Archive for the ‘West Branch Sugar River’ Category

A Little Success on WBSR   3 comments

Stephen Rose and I finally got out today and did some fishing together. Seems like we’ve only had a few opportunities to fish together this season, and it’s always a pleasure.

Before hitting the West Branch of the Sugar River, we stopped for some coffee and blueberry scones at Mary’s Coffee Express in Mount Horeb. The scones were delicious. Stop by and grab one next time you’re in the Driftless.

We hit the water around 9am this morning and had some fish on right away. I was fishing an olive woolly worm and had two very vigorous takes immediately after the fly hit the water. Same thing happened to Stephen, who was fishing a bead head nymph. But then, nothing.

The wind seemed to whip up and the weather changed a bit, getting cloudy and cool. I’m wondering if that had some effect on the fish activity. Hard to say, but that’s my excuse for coming up with bupkuss from there on.

Stephen did a little spinner fishing on the way back to the car but couldn’t roust any trout, even with that very reliable method.

So, no skunkage, which I’ll take, and the scone was awfully good!

Trout Unlimited Meeting Last Night   1 comment

Last night Stephen Rose and I attended our first Trout Unlimited meeting. The Southern Wisconsin TU Chapter meets monthly in the banquet hall at the Colliseum Bar in Madison. The reputation of Trout Unlimited precedes itself, and there are strong opinions about the influence and motivation of the organization.

We didn’t know what kind of atmosphere to expect. On the way to the meeting we jokingly agreed that if we saw anyone wearing an ascot ala Judge Smails in Caddyshack, we’d probably have to excuse ourselves and make our way downstairs to the bar for some stiff drinks.

Judge Smails

"Do you stand for *goodness*, or - for *badness*?" - Judge Smails

It turns out no one was wearing an ascot. Most were wearing flannel shirts and faded jeans. The faces in the crowd of 50 people were exactly what you’d expect to see in a bar on a Tuesday night in Wisconsin.

The meeting started out with a few items of business, mostly that winners of raffles from the last few meetings had yet to pick up their prizes of fly boxes or trout books. There was a request to sign up to man the booth at the upcoming Madison Fishing Expo, and a call for members to help with streambank improvement work on Mount Vernon, the West Branch of the Sugar, and Gordon Creeks on April 30. Bring your loppers, chainsaws, and work gloves!

Raffle tickets for the evenings “Bucket Raffle” were handed out. Up for grabs were fly boxes with a dozen hand-tied flies.

Then the presentation began. Four members had taken a trip up to Lake Creek, Alaska for a week of river fishing. The stories and photos were terrific and make me wish I was better at saving my money so that I could afford such a trip (which, according to the speakers, was very reasonably priced compared to other trips offered in Alaska).

Wilderness Place Lodge

Wilderness Place Lodge

The question I asked myself while looking at the slides was “Are they going to eat any of these fish?” and I was surprised and relieved when I saw them showing off giant salmon filets and talking about how delicious all the fish tasted. They also brought along two kegs of beer to keep them company. Sounds OK to me!

After the 45-minute presentation the bucket raffle got underway. Three winners were picked from a hat and they each took home a fly box with some flies.

Announcements for the next meeting were made (March’s meeting is an auction) and the crowd slowly dispersed.

The impression I got was that each of these people enjoyed trout, trout streams, fishing for and catching trout, and spreading the word that trout fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors.

I didn’t stand up and say “Would any of you have objections to me fishing with a chub tail at the April outing?”

I’m not sure how that would have gone over. But I’m going to continue to attend the meetings and become a member. I look forward to helping with stream work, learning how to tie new flies, and create new friendships within the trout fishing community.

I also look forward to fishing with that chub tail in April.

I Dream of Catching Beautiful Fish   2 comments

Yesterday I went to the Sugar River just north of Belleville in search of pike with my fly rod. I went after overhearing a conversation in a local fly shop in which the owner and a guy were talking about tying flies for pike. The owner asked where the guy was finding them and the guy said “the Sugar River, near Paoli.”

Well, I thought that part of the Sugar River was designated Trout water, and I wasn’t sure about fishing for anything in Trout water after the season had closed, so I checked the map and found that further downstream the water is not designated, so it’s free game all year round. Plus, I reasoned, the further downstream I went, the better the habitat for Pike.

