May 30, 2016

Gar and Redhorse

Two friends of mine wanted to catch their Gar badly. The last two weeks had been really good for Gar fishing, but now that the fish were moving out, there were only a handful of them left in our area.

Still, we picked at fish. There were two guys also fishing for Gar and they had arrived before us. They reported no Gar caught. While we watched them fish across the river, they had one bite but the Gar came off.

When you know how to catch them, it's not hard at all. The guy across the river was sporting a centerpin reel and all dressed for the occasion, but he doesn't know the first thing about Gar feeding behaviour. Meanwhile, we were getting constant bites for a while until the Gar smarten up. In the end, we managed to bring one each to the net for both Tristan and Stefano.

When we hooked the rest of the Gar and they seemed to avoid our baits, we switched to Redhorse.

I sight fished a nice Silver Redhorse that was actively feeding.

I had polarized sunglasses and I could see the fish and their behaviour clearly. Tristan and Stefano both had trouble seeing the fish, so I spotted the Redhorse for them, guide them to bait placement, and even told them when to set the hook when I could see the fish slurp the nightcrawler.

Tristan's Silver Redhorse

Tristan's Shorthead Redhorse

Stefano's Shorthead Redhorse

Stefano's Greater Redhorse

I only caught one Silver Redhorse (and too many Rockbass...as did everyone), but guiding them to these fish felt just as good as catching them myself!

May 23, 2016

2016 US Midwest (Day 6)

We had 8 hours of driving ahead back to Toronto. But before we took to the road, there was one last effort to achieve Sturgeon greatness.

In the past, Ben and two others had fished on the Wabash River for a couple of hour and only caught one Shovelnose Sturgeon. We knew it would be a long shot but this was the best that we could salvage. Michael and I got up at 6am to search for Sturgeon before our long drive home. Oh, did I mentioned we didn't get to bed until 1:30am the previous night?

Getting to the river, I started to rig up with Sturgeon rigs when Michael said he got a fish on. He had cast out his light rod with a small piece of crawler on a small hook and caught a Skipjack Herring on the first cast. He didn't even know what it was. Did I ever mention how much I hate his stupid luck?

I tried for the next hour fishing half a crawler, jigs, and even tandem rigs hoping to find my own Skipjack Herring. After an hour, the sun was climbing higher and it was a grim reality for me.

Putting down the light rod, I tied on a Sturgeon rig to one rod and sent it into the current seam. Ben mentioned that the Sturgeon was caught close to shore near the current seam. I could distinctly feel the transition between rocky bottom and sandy bottom right at the seam. That's where the Shovelnose Sturgeon likes to forage.

While I was rigging up a second rod, Michael caught a Silver Chub on this Sturgeon rod. It took much more effort for me to catch one...probably another 20 minutes of fishing with a light rod. Meanwhile, Michael was catching them on the Sturgeon rod like they were going out of fashion.

But finally, I found one.

Silver Chub (Macrhybopsis storeriana) - Species #576

After catching the first one, the Silver Chub became annoying as they would chew away at the nightcrawler faster than the Sturgeon could find it. They could also somehow hook themselves and often, we found one at the end of the line when the line was reeled in to check for bait.

There were fish aggressively taking bait. Unfortunately all of them were Freshwater Drum early in the morning. This fish tried to drag my rod and reel into the river when I forgot to set the reel to freespool.

Michael decided to cast out as far as possible with 6oz of weight to keep the bait in the middle of the river. It wasn't long before he received a slow run and a unspectacular fight. It certainly looked like the right kind. Indeed, Michael was able to catch his lifer Shovelnose Sturgeon.

I wasn't too happy at this point - first missing out on the Skipjack Herring, and now perhaps the one and only Shovelnose Sturgeon in the river.

Michael offered the two rods to me to increase my opportunity. That was great, but we were quickly running out of worms. While I manned all the rods, Michael searched for a nearby bait shop.

With Michael's stupid luck out of the picture, I may actually finally get a break. And it was funny how this works sometimes. Not 5 minutes after I was fishing solo, my rod took a slow and deliberate run. I decided to take the reel off its clicker and let the fish take line freely. I had set much too quickly on two similar runs previously and missed both fish. This time, I didn't want to miss again.

