Northern Wisconsin has been absolutely inundated with rain. Just lambasted, to the point that the waters I fish are at least 18" to two feet higher than they were at this time last year. High water always makes fly fishing very difficult. So what do you do when the water is too high to fish topwater bugs on a fly rod?
Well, you can always nymph and streamer fish, which I decided to do.
The problem with this kind of fishing at this time of year is the fact that there are literally clouds of baitfish -- perch and sunfish -- which clog the waters and make it nearly impossible to get a nymph or streamer down to where a nice bass or pike would see it. I despaired ever getting into bigger fish -- and I had a job. I was being tasked with testing a new Tycoon Tackle Co. fly rod.
With options for fish running out, I turned to my brother in desperation. The new graphite fly rod manufactured by Tycoon Tackle is called the Martha Ann, named after the mother of Tycoon's owner Tim O'Brien. It's a beauty of a rod, that casts a fly line like a cannon, but I needed to get into some big fish to see how it handled. A fly rod that casts well but can't handle a fish is like a car that runs perfectly only in straight lines.
By the way, the rod is also a fund raising rod for Casting for Recovery. Pretty classy move by Tim and the Tycoon folks.
Enter my brother. He's always loved fly rods, and his particular skill is attaching ultralight spinning reels to them and fishing deep water for big walleye and pike. So in order to test the backbone, I turned it over to him, and he put on a reel and tied on a huge Husky Jerk. Within minutes he was into a 17" walleye. The rod performed like a champ.
Soon we were into bigger fish. Again a rod designed for trout was absolutely crushing big walleyes, the biggest of which (pictured below) came in at 24". It even got an eight pound pike that threw the hooks a few feet from the boat. It's a honey of a rod and strong to boot.
So I proclaim this amazing rod a success. If it can handle a big northern or walleyed pike in open water, what do you think it can do for a trout in a middling sized stream?
-- Dr. Todd