I drove on down Highway 69 and got to Frenchtown Road, where I crossed over the Sugar River. It is a pretty stretch that looks ripe for catching fish.

Sugar River @ Frenchtown Road

Sugar River @ Frenchtown Road

I worked my way steadily upstream back toward the bridge but only saw one fish, about 10″ long. Perhaps there are more fish moving about in the river when it isn’t 30-degrees outside?

It was fun to continue to hone my fly casting skills, and I was pleased with my ability to place the fly accurately and with good distance. But alas, not a bite. I did some more looking around upstream of the bridge in the designated trout water. It sure is pretty.

After exploring, I consulted my GPS to see what other courses of water were nearby. I headed south on Hwy PB then back up northwest and found a beautiful stream running through a marsh. I had no idea which stream this was, if it held trout, if it was designated trout water, or what.

I was very impressed with this stream. It was deep and windey and pretty. Did I mention deep? All the bends in the stream created significant cut-bank holes, most of which I couldn’t see the bottom of, even though the stream was gin-clear.

I found out after consulting the trout map that this was a stream I’d fished before, though in a different section. The West Branch of the Sugar River!

Here’s to all of you dreaming of April!

West Branch of the Sugar River

West Branch of the Sugar River

Rainbows, Brooks, and Browns on the WBSR   5 comments

This morning Stephen Rose and I headed southwest to fish a stream we’ve not been to before. Head down Highway G in southwest Dane County and you’ll cross Mount Vernon Creek. Keep going and you’ll come to a less talked-about creek called “The West Branch of the Sugar River”. A mouthful for sure, which may be the reason it isn’t written about more often. That’s my guess anyway because it appears to be every bit as good a stream as Mount Vernon Creek.

The West Branch of the Sugar River

The West Branch of the Sugar River

The water was just right today. Okay, perhaps a little on the clear side but it was cool-running which is always a good thing when looking for trout. The sky was just a little bit overcast and we were hoping more cloud cover would roll in but it never did. Even so, the fish were biting. Using number nine Panther Martin Deluxe gold and silver spinners we caught and released something like fifteen trout in about three hours. Not bad for a stream we knew nothing about on a very pleasant and dry morning.

Creekside Woodland Sunflower

Creekside Woodland Sunflower

We fished the creek almost smack-dab at it’s halfway point. I guess you’d say it was the middle third of the creek. it went from four feet wide at its narrowest up to twenty feet wide at the largest pools. The depth was anywhere from under one foot to over four feet. There was evidence of LUNKER structure work and bank rebuilding, but it looked to be at least a decade old.

Okay, on to the fishing…

I said on to the fishing, not on to the catching. Right? Anyway, the video above shows Stephen Rose doing his damnedest to lure a trout out of a nice hole. But no dice.

Here’s what we caught.

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brook Trout

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brook Trout

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brook Trout (#2)

West Branch Sugar River (WBSR) Brook Trout (#2)

West Branch Sugar River Brook Trout (#3)

West Branch Sugar River Brook Trout (#3)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#2)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#2)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#3)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#3) Sans Head

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#4)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#4)

West Branch Sugar River Rainbow Trout

West Branch Sugar River Rainbow Trout

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#5)

West Branch Sugar River Brown Trout (#5)

And now, for the grand finale, a bonafide 17-inch West Branch of the Sugar River Brown Trout…

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

 Stephen found this wonderful fish in a deep pool where the creek runs along the woods. He thought it was a snag at first but then it swam toward him and Stephen saw the beast. I was on the other side of the creek up on the bank and I leapt into the water to assist with the net. Nice fish buddy!

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

West Branch Sugar River 17-inch Brown Trout

Is The West Branch of the Sugar River a long name for a little creek? Yes.

Is it worth checking out? Yes! We’ll be back to fish this one again (and again and again).

Creekside Flowers on The West Branch of the Sugar River

Creekside Flowers on The West Branch of the Sugar River

Until Next Time, West Branch of the Sugar River

Until Next Time, West Branch of the Sugar River

Posted September 15, 2010 by troutseeker in West Branch Sugar River

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