RSW to Indiana

by Scot Hinkel January 17, 2015

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So i got back from Florida to the frozen tundra of chicago and spent as much time on the tarmac as in the air; fml, still pretty stoked about stickin some baby tarpon on my 5 wt., I drive through dead stopped traffic from ohare through chicago and back to valparaiso indiana, my home town. If you are ever on Sanibel island drive through the ding darling preserve and cast the bridges also stop into Norm Zieglers fly shop at about the island midpoint he is willing to give great local info.  I spent a few days back in there and had a great time with snook and tarpon. I caught my fish using Phoenix minnows and schminnows.

The cold means a few things to me. Time to snowboard and time to fish for steelhead so upon arriving back home i strip my reels of their tropical line and put back on the airflo ridged running line and compact skagit. My mornings are spent getting weird and tying last minute flies. I wake up way the hell before i really want to lookin out the window, checkin temps, wind, etc. Nobody in their right mind answers my texts about fishin this early. The tribs this time of year are frozen over but a few of them flow strong and steam in the winter air, powered by all the mills and plants. I am into swinging flies but when it doesn’t pan out i go to other methods to get it done. My home water is the Little Calumet River located about 35 minutes south east of chicago. Many People confuse my section of the calumet river with west branch that flows through a heavily urbanized industrial area, but the east branch is quite the opposite. With spring head waters starting as far back as Laporte the Cal Gains steam in Chesterton and flows through burns harbor and out into lake michigan at Riverwalk Park in Portage. The river was named after a peace pipe. A Calumet is an elaborate pipe that served as a universal sign of peace for the Illiniwek, local indians, and was presented to Pere Marquette in 1673 for a good old school puff session. I love the correlation between the names because the Pere Marquette River up near Baldwin Michigan is also one of my favorite rivers to fish.  If you plan on fishing the lower regions of the cal be careful dont hit the peace pipe too hard before you go. There are steep slick clay banks and quick drop offs. A rope is recommended in most places to decend down into the river this time of year.

Anyway, the water in the little calumet river was low and clear and they weren’t feelin my attempts at swingin large ESLs, so i put on an indicator and methodically drifted a crusty green caddis hotspot nymph though the run and stuck a piggy, 7 minutes of extreme acrobatic aerobics and i tailed her  for a couple once overs with the go pro and this natty repo female swam away to fight another day. Soon thereafter i got outa there cuz i was freezin my balls off. It was 9 degrees and I didnt get a bite for the first 2 hrs until that fish. All that swinging and that fish was at my feet. Here is a photo of the Hen and a video of one on the swing from last season around this time.  Florida was sick but im stoked to be back home.  Now to target some Post Spawn spring creek brown trout  and strip some streamers on some truly skinny water. more content to come…

 

 

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