By Ben Gruber
May 6 marked the general fishing opener on inland waters throughout the state. For many, it is a near-religious holiday to fish the opener. I have never really been that into it. I spent most of Saturday at training for work, wondering who the heck schedules training on the fishing opener.
With weather that beautiful, this year I sure wished I was on the water. I heard stories of mixed results from buddies that made it out.
The Wisconsin River is still running fast and dirty, trying to recover from all the recent rains. These last few dry days have helped bring the water levels back down, and fishing there should improve. It sounds like the walleyes and white bass are mostly done with their spawning and are starting to disperse back down the river and into the flowages.
Water temperatures are too cool yet for the crappies to really move into the shallows, but it could happen soon now. Bluegills might start to wander into shallow bays that get some southern exposure and warm a little faster. Bugs and other aquatic critters are starting to hatch, evidenced by the swallows’ acrobatic performances just over the water’s surface.
I have not heard any reports from smaller lakes and ponds in the area, but I would expect fishing to start picking up on those waters quickly.
I am hoping to get to the western part of the state for some trout stream fishing. I have a turkey tag for next weekend, and I usually try to sneak in a few casts for trout in between turkey sets. I am not sure I will be able to sneak it in this weekend though.
I did have a little fun on the water on Saturday. When I got home from training, my daughter was bursting with excitement to share her big find of the day. She spotted some fish in our creek while out for a walk her mother and wanted to go back and try to catch some. I suspected they were suckers that had swum upstream to spawn and got stuck, and we headed back to try and catch a few.
We did not take bait and hooks but instead grabbed a smelt dip net that has been hanging in our shed since we moved in. Once we got back there, the creek was crystal clear and only about two feet across and just over a foot deep in most places. I could see a school of small fish with the biggest being maybe four inches. They were pretty skittish, but thanks to the playfulness of a black lab puppy, they were soon forced into the net. We caught two of them, and they turned out to be creek chubs.
Addy was pretty proud that we managed to catch them and could prove her mother wrong. (She doubted our ability to be stealthy enough to catch them.) Addy refused to let go of them and carried one in each hand all the way back to the house. They are currently in the fridge as Addy insists that she is going to eat them.
I am searching for a recipe for creek chubs and not really coming up with anything. I guess maybe we will fry them up just like a smelt. It does not take much to entertain the kids, or me for that matter.
Ben Gruber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.