The weather was perfect, warm partly cloudy days followed by calm cool evenings. The bite was slow but steady, The fish large and angry! It is every angler’s challenge to solve the mysteries of weather and water to find fish that will eat our offerings to allow us moments of sheer joy. The highlights of this four day ISA adventure includes; whopper popper bites yielding many 18’s and 19’s, campfires and camaraderie, and fish stories galore!
I traveled up with Bart. He was kind enough to haul my Nucanoe even though he had his Towee boat trailered. We fished together in the Towee, a great vessel and perfect for a river.
Our group: Ken and his daughter Lauren, Kevin, Bart, Eric and myself was great! Everyone pitched in to shuttle, cook and clean. However, Kudos to Kevin for selflessly washing our supper dishes after every meal, he was never asked nor complained.
We quickly planned an adventure day to shuttle everyone up stream to a dam. Then float 11 miles back to camp. It was so peaceful, scenic and my first big river float in my vessel.
We had stumbled upon a large Bald Eagle struggling to get out of the water. It made its way to shore and sat, wings spread flat against the ground. We felt bad as it seemed to need help, but that thing had some serious hardware, we thought best to leave it be. Bart called WDNR to report it. He then called a Raptor Society. They wanted him to box it up! We let nature take it’s course. The journey downstream produced fish, albeit a slow bite. Growing weary of casting the shore. I switched my focus on mid river structure. Recalling Tim Landweir’s Smallmouth book, I employed the “Mr. Wiggles” tactic of drifting a rubber legged popper. Moving it very infrequently…less is more. I was relaxing, drifting along when low and behold a bass sipped in that thing like a Koi! I finally got my wits together to set the hook, an 18” specimen came to hand. Later, the same technique yielded a 14 incher.
While fishing in Ken’s “River Machine” with Kevin and of course, Ken; we had made several drifts through some fast water. Ken had deployed a double fluke rig, which he had been very effective for him. We were anecdoting about catching doubles, (Which no one had done).
Wouldn’t you know, that double rig caught two on one cast! An 18” and a 13” = 31 inches of bronze!
Bart and I had been deploying our fly rods to deliver poppers. There were some great takes! Fish sharking up behind the lure, sipping or slurping, or pouncing from above. I’ll be darned if Bart couldn’t catch anything but 19’s on those poppers.
The Menomonee is certainly special water. Her waters run clear, and she does not give up secrets easily. During our stay, flows were strong and levels above normal. Which favored the fish. Yet, players could be found. I sometimes put too much focus on the numbers of fish brought to hand. When you boil it down, it’s about making great memories. Can’t wait until next time!
Thank you Scott for organizing this trip!