As I mentioned a while back, I have taken a stab at wet-wading. I found another creek near my house, found a DNR study that said it contained smallmouth, and decided to check it out.
I fished it twice this week. Entered at the same point each time, first day I went one direction, next day I went the opposite. This creek is not as deep as the first one I tried out, but it also contains a lot more rocks, timber and holes. The first thing I noticed in the first fishable pool I encountered were carp. I immediately regretted not bringing any bread, but the study I read showed no carp in the location I was fishing. Guess that is what I get for basing my tackle choice on old reconnaissance.
Anyway, after a few minutes of trying to trick them into taking a feathered jig, I pressed on, in search of willing dance partners. I had my Cabin Creek 1/32 oz pop eye feather jig tied on. It’s tough to cast with 6lb mono and a 5’6″ rod, but the creek is small, shallow, and since I was wading, distance wasn’t important. I could walk near enough to the spot I wanted to cast to, and either drop it in vertically or flip it out a few feet. It was simple fishing, and it provided plenty of fish for me.
I didn’t keep a running tally of how many fish I caught. There were a ton of bluegill and green sunfish, a few creek chugs (big ones) and 3 or 4 smallies, most of them able to fit snugly in the palm of my hand.
Traversing upstream I encountered a lot of obstacles, all of which made me lament not having better equipment for wading. The combination of Crocs and basketball shorts are nice in that they are light, easy to clean and dry quick, but when it comes to climbing over submerged rocks covered in moss, slick tree trunks or climbing up a muddy bank, it can get dicey. If I had hip or chest waders, I could maneuver under a lot of the stuff that I am forced to bypass or climb over.
The traversal was worth it, though. Not because I found a great honeyhole full of giant smallies…but just because I felt miles away from civilization, even though I was not only 5 minutes from I-90, but because I was also only 5 minutes from my home. It is picturesque and quiet, two of the things I value most when I am fishing.
One of the lessons I have learned in my limited experience wading is to travel light. For my second trip, I brought the same feather jig and one small bare hook to try and catch a carp. After the carp were ambivalent to my offerings, I headed downstream. There I found a lot more twists and turns, some stronger current, some deeper holes and much more negotiable terrain. Also found the same slew of greenies, gills, chubs and small smallies. Behind some downed timber at the end of an inside bend, out of the current, in deep, stained water, I found this guy.
All in all, I have really taken a liking to fishing these small creeks. Sure, it would be nice if I could hook up with a keeper every now and then, but with the levels down and being this far upstream the river, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. I still haven’t stepped into the Fox yet. I don’t know if I can/will until I can get out there with someone else more experienced. I also will have to sacrifice an old pair of boots when I do. Clear creeks where I can look at each place I plan to make footfall are sufficient for Crocs, but I’ve lost enough lures in the Fox to know that if I step on a treble hook in Crocs, it can mean a one-way ticket to tetanus town, and that’s not somewhere I want to go.
P.S. Is anyone else freaked the fuck out by how quickly crawfish can swim?