Another watershed that I visited this past week near Madison, Wisconsin was Mt. Vernon Creek. This is another spring creek that flows through a small town, some farmland, and natural areas for a total of about eight miles. All of its water is classified as trout water.
In many places the grass around the creek was as tall as I am, so it made it hard to fish from shore. The water was also deceptively deep. At one point I needed to cross the river, so I chose a shallower spot to cross. I realized my mistake when upon entering, the water was almost to my shoulders. This creek also had deep aquatic plant beds of watercress and other vegetation. These plant beds hid the depth of the water and springs and also gave great cover for the fish.
It was tough fishing. The fish spooked easy, but I did catch some. While there, I experienced a tan caddis hatch that lasted about 45 minutes. Once the fish started taking these caddis on the surface, a smile broke on my face and I quickly tied on a size 16 elk hair caddis pattern. With the emerging insects, the tougher fishing turned easy for a time and I was able to catch six brown trout.
The largest trout that I hooked came when a red winged black bird repeatedly flew circles over my head while squawking. The grass where I stood was about five feet high, so if its nest was nearby, I would never see it. The bird never dove on me, but he stayed just out of my reach as he circled for about a minute. I tried to ignore him, but he was flying in my rods casting path, so I just waited him out. Finally, something in the bird changed and he flew off. I shook my head and cast my fly toward an undercut near a large submerged log. A long dark shape came from the darkness and took my fly, and then it quickly darted under the long undercut area. The fish gave me no chance, and it quickly got off and snagged my fly somewhere in the depths.
In my morning of fishing, I came across several ducks with young, and they often spooked every fishing hole in front of me trying to get away. One mother duck left her young in its nest and went crazy trying to get me to follow her up stream. She was stressed and I was stressed after spooking about 50 yards of very good water.
I managed to catch 11 brown trout in my morning at Mt. Vernon Creek, and there was still much more river to explore and fish. I hiked back to my car and headed home, and I hoped to return again soon.
Also, here is a little bit of movie footage from Mt. Vernon Creek.