Monday, November 30, 2009

Classic Great Lakes Angler : Fossil Edition

While reading through this issue of LIFE Magazine on Google books I ran across this article.

Text as follows:

"The fossil skeletons of a fish within a fish give 90 million-year-old record of a glutton"

"Ninety million years ago a 14-foot-long tyrant fish called Portheus swam through the great shallow sea that covered what today is Kansas. Like its distant modern relative the tarpon, Portheus was a fierce predator, armed with a bulldoglike lower jaw for lunging at prey from below. It came upon a 6-foot-long herring-type Ichthyodectes and proceeded to swallow it whole. This huge wriggling repast may have been too much for the ravenous Portheus. At any rate, it died with its belly full. Then it sank heavily into the sea ooze, where it became fossilized in the clay while the Cretaceous American Sea vanished about 70 million years ago. Uncovered under the dry land of a cattle ranch near Quinter, Kan., this skeleton-within-a-skeleton, vivid evidence of the reward of gluttony, is believed to be the most ancient fish-eat-fish record ever found intact."

The fossils were discovered by Walter Sorenson of the American Museum of Natural History.

It was a fast swimmer, as the forked tail and streamlined body show. Probably would have put up one hell of a fight on a 12 weight fly rod.

St. Croix River, Bayport Power Plant : Photography

I had the wish to photograph the Bayport Power Plant in Minnesota from across the river in the darkness on black Friday. I set out in search of a proper spot along the bluff across the river to capture this steam expelling stack that I used as a compass throughout my childhood, as it could often be located through the trees of even the denser woods of my home town.

I started off in North Hudson and captured it from an angle I wasn't pleased with, but it was a good warm up.

I then made my way to an abandoned rest stop, pulled the car far off the road, and hiked to the edge of the bluff. I had a friend with me and after a minute of conversing and shining a headlight into the brambles at our feet we decided this wasn't the spot. I then unfolded my tripod for a quick capture with my Nikon and realized that this actually was the perfect spot and that we would have to make it down the bluff to the water's edge.

It was maybe 100 vertical feet down a leaf covered decline. After a few minutes of slipping and tangoing with burrs we found ourself standing on the stones at the foot of the St. Croix river.

After making a few images and completing a panoramic it was time to go. Having little feeling left in my hands I slung my tripod onto my shoulder and called for my friend Doug to follow me up the hill. As I made my way over the fragile piles of drift wood I reached my foot out for a board, an even surface to find a footing.

As I soon found out this board had a series of 3" long nails sticking out of it's surface and the ball of my toes found it's way to the point of one of these rusty spikes. I felt pressure as the nail punctured my shoe and my thick wool sock like they were butter, I instantly reeled and rocked back to my other foot, careful not to fall. I felt a pang of pain shoot into my foot as I lifted the 8 foot long 2x4 clear from the ground, hanging from my foot. I shook it loose and consulted with my friend. We decided to high tail it up the bluff and investigate in the car.

Upon reaching the top of the slope we entered the car, turned on the lights, and I took off my shoe. To my surprise the nail hit a callas and was stopped before entering my bloodstream. A half an inch either way and it would have stuck straight into my foot. A Tetanus shot was narrowly avoided and I was thrilled for the rest of the evening. The adventure, the cool crisp air, the time with a friend, and the images were worth a Tetanus shot in my mind but I'm happy to be without one as well.

Portland Oregon this week for work, back to fishing this weekend as soon as I can. Seeforellen Brown Trout are invading the harbors and rivers, and last weeks rain and snow pushed clean Steelhead into all my favorite holes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black River Falls Dam : Photography

I took a slight detour today on the way home from Hudson, Wisconsin. The Black River looked beautiful from the I-94 bridge and before I knew it my turn signal was on and my car was leaving the fleet of angry post-thanksgiving drivers.

I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the the river, the dam, the swinging rope bridge that connects it to the adjacent plant on the river, and the quality of the pools below the dam.

