TRIP TWO: CHIPPEWA AND NAMEKAGON RIVERS
From Pembine we drove across the top of Wisconsin on state "two-laner" Highway Eight on Sunday, August 9, 2009. It was a good highway all the way to Ladysmith where we took another good state "two-laner" thirty miles up to Hayward.
This spring, at the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance fund raiser, I had won a half-day guided trip, which I extended to a two day trip, with Hayward muskie Guide Brad Bohen of Musky County Outfitters. Brad caught a flyrod world record muskie last year in the Hayward area. We wanted to fish for smallies and not to blind cast with heavy rods for muskie for two days. Brad said there were plenty of smallies and that he even caught them on his big muskie flies.
Monday, August 10, we fished the Chippewa, which was over an hour away. Fishing in the morning with poppers and streamers yielded only one or two each. We again switched to back up spinning tackle and started catching a fair number. I lost the fish of the trip on a Rapala that threw the hook. We saw a muskie near the launch and a couple of others through the day. We used Brad's 9-weight and 10-weight flyrods with big streamers in a couple of good spots with no luck on muskie.
Jeff and Brad saw a mother black bear with two cubs while spotting the car for the pickup. We also saw an Osprey and several eagles on our back-to-back trips.
Tuesday we fished the smaller Namekagon outside of Hayward. We scraped bottom frequently during the first hour. The river changed to a Wild and Scenic River outside the town limits and it was one of the most beautiful rivers I've seen. The day was bright and sunny and the fishing was good. We got about a dozen smallies each. I again lost a big fish that threw my barb-less popper. We saw about ten or twelve muskie during the day some of which were in deep holes and others just cruising by. We saw hundreds of Redhorse Suckers, most in large schools, and some up to five or six pounds.
All-in-all the fishing was OK but the popper fishing especially was not as good as the past three years because of the low water and cool temperatures so far this summer.