"Continuous effort-not strength or intelligence-is the key to unlocking our potential." -Winston Churchill
As I headed down the highway my head was full of thoughts that revolved around the idea of casting from the shoreline. I had gotten a call a few days earlier from none other than my mother. She called to let me know that Pleasant Creek lake was thawed and I could leave the grand kids with her and spend the whole weekend fishing. I was skeptical that a lake only 3 hours away would be thawed when all the lakes around Madison were frozen with over 20 inches of ice. She assured me that the lake was open, and I must admit that I am pretty burnt out on vertical jigging.
|The Lake is FROZEN...|
The air temperature was a balmy 29 degrees when I exited my vehicle. As I surveyed the lake I quickly realized that my wonderful mother was mistaken. Pleasant Creek lake was still frozen. My heart sank, I was so hoping for an early season musky. Now what? I was gonna get to try out my new backpack and waders. I got them over the winter and starring at them in my bedroom everyday was slowly starting to kill me. All I wanted to do was use them, just one time before the Wisconsin season opened. I got back in the car and headed down the road to my parents house. As I entered the door my dad said, "Your back early, guess your mom was wrong?" He could tell I was down, "Why not try the river?" "It's up a few feet, but it should be safe enough for you to try out those waders." Of course, the RIVER! Why didn't I think of that?
|The beautiful banks of the Cedar River.|
|Frozen levelwind on a Revo Toro Winch.|
Now time for a bit of a confession, I don't fish rivers. It's not that I don't like river fishing. I just don't have any real experience fishing them. So where to start? I headed to a bridge that I knew had public shore access. I got my gear on and wandered down the rocky embankment. I decided to throw a soft plastic swimbait (made by bog baits). I figured if I didn't know what I was doing I should probably throw a lure I had confidence in. I stayed on the bank while under the bridge since I knew the river level was up and had no idea how deep it was. After a few casts the cold temperature started to rear it's ugly head. Soon enough the eyes on my rod started to freeze up and the levelwind on the reel stopped working. I decided to warm the gear up in the car and head over to the boat launch.
|Wandering down the boat ramp.|
When I got to the launch I was surprised at the water level. I had seen this launch last summer and at that time you could see the guide poles for backing up your trailer all the way to the ground. Now they are almost completely underwater. I put on the waders and headed down the boat ramp. The water was cold, a lot colder than I thought it would be. As I adjusted to the feel and fit of the new waders I worked my way down the shoreline remembering to shuffle sideways not walk straight so I wouldn't trip on any debris. No need to go and die before the season even starts back home. I fan casted as I moved along the bank hoping to pick off the stray walleye or possibly a pike. I have seen them caught here in the past, so I knew it was a possibility.
|You can't tell from the angle, but I am freezing.|
Well it didn't take me to long to get cold. The water was a brisk 36 degrees, almost freezing. I kept on casting as long as I could, but between the cold water and gear freezing up I had to call it a day. I would love to say it was a great day of "catching". It wasn't; it was miserable, cold, and an awesome adventure. I got to cast, test my gear out, and experience something new. This is the kind of fishing I love to do. I really enjoy the journey, the hardships, and the struggles. I believe that anybody can go fishing when it's nice and warm out, when the fish are biting, and everything goes right. It takes a special kind of crazy to go out in conditions like this knowing you probably won't catch a thing.
|At least I tried, a character building exercise?|