There was one orange clad fisherman shooting sweeping casts out well below the falls, and I hear the river is a good fishery when it comes to walleye, musky, and bass. If I had a rod and a box of spinners with me I would have given it a chance to be sure.

I love Wisconsin, and the whole Great Lakes region, but I am still falling deeper in love with these places as I find more and more perfect spots. It seems that over every one of Wisconsin's rolling hills there is a spot more beautiful than the last.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Asian Carp : "Monumental Government Screwup"

From, this article details the Asian Carp invasion even further. Delving into what it might do to our Great Lakes fishery and ecosystem, terms like "a potential desaster for many of our sport fisheries".

The carp have become the dominant species in the water systems they have intruded upon and show no signs of slowing down at the great lakes.

"I'd plan for the worst"

Read the article here, a part of the article follows:

Anglers in the Great Lakes watershed better fish as much as possible in the next decade. Chances are that yet-another monumental government screwup has let Asian carp into the world’s biggest freshwater reservoir, auguring a potential disaster for many of our sport fisheries.

The carp were 8 miles below Lake Michigan with only one upstream lock between them and the big lake, but the lock opens regularly. So there’s no reason to believe the fish detected above the barrier are the first to reach that spot, especially since they were discovered the first time that area was tested, or that others didn’t pass through months or even years earlier.

Truthfully, no one knows what will happen once Asian carp reach the Great Lakes. But looking at the Illinois River, where they’ve become the dominant fish species in a mere 10 years, I’d plan for the worst.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Milwaukee Area Trout Fishing : 11/22/2009

My morning began in the dark, standing in the cool waters of oak creek under a thick blanket of still fog. The air temperature was 34 degrees and it was 4:30 a.m.

I had driven up from Chicago, rolling out of the covers at 3:00 a.m. The drive up to my favorite tributary was short and sweet, with only a few other tail lights racing through the November night with me.

I stood there with my hip boots and felt the water with my fingers, cool and swift, just the way I remember the November conditions to have been in years past. I walked back to the car and strung up my float rod first, followed by my fly rod. I leaned them against the side view mirror and walked back down to the river to take a look through the darkness at holes I planned to fish in the hours to come. I sat with closed eyes, listening for the tell tale sound of Steelhead advancing through the rapids.

After I was content with my selection of water I returned to the car, with 20 minutes left before it became legal to fish. I turned on the heat and reclined the drivers seat and shut my eyes to let my imagination bend my 9' 6" float rod to the water with chrome and pink Steelhead buttoned to the end of my line.

When I opened my eyes it was 5:45, 5 minutes until fishing. I locked the car and grabbed my rods and hiked through the stretch of woods to my first hole. In the time that I had shut my eyes another angler had snuck in in front of me and was walking back and fourth on my favorite bend with a net in his hand... looking for Steelhead staging on redds to net. It was too early in the morning to start a fight with an immoral angler so I chose water a little up stream of this fellow. I hiked the two or three minute only to be greeted by no less than six men walking with waders and fly rods THROUGH the water, not along the bank with stealth as this sport demands. At this point I was near panic. This tributary isn't long, and real estate is valuable, especially on a Sunday. I wasn't going to be bested by meat hunting fools with no sense of sport. So I turned and ran. I shot through the woods, jumping downed trees and ducking low branches, trying to keep my rod tips clear of hangups. I went downstream of the aforementioned angler with a net in hand and shot across the end of the pool below him; keeping careful not to spook the hole below. I tossed my bag to the stones and dug out a bag of spawn sacs. It was now first light and getting a look at the slightly stained water from last Wednesday's rain I decided chartreuse was the color of netting I would choose, being that I brought both orange and chart. spawn sacs with brown trout eggs in them.

