I made it up to northern Wisconsin this weekend for the first nice weather of the year. I fished alone and on foot Friday. It was partly sunny on Friday with a high around 50. The wind was blowing 10-15 mph all day. The stoneflies were hatching and with the wind were ending up in the river. Rising was spotty, but when I found fish rising, they were rising pretty heavy. I caught a very fat 15" brown around 11 am on a streamer. Around 2:30 I came up to 6 or 7 fish rising consistently. I picked one out, cast a streamer to it, and caught it. Another fat healthy fish, 14". The fish continued rising, so I switched to a dry. Admittedly, I am a terrible dry fly fisher. I felt I was making pretty quality casts, but no fish. I switched between a few different small black dries. Towards the end I started skating them a little bit. I was hoping this would work because I could pick out a bug on the water, watch it skitter around, then get sucked down with a violent splash from a trout. Still no takes. I didn't even need to catch one, it was just fun to watch. From what I can gather, this river is one of Troutnut's old haunts. I think I could have used his help with the hatch.
I switched back to a streamer and switched spots on the river. I chose a stretch that I know well. I had 1.5 hrs until sundown. I walked downstream fishing every piece of water that could hold fish, concentrating on down trees. I finished fishing the spot I usually stop at. There was still some light so I decided to keep going, hoping a big brown was waiting until dark to eat. I spotted a nice little down tree. After that the water looked thin for quite a ways. I knew that tree was my last shot. On my third cast I saw a flash, a swirl, and my rod was doubled over. The fish put up a nice fight. It came completely out of the water twice. I finally hauled it in, got a quick measurement, and put it back. The fish measured at 19". I am still waiting on something 20" or better, but a nice fish for sure.
Saturday was cool and rainy in the morning. The rain quit and the sun made an appearance around 3 pm. The high was 45. A friend and I fished together on Saturday. We took out our new pontoons for the first time. No hatches, and no fish. We spent more time figuring out and fine tuning the pontoons than we did fishing. Also, I think 8 miles was a bit lofty for our first time out floating. I didn't care about the lack of fish. The scenery along this river was great and it was fun to spend a day floating with a good friend.
Things are looking up from here. Spring is upon us, and the fishing is about to get good!