Monday, May 28, 2012

Trio of Salmonidae

Fished with Leann and Terry this weekend on Big Green Lake on Saturday and on Lake Michigan out of Milwaukee on Sunday. It rained Saturday morning on Green Lake, so when we launched the boat we had the lake mostly to ourselves. We trolled with a variety of spoons and crankbaits in about 90 feet of water. Only caught one fish, but it was a lifer lake trout for me! It was also the biggest lake trout Terry has pulled into his boat from Green Lake, and it's the first time he's caught one trolling (he's caught plenty ice fishing in the winter). Forgot to get length or weight, but it was a nice fish! (The facial hair was part of our annual redneck games, which took place Saturday afternoon.)

Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) - new hook & line species #52

Saturday night we went back to Terry's house in Milwaukee. Blew out a tire on the highway going 75, but luckily I was able to get the spare on just a few minutes before it started down-pouring. Sunday morning we got up early and went out on Lake Michigan to fish for salmon. In about 100 feet of water Terry and I each pulled in 12 lb chinook salmon, I caught a 4 lb coho salmon, and Terry caught a small lake trout.

12 lb Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

4 lb Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)

We didn't have any live bait, but I really wanted to show Leann what the round gobies look like that are all over Milwaukee harbor. (Sorry if this next part is a little gross to some people.) We tried fishing jigs with plastic tails with no success, so I had to improvise by cutting open the lake trout and using his stomach contents for bait. Pieces of an alewife did the trick. Caught a few gobies to show Leann, and we headed back to the house to clean the salmon and trout and get them in the freezer.
Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lifers from a ditch, the Copper Slough

On my drive back from Ohio, I stopped by Champaign, IL to see my fishing buddy Jeff. He didn't have time to fish with me, but he pointed me in the direction of a drainage ditch that is supposed to contain pirate perch. The ditch connects to the Copper Slough, which in turn empties into the Kaskaskia River further south. The ditch sure didn't look like much. Can you even tell there is water flowing?

Under bridges there were larger pools. Looks like a good spot to break out the micro gear.

No pirate perch, but within a few minutes I had three new life listers!

Blackstripe Topminnow (Fundulus notatus) - new hook & line species #47

Grass Pickerel (Esox americanus vermiculatus) - new hook & line species #48

Tadpole Madtom (Noturus gyrinus) - new hook & line species #49

I also picked up a few sunfish

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

Hybrid Sunfish (Green Sunfish X Central Longear Sunfish)

Not bad for a ditch! I'll be back looking for that pirate perch next time!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Little Miami River, OH

Last weekend Leann and I did a canoe float and camping trip on the Little Miami River, northeast of Cincinnati, OH. I'll keep the writeup brief, using pics instead. Hope you enjoy!

Nice sunny day for a canoe float.

Only one fish during the day, a spotted bass. A new lifter for Leann!

Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus)

Taking a break.

If I can't catch fish hook and line, it's only a matter of time before the net comes out.

Rainbow darter (Etheostoma caeruleum)

After releasing him, he decided to hang out for a while.

Awesome campsite by the river, we were all to ourselves!

Once the sun went down, the fishing picked up. A nice ~20" channel cat.

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

A soft shelled turtle wanted my worm too! He was not happy with us.

And a new lifter! A northern hogsucker, caught in a fast moving shallow part of the river.

Northern Hogsucker (Hypentelium nigricans) - new hook & line species #46

And several silver redhorse.

Silver Redhorse (Moxostoma anisurum)

Fried catfish and redhorse for lunch the next day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Black Earth Creek, WI

After hearing about Black Earth Creek from several of our friends, my roommate Ryan and I finally had to go see it for ourselves.  We drove to a public access spot west of Madison where you can fish both the creek and a pond.  We saw carp and bluegill near the dock in the pond, but further out we saw a school of golden shiners.  We each caught one, and boy were they colorful!

Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)

The school was easy to keep track of, because they always stayed near the surface.

I saw a few brown trout in the creek, but they were small and spooked easily.  I decided to focus on a the redhorse that were sitting at the bottom of a pool instead.  I carefully positioned a small piece of nightcrawler in front of them and waited.  Eventually, one of the redhorse started to move towards my bait, but before it could reach the bit of worm, something else raced over from the undercut bank and grabbed it.  The bait thief turned out to be a new lifer!

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) - new hook & line species #45

Ryan and I drove to another access point further downstream.  We waded for quite a while, seeing a lot of small fish, but we kept looking for something larger to target.  I found more redhorse at the head of a pool, and again placed my bait in front of them.  One of them came forward to nibble it, and after a brief fight I had a very photogenic golden redhorse in my hand.

Golden Redhorse (Moxostoma erythrurum)

From what I've heard, Black Earth Creek gets quite a bit of fishing pressure.  It's one of the best trout streams near Madison, so it's understandable that a lot of people visit it, but if you can find a stretch of the creek that hasn't been disturbed in a while, it's well worth the drive.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Microfishing in Hallock Creek, IL

After my introduction to microfishing in Japan back in 2008, I was ready to give it another try in the states. I grew up playing in the creek behind my parents' house, and I knew what species were in it - creek chub, central stoneroller, southern redbelly dace, western blacknose dace, orangethroat darter, and fantail darter. My family bought me a selection of micro hooks from, and I was excited to try them out. I ventured down the road to where my parents' stream merges with Hallock Creek. My bait was a locally sourced earthworm (from the streambank). Using #20 and #26 hooks, I didn't do too bad!

Southern Rebelly Dace (Chrosomus erythrogaster) - new hook & line species #40

Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys obtusus) - new hook & line species #41

Orangethroat Darter (Etheostoma spectabile) - new hook & line species #42