I could see two boulders in the hole and, being that I have not fished this hole when water was so clear, decided to exploit them for what I hoped would be nice trout holding in their eddies. On my first drift my float passed to the south of the second boulder in the deeper part of the pool and was untouched until it fell a few more feet down stream, where it twitched once, then violently twitched again. I swept my float rod sideways to check for pressure and felt something writhing on the end of the line. I retrieved it quickly to find a beautiful little creek chub on my size 6 octopus hook. I welcome life in the river, even if it isn't the quarry I intend to catch. I snapped a quick photo and returned it to this beautiful pool. I then heard the gaggle of men wading through the pool above me and knew it was time for defense, I shot my line long and diagonally up the riffle above my pool, as that would not only prevent them from crossing into my water, but also put my float through the riffles and into the first boulder's eddy.

The first and second of the six men diverted their path and walked behind me as my float drifted. I watched closely as it swung around the boulder and hung in the eddy for just a sliver of a moment, it then continued making progress downstream and suddenly shut underwater and moved to the side. It has been a long time since I last saw an orange float tip retreat to the murk of a river and thrilled to see it quickly set the hook and was instantly greeted with pressure on the end. The fish pulled quickly across the hole and the men stopped behind me. It surfaced and showed its silver side, filled with large spots. It may not have been a Steelhead but it was certainly as good, a gorgeous lake run German Brown. I landed the fish in under a minute as it was short of two feet long and no match for the line weight I was using. I grabbed the line and moved it onto the gravel in the shallows. I snatched my camera and photographed the fish as it calmly laid in inches of water and posed for a shot before I coaxed it into the depths, only touching its tail once to maneuver it toward its holding water.

I drifted this hole several more times, and seeing no signs of life, I thought it was time to move on. I know had to deal with these six men rudely tromping through the water looking all over for fish to snag with their fly rods that held only heavy monofiliment and treble hooks with a bit of yarn on the end...

I was turned off to a major degree, and having friends waiting in the harbor in Milwaukee I was happy to leave what was quickly becoming a zoo behind, and head for greener pastures, or bluer water as it were.

John clearly has some hours under his belt swinging a fly rod. He had a mean roll cast and was belting out these beautiful shots, cast after cast.

I met Mike P. and a new friend John in Milwaukee where they were floating spawn and jigging tubes in the slips. The action had been slow and there were very few fish moving so we agreed it would be to our advantage to move to the discharge. As we arrived there were no other anglers there, but upon peeking our heads over the rail we saw no less than two dozen brown trout holding in the current. Although they were easily spooked by us it wasn't long until I hooked and landed my first ever Seeforellen strain Brown Trout, pictured below.

A Seeforellen Brown Trout, note the fewer spots, he fought like a King Salmon as well.

Mike later hooked the biggest German Brown he had ever landed, a new personal best at just over 20.25 lbs. Way to go Mike. He was fishing a tube jig deep, near the bottom, jigged slowly.

Mike and his 20+ lb German Brown Trout

As the sun raised in the sky and the temperature shot into the 50's, not normal for late November... the fishing slowed and nearly halted. Fish retreated to darker, cooler water and even on the Milwaukee river we found no takers.

It had been a good day and sunset was approaching, we thought Kenosha would be a good bet for sunset and evening fishing and we boarded our vehicles and made our way down there. Float rods in hand we walked to the water in the Harbor and pitched spawn sacs and tube jigs under lighted slip floats out into the depths. Although I had 5 take downs in the first hour we were unsuccessful in even hooking any fish and after 14 hours of straight fishing we packed it up and headed for home in Chicago.

A wonderful day with two great fisherman. I feel lucky that 3 fish between 3 guys, including a first time Seeforellen, a beauty silver river German Brown, and a personal best Brown Trout over 20 pounds is a slow day!!

I'll be up north in Hudson, Wisconsin for the next 4 days and will not be fishing, but I would have you know that I'll be at it as soon as the opportunity presents itself upon my return.

Until then, good luck and I'll see ya out there.

Truly Great Lakes Anglers.

More Asian Carp News

This time it's from the Wisconsin State Journal, in Madison. Read the full article here.

I would agree in full that too much is at stake here for shrugging.

Read on:

"Too much is at stake for Wisconsin and the world's largest freshwater system to shrug off this threat as just another in a long line of invasive species.