When I finally engaged the reel and reeled the line tight, I would feel a decent weight on the end. The hook set properly and found a good hold and an unassuming fight begun. The fish was basically slowly planing in the current and I was able to crank it in without much fuss. As the line came closer and the line angle steepened, the mystery was unbearable. Was this my Shovelnose Sturgeon?

Heck yeah!!! There is really no way to describe the high when you tried hard for a species and be rewarded despite challenging conditions.

Shovelnose Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) - Species #577!!!

I can now die without any regrets...

This Sturgeon was extra special since it was tagged by the Illinois DNR and it was caught in Indiana. I'm going to call the tag in the see what stories there was to tell.

I was going to kept the good news from Michael, and give him shit the entire drive home. That would be a really bad dick move...and at the end, I decided to spare him from abuse.

A few more drums were caught and then it went really quiet. The last fish caught was this Shorthead Redhorse. The Wabash River was in an intergrade zone where Shorthead Redhorse and Smallmouth Redhorse overlap, coexist and perhaps hybridize. I was hoping this fish could be a Smallmouth Redhorse, but after checking the morphology of the fish over and over again, I'm now pretty sure it was "just another" Shorthead Redhorse.

We lingered until 12pm wishing for more Sturgeon, but the Wabash determined that one Sturgeon each was as gracious as she would provide. On that note, we packed up and started our long drive home.

As with all my road trips, we were on the road more than we fished. In total, we had driven over 40 hours between the 6 days, fished only 35 hours but caught 27 new species. I would call it hugely successful. Our ability to catch our most coveted species, the Shovelnose Sturgeon, when the Mississippi River was flooded and we had to settled for the much less productive and much more inconsistent Wabash River, really turned the trip into a glorious one.

May 22, 2016

2016 US Midwest (Day 5)

Our original itinerary to spend the entire day on the Mississippi River was axed by flood condition. After consulting with Ben, he suggested two other locations around Charleston, Illinois with greater multi-species opportunities.

Michael and I broke camp at 6am in the morning and began our 4 hours drive to Fox Run State Park. Unfortunately, Ben told us the Embarrass River was too high and fast to fish. The alternative was a small tributary nearby with many micros available.

We quickly relocated to a crystal clear creek. Ben and Michael started to probe the sand flats and rocky shorelines for Darters. They found some Johnny Darter that were not very willing to bite. Ben spotted three Eastern Sand Darter that were too fast and elusive for any bait presentation.

I moved upstream to a shaded pool with fairly deep water and started to search for Spotted Bass. This was one species that I’ve tried repeatedly in Illinois and Virginia but yet to score. Fishing chunks of crawlers, I caught some Bluegill Sunfish but nothing else interesting. Switching over to the tanago hook, the Spotfin Shiner and Sand Shiner were very active.

I needed a better photo of Sand Shiner for the lifelist, and this one will do just fine.

Ben scouted upstream and called to me excitedly that he caught a Spotted Bass in next pool. I waded upstream quickly and shakily tied on a jighead and a plastic grub. The fish were quick to respond and within a few casts, I had a small Spotted Bass on the line. Unfortunately, I only managed a photograph of the head before it wiggled out of my hand and back into the pool. Darn it!

Thankfully, that was not the last Spotted Bass to grace my line. A few more casts later, another fish took a liking to the jig and this time, I set up my photo tank to keep the bass alive while spending more time with the camera.

Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus) - Species #573

Ben thought we found some Bullhead Minnow, but after more careful examination, they all turned out to be Bluntnose Minnow.

Pushing upstream yet, Ben found some Dusky Darter at the tail of a pool. We looked ahead a little more and saw many of them on a sandy gravel flat where they were busy spawning. The males were especially aggressive and it took very little convincing before they attacked the bait.

Dusky Darter (Percina sciera) - Species #574

There were some skinnier Darter mixed in with the Dusky Darter. We thought they were Eastern Sand Darter. I really wanted to catch an Eastern Sand Darter since they are endangered in Ontario, but rather common in the US. When a skinny Darter finally bit my bait, I was pretty excited...but instead it was a Slenderhead Darter. It wasn't my intended target, but a new species just the same.

