Last week, I had to go over to La Crosse for some training. Never one to miss an opportunity, I was able to work it so that I could fish my way home through the heart of the driftless. But I was also smart enough to stop at a few roadside attractions to add them to the list.
Multitasking. MacLoosh style.
I hadn't really decided which creek I was going to fish ahead of time. The loosely organized plan was: if I made it as far as Viroqua before finding enticing water, I would stop in at the Driftless Angler for some local knowledge.
I have to admit, it didn't take but a few miles into my trip from La Crosse down Hwy 14/61 and I pretty much couldn't stand it anymore. To avoid crashing my vehicle while I was craning my neck to look over every bridge or creek that I saw (at highway speed), I decided that Coon Valley was far enough. So by the time I hit the CV town limits, I was a jabbering mess. Muttering to myself, cursing the pesky people trying to actually make time on the highway, howling along to Disturbed's "Down with the Sickness", and tossing every bit of self control out of the window.
I Needed to fish!
After turning north on Cty P, stopping and peering over the first bridge, only to see a 14-15" fish go skittering off into the safety of the rocks...I knew I had found my spot for the evening. So I set up shop on the side of the road, only to realize that I had used up all of my camera battery on the roadside attractions. I wasn't terribly concerned, I had my phone, which usually doubles as my backup. I geared up, and headed off to the water. Only to realize that I had left my phone in my truck. Damn.
It didn't take long for me to rationalize the fact that I would have no way to "prove" it if I caught 'the big one', therefore my odds may have inadvertently improved dramatically. The only scientific way to test this theory would be to fish hard, sans camera. Besides, I had the essentials; license, 4wt rod (with reel), two boxes full of flies and an endless supply of optimism. What more did I really NEED?
That's me. Glass half full. <insert maniacal laughter here>
The fishing was good, but I can't tell you that I caught troutzilla. I do think there was a decent (18" +) fish in the area, I just didn't get a chance to raise him. I did, however manage to swindle multiple fish in the 11-13" range into taking a pink squirrel. (A driftless chiche'? Maybe...but damnit...they work)
After the first fish (insuring that I hadn't gotten skunked...) I quit counting. At some point, I had even caught enough to drift away from the safety of the pink squirrel so I tried several other patterns I don't usually fish. No luck with those patterns, but the fact that I was experimenting was a sure sign that things were going well.
I fished until dark, and then relied on my GPS to get me back on the way home, with a long drive to go. Good fishing takes a lot out of you, so a long drive had me wishing I had a campsite nearby. A campfire and a beer would have topped things off nicely. But...no such luck, so it was up to a 16oz. Redbull, enough "road" music to keep my hands at a steady drumbeat and the thought of my comfortable bed waiting for me at the end of the road to keep me moving forward.
I also mentioned that I scored multiple roadside attractions. I LOVE weird things...
Here is a photographic recap:
|World's Largest 6-Pack. Yes Please.|
|King Gambrinus the "Patron Saint of Beer"|
|Giant baseball bat & ball - Cheesy...but still a roadside attraction|
|Seriously cool eagle statue|
|Anybody who has spent any quality time in LAX understands the significance of The Library|
|Nothing says "Welcome to Wisconsin" quite like a giant rat dressed like a cowboy (in the middle of the state...)|
|Big ass bike - Sparta|
|Who doesn't love a rootbeer drinkin' roller skatin' sweater wearing bear? - Sparta|