The Army Corps of Engineers confirmed last week that Asian carp - which can grow longer than 4 feet and heavier than 100 pounds - were detected within 10 miles of Lake Michigan. They somehow spread beyond an electric barrier that was supposed to stop them.

The Corps now plans to poison a Chicago canal. Two navigational locks near the Lake Michigan shoreline also need to close or operate with much tighter restrictions because they may be the last barriers to the open lake.

Wisconsin officials should encourage a strong response to protect Lake Michigan and its delicate ecosystem from this latest and particularly worrisome foreign invader.

It's not that the Asian carp are inherently bad. But set loose on the Great Lakes, the monster fish could decimate native fish species and wreak havoc up and down the food chain.

The Asian carp eat huge volumes of plankton each day, leaving smaller and less aggressive competitors to starve.

The largest of the two Asian fish close to reaching Lake Michigan are known as bigheads. Yet the smaller silver carp pose their own unique threat.

Sliver carp jump out of the water when startled by motor boats. Some boaters in the Mississippi River basin where the leaping fish are abundant wear helmets to avoid being violently hit, according to the Associated Press."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A call to close the gates of the Chicago River.

One of the only remaining options to save the great lakes from an onslaught of Asian Carp may be to temporarily close the locks that link the Chicago River to the Chicago Harbor at Navy Pier.

An excerpt from the article.

"The Asian carp appears to be not only on the doorstep of the Great Lakes, it's managed to push the door ajar and is trying to wriggle through. But before we get used to adding a carp menu to Friday fish fries, there are still some things authorities can do to prevent a full-scale invasion.

One key step would be to temporarily close the gateways and locks in Illinois that lead from Lake Michigan to the waterways that have already been invaded by the carp, as a coalition of environmental groups urged last week. Then monitor the waterways to determine just how far the large jumping fish has come, and poison those stretches where necessary to eradicate the fish"

It's going to be a long fight boys and girls, we had better hunker down and put on the boxing gloves for this one.

-Great Lakes Angler

Fish Eye Guy Photography

Photographs of native and non-native trout in their rivers. This fellow hikes to remote locations, and gets in the faces of these fish with his lenses. Amazing stuff. This is everything I want to do. So much perfection.

Native Redband

I emplore you to check out the website.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More News on Chicago River Poisoning : Asian Carp

Some good news from, plans to shut down over 5 miles of the waterway near the Asian carp barrier are underway.

The following is borrowed from this article.

Closing a 5 1/2 -mile stretch of waterway and poisoning it is not something to take lightly. But it's more than justified by efforts to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Starting Dec. 2, a multi-agency task force will close off a portion of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal below the two electrical barriers intended to stop the carp from advancing out of the Mississippi basin and into Lake Michigan and the rest of the lakes. While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers turns off the newer, bigger barrier to inspect it, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will put a fish poison in the water and haul the carcasses to a landfill.

The barrier has been operating for six months and needs its first regular inspection, according to the Corps. Meantime, the older barrier is not considered sufficient to stop fish, especially smaller ones, from slipping through. DNA evidence from earlier tests suggests carp have come within a mile of the barrier. Hence the need for poison while the stronger barrier is down for inspection and maintenance.

Fisheries biologists have long experience with the poison that will be used and with a detoxifying chemical that is administered to counteract it. The antidote will be applied downstream to ensure no additional stretches of waterway are harmed, and then later in the poisoned stretch to return it to normal. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is contributing to the stock of antidote for the operation, and will supply up to a dozen crew members and whatever gear Illinois requests. As many as 200 people will be needed on site each day for the four to five days involved.

Some complaints have come from the shipping industry and barge operators who would have liked more lead time to prepare for the closure. But even those have been muted; most everyone seems to understand that protecting the Great Lakes takes priority here.

A third electrical barrier is supposed to be running by this time next year. In the meantime, another maintenance closure -- and presumably another round of fish poison -- may be necessary next spring.

Although it's an extreme measure, poisoning the canal should yield valuable information -- especially about how far Asian carp really have traveled -- that cannot be gleaned any other way. Let's hope the results don't suggest it should have been poisoned sooner.

