Having a blast during trout run

Mark Walters

One of the best parts of being an outdoor adventures writer is all of the really good people that I have met and spent time in the outdoors with over the last 22 years. This past week was no exception!

Monday, May 9

High 67, Low 46

My first trout of the season was a 12-inch brown, that I caught on Plum creek which is a beautiful stream located in Crawford County. I was using a crawler and a small split shot and watched the trout gobble up the bait as it was floating down stream.

Not far away with a fly rod in hand was my new buddy, Jerry Cummings! Jerry Cummings is 68, from Prairie du Chien and retired from 3M.

I would spend the next two days fishing and listening to Cummings’ stories, and learned that his two greatest passions are traveling the world as a downhill skier and trout fishing.

This past winter, Jerry skied Montana’s “Big Sky,”flew to France, had some fun on “Chamonix” and skied locally on Devils Head, Cascade and up north in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

Jerry Cummings is an active member of the Prairie du Chien Rod and Gun Club and heads up their fish habitat department. Specifically, Jerry works with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) on helping obtain funds and labor for trout stream habitat improvement.

The section of Plum creek that we were fishing today has both the easement for walking from your vehicle to the stream as well an easement to fish from shore.

I would be shown several sections of different streams where getting from the road to the stream was almost impossible if a person did not want to be taking the chance of receiving a trespassing ticket.

When the WDNR obtains an easement, which in most cases is perpetual, that section of stream can be put on the agenda for habitat improvement.

In a nutshell, stream improvement can mean erosion control, boulder placement and the creation of “lunkers” which is log cribs with rocks placed on top of them on the stream banks.

I was also shown several, 8 to-14- foot-long logs that are placed under water which creates hiding spots for trout like the “lunkers” do on the stream bank.

In the end, fast-growing annuals and perennials are planted which completes the job.

Jerry seems to enjoy using a fly rod the most and occasionally a spinning rod, with either small crank bait or a spinner. I like a crawler and break things up with a spinner.

For myself, I find pure pleasure and relaxation in hiding near a deep hole while trying to trick a trout into sucking up my bait. On this trip, catching trout was easy and I actually switched over to spinners just to slow down the catching.

When I land a trout, if it is not going into the frying pan my thoughts are 100 percent into making sure the fish is released to swim another day.

Minimum time out of the water and careful surgery on removing the hook are two “must-follow” in safely releasing a trout.

Our second day of fishing was spent touring Crawford County and putting some time on Sugar Creek near Ferryville. The temperature hit 91 degrees.

Both of us were wearing chest waders and it was brutal as there still were not leaves on the trees and the direct sun, as you might imagine, created a nasty humidity inside the waders.

Jerry is a unique man who is doing his part to help the streams in Crawford County. We ended our experience by sharing a meal on Sugar Creek and said our good-byes after a much-appreciated cold beer!

Still having fun!


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