Friday, March 21, 2014

Scouting Water and Sleeping Babies

Spring has been making brief appearances in Southern Wisconsin this past week.  There's been a lot of melting going on and the sun has been shining.  It makes a person want to shake out the cobwebs and find any reason possible to get outside and feel the warm-ish breeze and listen to the birds sing.
This past winter was rough.  I normally really enjoy the snow and sometimes lament the loss of it this time of year......but not this season.  With the prolonged frigid temperatures that never seemed to let up, it was difficult to enjoy time outdoors.  Even when my husband offered to watch our son for a few hours, I didn't feel like hitting the cross country ski trails with -30 degree wind chills. My son was born in October, and I think I can count on two hands the number of times we've spent any amount of time outside besides rushing to and from the warmth of the car. So to say I have cabin fever is an understatement, and I think my son is feeling it too.
On one of these inspiring days when spring started to peek through the curtains of winter, I found myself driving with a sleeping baby in the backseat.  Instead of heading straight home, I took a detour to scout some trout streams near my hometown.  I've spent so much time driving into the western portion of the Driftless Area, that I've rarely fished the streams in my own backyard.  With a baby at home now, my time is a little more valuable and I don't want to be wasting 90-minutes driving to a particular stream when I could be rigged up and fishing within ten minutes of leaving my house. 

On this particular drive, I "discovered" a class II trout stream that is exactly 8-minutes from my driveway.  It wasn't very big, but the water was clear and I could see several nice runs and undercut banks from one of the bridge accesses.  After looking up the stream later on the DNR website, there's apparently 10 miles of stream to cover, which means I won't be lacking for water this season even if I stay close to home.  I had spent so much time fishing water a couple counties to the west that I never realized how much good trout water is much closer to home.  It's exciting to know I can likely spend this entire season exploring streams within a 10 mile radius from my house without getting bored.
After my son woke up, I ended the scouting mission and turned towards home, but I couldn't get the image of the perfect bubble line out of my head.  Luckily, my in-laws were visiting for the afternoon and were more than willing to babysit, so I quickly threw my gear into the car and returned to the stream.
I only had an hour, which led to me feeling rushed, which led to me hooking everything possible except a fish;)  It didn't help that, despite the sunshine, the air temperature was still low enough to freeze up the guides and the water was probably still pretty cold due to recent melting.  As every fly fisherman has said at least once, "It was just nice to get out."  Though I didn't kick up any fish on this particular stretch, I'm sure they're in there somewhere.  I'll certainly be heading back soon to do some more exploring.

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