We all must hope these plans are successful, as I've made clear in my recent posts, this is no matter to be taken lightly.

A Creative Solution to the Asian Carp Invasion

A great comment left on the article in the tribune :

My Bulletproof Plan

I'm going to take my boat to the barrier, run the motor in neutral to get the carp to jump, and when they do i'm going to punch one right in its face as hard as i can. As it falls back toward the water in a daze, i'll yell "and tell your friends to STAY OUT!!". Problem solved.

posted by rocketj3 on Nov 20, 09 at 1:44 pm

The Chicago Trout Bum on This Weekend's Steelhead Forecast

I say the fishing should be good this weekend, but the Chicago Trout Bum tells you why:

"Swinging streamers continues to be a productive method though fish in deeper pools behind large sections of shallow spawning gravel are keying in on eggs. Pink, chartreuse and orange egg patterns have all been producing but be sure you are fishing them at a proper depth."

Take a look at his full report here.

Additionally he sells some great Steelhead flies there that he ties himself, when it comes to hand tied flies, he's accomplished!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Asain Carp Have Arrived

This is grave news to be sure. We might remember this year as the last year we fished the great lake before the plight of the Asain Carp arrived...

Straight from an article today in the Star Tribune:

"New research shows the super-sized fish likely have made it past the $9 million electric fish barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a source familiar with the situation told the Journal Sentinel late Thursday."

In news relating to river poisoning, as I discussed earlier this week:

"In addition to plans to poison the river, the Army Corps is scrambling to build a twin to the new barrier. It also is looking at building an emergency berm to prevent the fish from riding floodwaters from the carp-infested Des Plaines River into the canal above the barrier."

This is bad news readers. Bad news indeed. Please read the article in full :: here ::

Harbor Brown Trout and Steelhead Report : 11/20/2009

A report from Mike P. over at Fishing Headquarters brings good news for those planning to hit the harbors this weekend!

Remember to be versatile, if fish are around and moving, don't sit there all night with spawn under a bobber, try casting, try bouncing spawn along the bottom, try jigs.

It's looking like a great weekend ahead for shore anglers and fly fisherman alike.

See ya out there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

South-Eastern Wisconsin Steelhead Forecast : 11/19/2009

It's that time of year again, white knuckles, rosy cheeks, numbing feet in waders, frozen guides on the fishing rod... It can only mean one thing. It's steelhead time.

Things are looking good.

The image above shows exactly what you want to see if you are a steelheader who is confined to the weekends to chase these silver trout.

All the South-Eastern Wisconsin Tributaries are looking great for your weekend. The colder it gets, the less pressure there is on the fish, and the better your chances of hooking up. It is vastly different from King Salmon fishing during the fall.

Take a look at the Chicago Trout Bum, he has some great reports from his recent trips to swing flies and drift egg patterns in Wisconsin rivers. Looks like both Lake Michigan run Brown Trout and big Steelhead are looking promising this weekend.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicago River to be Poisoned : Asian Carp

Straight from the Chicago Tribune :

"Alarmed that Asian carp are swimming closer to Lake Michigan, state officials plan next month to poison a stretch of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal."

"The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that it will dump Rotenone, a potent fish-killing chemical, into the canal between Romeoville and the Lockport Dam in early December."

"Poisoning the canal has been considered a last-ditch solution to preventing Asian carp from spreading into the Great Lakes, where the fish are considered a serious threat to the region's $4.5 billion sport fishing industry. The main deterrent has been two electrified barriers in the canal near Romeoville, but one will be shut off for maintenance next month, and the other is considered too weak to stop younger fish from swimming through."

I would be interested in viewing the shocking they plan on doing to relocate native fish. It is always fascinating to see the diversity of fish in a system.
Here is some more about the electro shocking.

"Before Rotenone is applied to the canal, crews will use electrodes to shock fish to the surface and identify sport fish that can be safely relocated. After the dead carp are sent to a landfill, the crews will apply another substance that speeds up the breakdown of Rotenone, a chemical widely used across the country to kill invasive fish.

