Did you hear that? That my friends is the sound of the garage door opening to the music of Darth Vader’s anthem at 2 in the morning. Dun…dun…dun, dun-nu-nu du-nu-nu. From out of the smoke and dust, emerges two weathered and bearded fishermen (Well one is bearded, but she is pretty on the inside). They cover their eyes as the moonlight blinds through the clear morning sky. It is Spring, March 31st and the time has come to tell of a tail of another year of fishing with the RiverBums!
So, like the prodigal son, Lassie, and Arnold Schwarzenegger…we are BACK! Trout season has lured us out of the cold, dim, dry sadness that iced over our hearts, hands, and waters. Yes, trout season my friends. Every small mouth bait casting pros worst nightmare…narrow rivers, wind, and fly fishing. Don’t get us wrong, we love trout. If you recall our slideshow, Dad has a beauty of a Brown Trout from the Milwaukee river and AC’s Rainbow Trout was picturesque from the White river in Michigan. But, it is the art of fly fishing that seems to put a damper on things.
Despite being elite fishermen, fly fishing is not our expertise. However, we won’t diminish our status, we are still good at fly fishing, but as Obe-won Kenobi so wisely stated, “You are not a jedi yet” And so we are not Fly Pros just yet. But, we are getting there. I mean, come on people, you can’t expect us to be the best at everything. However, it is trips like this, which we begin to master the art of fly fishing and cement our positions as the greatest RiverBums of all time.
So, after packing up the car with our handy dandy equipment (even sneaking in the occasional spinning reel) we smacked on our riverbums bumper sticker, cranked up the tunes on our early morning play list, said our fishing prayer, and drove on. Being sure to wave hello to our old friend, the skunk.
Destination: The Big Green River in Fennimore Wisconsin (SW county of Wisconsin)
Drive: 4 hours
Weather: Overcast with a high of 65 and a low of 35.
The road was pretty clear as we traveled through Northern Illinois and SW Wisconsin. It was 8am when we rolled into Fennimore. Steering through back country roads of SW Wisconsin was a trip all on it’s own. Probably the most beautiful part of the state is this portion. Hills, rolling meadows, castles from the 12th century. Ok, no castles, but plenty of abandoned sinking barns and cows. Not to mention the eagle we saw soaring in and out of the fog and hills.
We followed our Deloitte map to the first access point of the river. Where County HWY K meets Collins rd. bridge. We got out to stretch our legs and survey the unexplored river.
Dad surveying the river…
Big Green River
It was narrow and about as deep as AC’s knowledge of carpentry and Dad’s knowledge of fashion (Dad, Springsteen called, he wants his bandanna back!) But the low lying foliage and lack of coverage proved to be quite the pristine environment for fly fishing. As long as you snuck up on them. Ya see, trout are spooked easily. They are the scaredy cats of the scaled inhabitants of this world. They scurry at the sight of any shadow and bail at the sense of any sound or movement. Like Scooby Doo, and that guy from Alien “We gotta get out of here man,” Trout will desert any comfortable corner of the river and be sure to not return to it until the fisherman is gone and gone for good.
That is why sneaking up on trout is half the fun. We get to spend 20 minutes slowly inching towards the water banks all the while focusing on holding our breaths and casting hundreds of times in the same location in 3 inches of water hoping to hook a trout that is no bigger than your thumb. Ya, we made you look at your thumb. I don’t know about you guys, but you can’t expect a 57 year old man to hold his breath for very long and a 23 year old girl with a AAA personality to slowly inch her way up to anything.
So, we hopped back in the car and traveled down Big Green River rd. to find a wider part of the river.
The first branded Riverbums rental.
We arrived at a small road off of Big Green rd. and decided that spot was as good as any. We loaded out, suited up, and headed down to the river. Which wasn’t much of a walk as we parked just a few yards away. This river, being as narrow as it is, is surrounded by farm land. No brush or trees means no bushwhacking for the Riverbums. Actually, our waders barely saw any action as the river was quite shallow and the shore so freely walkable that we rarely met the water. Only ever did we “wet our waders” when we needed to switch banks or go after a fish. And speaking of….just after a few casts…off the first tiny rapids…AC landed the first trout of the year…
AC’s monster HUGE trout
OK, so it wasn’t a monster, hell let’s be honest…It was just barely born. But she still had fun reeling it in on the fly rod and in her words, it sure was “Cute.” And if that wasn’t enough, she had to pose with it…
Size doesn’t matter, it’s the cast that counts…
Why We Hate Weathermen (And Women)
1) They are liars
2) They are liars who get paid to lie
3) They are liars who get paid to lie and create cheesy uncomfortable banter in the newsroom.
And that was Why We Hate Weathermen (And Women)
And we digress. So in between breathing hot air on our hands and sneaking up to cast, we tried to enjoy the scenic river and take in the moment of our first trip of the year. But, who are we kidding? We wanted to catch more fish, a lot more. 4 hours turned into 6 and the winds picked up. AC’s hands just about fell off and she had to take a break and submerge her fingers into her cotton coat. But, it was Dad who braved on.
While gallivanting on, we ran into a fellow fishermen from Minnesota. A young man by the name of Carl who is a current student at the University of Illinois for Dentistry. Man with access to drugs, perfect teeth, and a fisherman. What more could AC ask for… Ok, ok all romance aside, we learned something that made our day turn bright side up. Carl so nicely confided in us that we were using the wrong lures for the biggies. Seems, the trout were going for scuds and sculpin, verses the mayflies and caddis we were using.
So with advice in hand and a tip of our Cub hat to the kind gentlemen fisher, we switched lures and tried again. And my friends, if at first you don’t succeed, copy someone else…
Dad’s first trout of the season
So with that, Dad landed a beauty of a trout and was able to capture its decent size compared to his net. So it was one trout AC, one trout Dad for the Big Green River. All in all a good day for the Fly fishing Pros- in training. So, after 6 hours, frost bitten fingers, helpful advice, and 2 trout…we headed back home. But, not before we captured the beauty of Fennimore Wisconsin and the scenes it had to offer…
(Oh come on, you laughed, just admit it, no one is watching you…)
AC has dibbs on the black one
A perfect pool
Dad casting the shore
Obviously, this town isn’t big enough for the two of us
Well, this is just the beginning of the 2012 Riverbums season. Stay tuned for next week where we visit the dazzling, wide, and muddy lagoon of the Kankakee River right here in the friendly confines of Illinois as we fish for our favorites…Smallmouth Bass.
Until next time…we’ll see ya on the other side of the river!
AC & Dad