Slenderhead Darter (Percina phoxocephala) - Species #575

There were a few big bass in the pool, so Michael grabbed my rod to try catch his own lifer Spotted Bass, which he accomplished with a stunning 2lb specimen. I was a bit jealous and knew there were a few more bass in the pool, so I reclaimed my rod and started sorting through Sunfish after Sunfish only to land one little Spotted Bass that was completely unimpressive in colour or size. :(

Sure, the Longear Sunfish were pretty...but I really, really wanted a coloured up adult Spotted Bass for once...

To make life even more unfair, I spend the next 3 hours chasing Brindled Madtom only to lose 3 of them, while Michael caught one without as much effort...and he has the audacity to take some pictures of his fish with my camera just to rub it in.

There are special names for people like that...such as Chubsucker, or Slippery Dick...

I could stay at the creek and fish for the Madtom until I finally caught one, but Ben was getting Hang-gry and Michael was ready to quit...so I finally waved the white flag and left an unaccomplished species for next time. Actually, there would be two unaccomplished species because none of us caught an Eastern Sand Darter.

Ben suggested that we check out a BBQ joint in Urbana.

The ribs were good, but the beef brisket can't compare to HI-BBQ. I don't think there's any comparison to HI-BBQ! I was so hungry that an extra order of fries was needed LOL.

After dinner, we parted ways. Ben drove back to Peoria while Michael and I continued to Lafeyette to stay for the night.

May 21, 2016

2016 US Midwest (Day 4)

We woke up as the sky was getting bright. We could have slept in a little, but we needed to leave the "wild" for areas with satellite service.

We had planned to meet with Tyler today in search for Bantam Sunfish and Redspotted Sunfish. However, the last contact we made with Tyler was early afternoon yesterday. Tyler mentioned he was in Mississippi and running late, and he would contact us again. But we didn't hear from him since, and the area we were fishing had no satellite service.

Driving back toward civilization, we still did not get any message from Tyler. Without any locations shared to us, we basically had a full day without any plans. I was determined to find the two sunfish species, and I remember Tyler mentioned that he caught them near his home in Poplar Bluff. So Michael and I looked for possible areas to fish on GoogleMaps.

We also knew Tyler caught Brook Darter in a creek near the location where he caught Redspotted Sunfish. So we started by looking at small creeks for Brook Darter. We fished two creeks without seeing any darters at all. Giving up on the Brook Darter, we decided to fish a public park to see what we may find.

Initially, we fished a little pond and caught some Dollar Sunfish and Green Sunfish. There were a lot of Topminnow just under the surface and found out they were a new species to me!

Blackspotted Topminnow (Fundulus olivaceus) - Species #564

Blackspotted Topminnow closely resembles the related Blackstripe Topminnow. The Blackspotted Topminnow has a velvety black stripe with more numerous black spots on the back of equal intensity of black as the lateral stripe. Most importantly, the Blackspotted Topminnow has a longer snout and head compared to the Blackstripe Topminnow.

We noticed a little creek nearby and we couldn't believe our eyes when there were Darters in it! After catching a couple of females, I finally caught a male to confirm these were Brook Darters! They are also a species split from the Orangethroat complex.

Brook Darter (Etheostoma burri) - Species #565

In Brook Darter, the spiny dorsal has a thick blue margin with a thinner orange stripe underneath. These Darters are also the smallest Orangethroat split we've seen so far.

Now that we caught the Brook Darter, we knew we could be close to solving the Redspotted Sunfish mystery. We fished the park more intently and covered a lot of areas. Finally, we fished a slow moving stream and started catching Longear Sunfish and Dollar Sunfish. Finding the Longear Sunfish was important as Tyler often caught them among the the Redspotted Sunfish.

Here's a brilliantly coloured Dollar Sunfish that is a great addition to the lifelist photos.

Dollar Sunfish (Lepomis marginatus)

I cast a chunk of crawler into the deeper hole of the stream and soon connected with a larger sunfish. In the water, it looked a little like a Bluegill Sunfish. However, the white margins on its fins suggested that it couldn't be a Bluegill. In fact, it was the fish we were after!

Redspotted Sunfish (Lepomis miniatus) - Species #566!