Rotenone is not considered a serious threat to people or wildlife. Water quality experts from the Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency will monitor water quality downstream to ensure the chemical doesn't drift beyond the targeted area. And the Sanitary and Ship Canal will be closed to boat traffic for up to five days."

We'll see if it works, and I'll keep you updated if I learn anything new.

-Great Lakes Angler

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fish Can't Read : November Issue 2

The second issue of the e-zine Fish Can't Read, Fly Fisherman Can was released yesterday. Hot off the virtual presses, have a look at the website and enjoy.

I could do without the drop shadow... but hey, it's not my magazine.

Trout Fishing : By William Earl Hodgson

Trout Fishing, written by William Earl Hodgson in 1904

Some fun reading material for you, reasoning why trout act the way they do, not much has changed in 105 years.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kenosha Brown Trout Fishing Report : 11/11/2009

It was a slow night in Kenosha on Wednesday as I met with Mike and Dawn to float spawn sacs under lighted floats. I had a take down within 15 minutes of being there but upon setting the hook found nothing on the business end.

The night was devoid of activity until we left in time for me to get a few winks of sleep before morning. We were deep in the boat harbor, there were a number of Brown Trout and some Steelhead porpoising around us but none were interested in a dance.

Mike and Dawn waiting for a take down... air temperature 34 degrees when I left.

One rough looking buck that was landed by our crew just before we left. Not much of a fight. Hoping for rain and cooler weather, as much as I've enjoyed this Indian summer it's time for some November.

I've been called into duty this week, I'll be shooting a building in Indiana and will not be able to fire off any shots for Steelhead or Browns, I certainly hope your weekend is free of work and full of fish.

Bitten Shark Gives Birth From Wound

A shark with a massive gash on the left side of it's body successfully gave birth this week from that gash. It happened in New Zeland.

Watch the video here from CNN.

Bass on the Fly Rod : Desert Bass Fishing

Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Harbors are Calling

Sneaking away with a friend after work to try to entice a Brown Trout or two. Reports upon my return.

I'll be at an undisclosed Wisconsin harbor, see you there.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

South-Eastern Wisconsin Brown Trout : 11/10/2009

A friend, Keith, landed this beauty of a brown this weekend on his fly rod. Way to go Keith.

We could use some more rain soon to keep things moving, the fish left in the river are starting to get docile and lack activity. A new push of fresh fish would be great news.

On Norwegian Farmed Salmon

For the same reasons that corn from horizon to horizon here in America is bad for the land and for us, this video serves as a glance into what harm can come of farming Salmon. This comes shortly after the escape of tens of thousands of Salmon from a farm in British Columbia.

Including Sea Lice and adverse effects on the economy, take a look at this video.

Views on Domesticated Brown Trout : David @ Chicago Trout Bum

I had the pleasure of reading this article by David, founder of the Chicago Trout Bum. The article goes into man's relationship with the Brown Trout in America which, as we know, was introduced to America in February of 1883.

An excerpt from David's essay : "As a European import, the fish where-ever wild will never be native, but that doesn't bother me much at all. From the angler perspective, any wild born fish will provide me with the thoroughly humbling, sometimes baffling experience I was after in the first place."

To learn more about the foothold Brown Trout have established here in America have a look here at this Smithsonian article detailing just that.

Thanks David for a nice read, I hope some of my viewers get the pleasure of reading it as well.

Monday, November 9, 2009

9/11 Tribute Fly

While it is in good intention that this beautiful fly was tied... It just puts a smile on my face for some reason. Oh America.

Here it is, stumbled across it this evening looking at classic Salmon fly patterns, not sure how this worked into the mix.

Abel Money Clip : A Chirstmas Gift for the Great Lakes Angler??

If anyone really wants to make the Great Lakes Angler happy this chirstmas this Abel Money Clip would sure slip nicely over the 3 dollar bills I have left after a year of buying rods, reels, line, floats, dozens of crank baits and casting spoons, dipsey divers, more line, trolling spoons (which I don't even use...), etc.

