Nonetheless, as Monday dawns immediately following Mother’s Day, I am back on the water for a few days with two good friends.

There is nothing as venerable as good friends heading out to spend time together in pursuit of trout – I always leave such excursions even closer to the companions that join me.

First up is my friend Joe – not to be confused with my brother Joe who is also a truly great friend. This Joe lives in ‘Tosa. Let’s call him ‘Tosa Joe. I roll into ‘Tosa Joe’s place early Monday morning and we head out for what will be the last spring pilgrimage to SW Wisconsin. After this it will be time to follow hatches to the north. Our first stop is the little river that I have now fished with my brother Joe and my daughter. Each visit reveals a little more about this small fishery. In truth, I tried to focus on water where Joe could work on his casting (first time out for him this year) and still have a shot at some fish. He doesn’t disappoint.

'Tosa Joe Works His Way Into a Fish on a Small River

‘Tosa Joe Works His Way Into a Fish on a Small River

He does, in fact, get a nice brown in that first spot and then he joins me while I plummet the depths for the devil trout that escaped me the last time I was here. Will I ever give up on that spot, that fish?!

Satisfied Angler!

Satisfied Angler!

Satisfied with our first trout and the fact that Joe has his casting groove intact, we head for bigger water. Joe and I separate after awhile – he knows what he is doing and we each seek our trout on different stretches of the same river. His cast improves steadily over the course of the day.  In fact he is throwing much tighter loops than me; so I make note that I need to get out and do a little more casting practice of my own!  In any case, it is a good day in that ever-so-favorite of stretches.

Workin' it!

Workin’ it!

After Joe moves back down river, I step into a spot that regularly produces some nice fish and rig up with my standard DEEP rig that I use here. I fish it from below. I fish it from above. I dead drift. I swing flies. I add more weight. More drifts. More swings. Nothing. I then go back and fish this same spot from down river again – casting upstream. That’s when I switch over to an elk hair caddis with about a 36 inch dropper. Bang! That rig put me into a fat, 13-inch brown trout. So shortening up and fishing lighter actually worked in a spot where I usually fish very deep. Make a note of that. The fish took the dropper.

Next, I fall back down to a spot just above a small island that I like to fish. There is a fast little run here that shoots around two large boulders before dumping into a pool and heading down toward that island. Here, I rig up with an even bigger caddis (#8). It serves as my strike indicator. Behind it I tie on about 3 feet of tippet and a #10 hydropsyche larva. I take a couple of 8-inch browns about half way through the pools as the rig returns to me. That’s not what I want though. I want the fish at the head of the pool – the prime spot where the big ones hang out. Here, big trout get first dibs on the insects washing down out of that fast little run. I start to adjust my rigging. Joe sees me repeatedly casting up to the run and shouts for me to move on – “there can’t be anything there”. At this moment a black cow steps into the water behind me and Joe snaps off a surreal picture of this cow looking over my shoulder as I continue to cast to my target area. Joe heads down below me reminding me as he passes that it might be time to let this spot rest. Oh, really? A few more casts and I decide to adjust for a deeper presentation. Fishing deeper does not always mean adding more weight to the leader. In this case, I choose to add about 15 more inches of 5x tippet – just extending the dropper out to more than 4 feet below that big caddis.

The casting ritual is repeated again and after several attempts I connect with a solid 16+ inch brown trout. He runs into the pool, sees me and then heads back upstream to the fast little run. I turn him. He runs below me and I step across stream leading him to the shallow water just above the little island. He heads back to the pool again. On the next pass, I lift his head high and net him. Wow, look at the shoulders on this fish! I have to thank Joe here – he hustled back up stream to snap an awesome photo of this fish – it actually looks like a shark with that dark eye.

Bovine & Squaoliformes Trout

Bovine & Squaoliformes Trout

 Thanks ‘Tosa Joe, it was good to get out there with you.  Too bad we couldn’t have stretched it.

Paul