The Redspotted Sunfish was split from Spotted Sunfish. Like the Spotted Sunfish, it has a blue rim under the eye and white edged fins. The Redspotted Sunfish, as the name implies, has red spots in the center of scales on the side of the body. These red spots are especially pronounced in males.

We had one species of Sunfish caught. But we still have no clue where to catch the Bantam Sunfish. As luck would have it, Tyler finally texted us with information to his Bantam Sunfish spot. We hurriedly drove over to the new fishing location and found a beautifully wild swampy environment. I could have mistaken this area for parts of Florida!

It was already later in the afternoon and we had little time to waste. Luckily, the fish were very easy to find and we crossed off three species in a hurry.

Bantam Sunfish (Lepomis symmetricus) - Species #567!

I finally caught all the Lepomis species!!!

Starhead Topmminnow (Fundulus dispar) - Species #568

Slough Darter (Etheostoma gracile) - Species #569

There were so many fish among the rocks, including the three species caught plus Pickerel species and Western Mosquitofish.

As usual, we were running out of time. We wanted to fish a small tributary of the Current River. With an hour drive away, we had to hurry.

Arriving 3 hours before sunset, we had just enough time and light for some micro fishing. The creek was small but filled with all kinds of micros!

I had just put the bait into the middle of a school of minnow and immediately hooked a Central Stoneroller! This species had been very hard for me to catch in the past. I've even tried to find them locally in Ontario but have not had any success yet. It was a shock to catch one so easily!

Central Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum) - Species #570!

Then the Bleeding Shiner came in droves.

Bleeding Shiner (Luxilus zonatus) - Species #571

The Bleeding Shiner can be distinguished from the other two related species by a dark lateral stripe that does not cross below the lateral line. In fact, the stripe narrows and tapers behind the gill as the stripe follows the lateral line closely.

As I was photographing the Bleeding Shiner, my line dipped into the water just beside a rock. When I picked up the rod, I found a Sculpin wriggling on the end! By chance, we found lots of these Sculpins in the little creek. Ben did not find them last time. I'm not sure why there are so many of them this time.

Knobfin Sculpin (Cottus immaculatus) - Species #572

The Knobfin Sculpin differs from the Banded Sculpin found in the same area by its jointed spiny and soft dorsal fins. In addition, like the Ozark Sculpin, the Knobfin Sculpin has anterior and posterior black patches on the spiny dorsal fin.

We caught lots of Sculpins even when we were trying to catch other micros fishing blindly on the bottom. Rainbow Darters were strangely equally aggressive to take the bait.

It was just a beautiful stream. I could fish it all day.

Since we had caught our Knobfin Sculpin, it wasn't necessary to fish at night anymore. We decided to end the day at dusk and grabbed a decent dinner, then retired to bed by 10pm that night. For once, we slept before 12am!

May 20, 2016

2016 US Midwest (Day 3)

The 5am alarm turned into a 6am alarm. We couldn't delay any longer but still couldn't get on the road until 7am. As I mentioned previously, GoogleMaps had misled us every step of the way. Our predicted 3 hours drive turned into 4 hours, and we didn't arrive at our first fishing location until 11am. Since it rained all night, we were worried that we would arrive to a muddy creek. Luckily, as Ben promised, this little rocky stream is quite resilient against rain and storms. The creek might be a little high, but it was extremely clear.

Wasting no time, Michael and I spread out to search for the unique Darter species found in this drainage. The Plateau Darter was split from the Orangethroat Darter complex. Expecting typical Orangethroat Darter habits, we searched the slower shallows without so much as a sign.

Fishing the deeper pools we quickly caught some brilliant Cardinal Shiner though. Apparently, they get even more ornate with deep crimson when spawning was in full swing. We were already a little too late past spawning.

Cardinal Shiner (Luxilus cardinalis) - Species #557

The Cardinal Shiner can be confused with the Duskystripe Shiner and the Bleeding Shiner. Cardinal Shiner has the widest lateral stripe of the three species and the stripe readily crosses the lateral line.

Michael was checking a slow eddy around a tree root and found Southern Redbelly Dace. I capitalize on the opportunity as well.