I'd be the happiest angler on the river with this frivolous piece of beauty in my pocket, I would be happy with Brook or Brown Trout (or even Tarpon for that matter). Delicious.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wisconsin Heat Wave : It's (not) beginning to look a lot like Chirstmas

70 degree weather and sunny skies over lower Lake Michigan this weekend threw a wrench in the gears of harbor fishermen in Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Racine.

The bright sun, high pressure, and mild weather took the chill out of the air and sent fresh trout packing for cooler, deeper, darker lies beyond the reach of shore fishermen. King salmon are still around in handfuls but targeting these fish is almost unsportsmanlike, considering they are literally floating in their own deathbed at this point. Look for cooler weather to bring these hard hitting hard fighting trout back to the reach of your spawn sack or spinner.

River fisherman reported a mix of triumph and failure with the fly rod this weekend. I suspect the early morning hours have produced more fish than high noon. A day on the water with weather like we had this weekend... and in November... worth it even if you don't find a hungry migratory trout to take you for a spin.

I postponed my return to the harbors until next Sunday, when I will cross my fingers for a repeat performance of the victory I saw last weekend.

If you had success this weekend, weather that means catching fish or just some sun rays, write me an email at and I'll post your photos or reports here for the rest of us to read.

See ya out there.

Historical Willow River Falls Dam : St. Croix County

Near and dear to the Great Lakes Angler, due to their proximity to my childhood home in Hudson, Wisconsin, stand the Willow Falls. Below the falls here on the Willow River is where I caught my first Wisconsin Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Brown Trout. I stumbled upon these photographs of the Willow Falls Dam before it was removed in 1992 as well as this photograph of the falls before the dam went in.

The falls before 1992 while the dam was fully functional.

The falls pre-dam in the 1800's.

The falls and cliffs that surround them are one of Wisconsin's treasures, a place all Great Lakes Anglers should feel right at home.

Milwaukee River Open House

Again, from the Milwaukee Riverkeeper:

Public Information Open House for the Lincoln Park and Milwaukee River Channels Sediment Remediation and Restoration Project

Please come to talk one-on-one with representatives from the US EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office, Wisconsin DNR, Milwaukee County and the State Health Department and learn more about how we can work together to clean Lincoln Park and the Milwaukee River Channels.

Stop by anytime between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm. There is no formal program.

November 10th, 2009 3:00 PM through 7:00 PM
1000 W. Hampton Ave.
Milwaukee, WI
United States
Phone: (414) 263-8708

Governor Doyle Heralds Kinnickinnic Cleanup Effort

"Milwaukee Riverkeeper fought hard over the last couple of years to have the Kinnickinnic River recognized as one of the nation's "Most Endangered Rivers" and to advocate for an extensive cleanup effort. The first leg of the cleanup was the recent dredging effort between Beecher and 1st St. led by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources"

"Over the past four months federal, state and local agencies have worked together to remove 167,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the Kinnickinnic River between Becher Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. A former brownfields site next to the river has sprouted a boater's lounge in a newly refurbished office building, a microbrewery, additional boat slips, moorings and fisherman wharves, riverwalks and a boat launch ramp."

"The river was cleaned up using $14.3 million from the Great Lakes Legacy Act fund and $7.7 million provided by Governor Doyle's "Grow Milwaukee" initiative. The project took place between June 3, 2009 and October 3, 2009. Dredging ended ahead of schedule.

The cleanup removed about 1,200 lbs. of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 13,000 lbs. of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (a byproduct of petroleum) that were contaminating the river. The dredged material was transported by barge and disposed in a special cell within the Milwaukee Area Confined Disposal Facility at Jones Island, owned by the City of Milwaukee and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."

Great stuff, something to be proud of for Milwaukee. It is certainly a good thing to see a city taking responsibility for decades of pollution and wastewater flowing directly into a Great Lakes drainage.

Hats off to the Milwaukee Riverkeeper as well for pushing for and keeping tabs on this project as well as other river projects in the district.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

40,000 Atlantic Salmon Escape From B.C. Farm

This may not sound like bad news, but domesticated farm raised salmon escaping and mixing with the gene pool is never a good thing.

A pair of large holes was discovered by divers a couple of weeks back in one of the containment nets that hold in tens of thousands of Atlantic Salmon. Some 40,000 salmon escaped before divers were able to repair the holes. You can read the full article here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chicago Trout Bum Scores some Trout : Milwaukee River Fishing

Yesterday my friend David, who runs the Chicago Trout Bum, hit a personal best Lake Run Brown Trout on the Milwaukee river. Read his report here.

He also got 2 Steelhead, not a bad day out. He's back up there today, I hope he gets a repeat!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Chicago River

Keeping tabs on the water and the city I live in. Shot this tonight on the walk to the train from work.

Kinzie Street Bridge

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This Is Fly : E-Magazine : November Issue

Enough fish photographs and lines of text that paint photographs of their own.

Catch Magazine : E-Magazine : November Issue

A new issue of Catch Magazine has hit the... shelves?


Monday, November 2, 2009

Kinnickinnic River Milwaukee : To Be Reengineered

This could be good for you, for me, and for every water loving Milwaukee going fisherman.

Straight from the Bay View Compass, this article details the acquisition of more than 80 properties to rebuild this concretized river. The plans call to divide the river in to three "phases"

Phase 3 : Collect : Emphasis on water collection and storm water management.

Phase 2 : Gather : Emphasis on community

Phase 1 : Grow : Emphasis on Urban Agriculture

They allow up to 10 years for property management, the project will cost the city about 49 million dollars and will widen the channel considerably, to allow for large runoff and to create space for community interaction.

Sounds like an interesting project, it's a nasty situation right now, and they will be improving it and replacing a bunch of beat up old bridges. Go Milwaukee, I hope they get things right here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

White Bear Lake : Winter Carnival : Ice Fishing Tournament is Back!

White Bear Lake will host what was an old tradition, the Winter Carnival Ice Fishing Tournament, and event that used to draw 10,000 people to the lake for a day of frozen knuckles, flopping fish, and prizes. They shut the tournament down in 1982, but now, for the first time in nearly 30 years, it's going to be back for the 2010 carnival this winter.

Photograph by Great Lakes Angler (on Lake Michigan, sorry I don't have any ice on WBL)

The full story at WCCO News.

Milwaukee Harbor Salmon Fishing Report : November 1st 2009

The Milwaukee harbor is starting to swell with Brown Trout and Steelhead, which will park themselves in the harbor until spring. This is great news for any angler who may be sick of reeling in zombie King Salmon.

The final count today was somewhere in the range of 1 king salmon, 5 brown trout, and 3 Steelhead. Mike, Keith and myself found ourselves hooking up every 10 minutes or so from first light until around 10:00, when things slowed down.

My first Brown Trout of the day.

Upon my arrival Keith and Mike had both already hooked up, Keith with a Brown on a tube jig, and mike with a King on Brown Trout spawn under a float. Things were encouraging, before I could finish stringing my line up mike hooked a King and Keith netted it. Before I could get a second cast in Keith lit up another brown trout, which he landed this time. I then plucked a brown of my own after something like 10 minutes. In the first 2 hours we had bagged 4 and lost at least as many more.

Using an blue/white x-rap I landed my first, my second hook up came on a super rooster tail, I then lost a 15 pound + brown trout who snapped my line and took my lucky x-rap with it into the depths. My big fat female brown was bagged on spawn under a float, as were the rest of the fish (except Mike's Steelhead, which he hit bouncing spawn along the bottom).

I didn't even plan on going out this weekend, it was a frigid, enjoyable morning, and I'm happy I went. All but 1 brown were released today to spawn, we had one nice female brown who took some spawn down deep, we will use those eggs this month in Milwaukee and Kenosha for more Brown Trout action.

Enjoy the rest of the photographs, and I'll see ya out there.