Southern Redbelly Dace (Phoxinus erythrogaster) - Species #558

Still missing the Plateau Darter, I decided to search all habitats within the creek. It was good that I kept an open mind, as these Plateau Darter favoured much swifter current than the other Darters within the Orangethroat complex. Males can become quite colourful, but unfortunately we could only find females.

Plateau Darter (Etheostoma squamosum) - Species #559

We also caught some Creek Chub and a single Rockbass.

After finding all our targets, we drove another hour to the second spot of the day. It was yet another small urban creek with another Darter species split from the Orangethroat Darter complex. Yet again, the creek was clear and unaffected by the rain from the night before.

Before we found any Darter, a fish quickly dove out from under a rock and grabbed my bait. It was a Sculpin! After consulting with Ben, he said these were Ozark Sculpin. There were so many of them that we had trouble catch Darter because the Sculpin were much more aggressive!

Ozark Sculpin (Cottus hypselurus) - Species #560

Ozark Sculpin was split recently as a unique species from the Ozark Highlands. It is identified by an anterior and posterior black blotch on the spiny dorsal fin, 8 dorsal spine, a jointed spiny and soft dorsal fin, marbled patterns on the side, and 3 dark bands on the posterior end of the body.

Avoiding likely Sculpin holding rocks, I finally caught an Ozark Darter. In fact, I caught a mix of females and males and the males were very beautiful.

Ozark Darter (Etheostoma spectabile) - Species #561

Ozark Darter has a mostly orange spiny dorsal fin with red spots in the center of dorsal scales. Males also develop blue diamond-shaped blotched on the tail and a blue sheen along the lower front half of the body.

We also caught some Southern Redbelly Dace from this location, but found nothing else.

The day was getting late and we had another 3 hour drive to the final destination of the day. We grabbed a quick lunch along the way and tried to stay awake for the drive. All said and down, we would have driven 8 hours between fishing spots on this day. That's a lot of driving compared to the limited fishing time at each location.

Even on a slightly cloudy evening, the White River was very scenic. I hope that we could dedicated more time to fish this beautiful river next time.

Unfortunately, even if it was bright enough, we didn't have time to try for Yoke Darter. They inhibit strong current and it would be very difficult to fish for them in the dying light. Instead, we focused on Ozark Bass which were almost too easy and borderline annoying when we wanted to catch other species.

Ozark bass (Ambloplites constellatus) - Species #562

Ozark Bass is found only in the White River. They resemble Shadow Bass but the body colouration is usually much paler and the spots are much darker.

In addition to the Ozark Bass, there were many Longear Sunfish taking our bait. I was trying for a Hornyhead Chub and finally caught one.

Hornyhead Chub (Nocomis biguttatus)

Ben told us to photograph our Hornyhead Chub from White River since they may be elevated to full species status in the future. For now, it is simply a Hornyhead Chub.

After dark, we started to fish chunks of nightcrawler on the bottom. We had a couple of Madtom targets - the Checkered Madtom and the Slender Madtom. After sorting through a number of Ozark Bass and Longear Sunfish, I finally had a Catfish on the line. Unfortunately, it wasn't a Madtom; but fortunately, I needed a nice lifelist picture of a Yellow Bullhead.

Yellow Bullhead (Ameiurus natalis)

It took another 20 minutes before I caught another Catfish. Luckily, this time it was one of the targets.

Checkered Madtom (Noturus flavater) - Species #563

We tried hard for a Slender Madtom, fishing all habitats from rocks to mid channel to shallow shoreline sandy and gravel areas, but the Slender Madtom was simply too elusive. Along the wait, I got a good hit and a fish that was heavier than the rest. It turned out to be the biggest Yellow Bullhead I had even seen!

Just like the night before, we were too determined, too stubborn, to quit fishing until it was too late. When we finally checked the time, it was already 12am yet again. We had been awake for another 18 hours straight. Instead of driving an hour back to the campsite, we decided to simply sleep in the car beside the river.

May 19, 2016

2016 US Midwest (Day 2)

I think only Michael is crazy enough to be my travel companion on these road trips. Our itinerary is often densely packed leaving little breathing room to rest, eat or even shower. I'm just a man on a mission, that's all.

We were on the road by 6:30am with motel breakfast in hand. Crappy as stale bagel and bad coffee may be, we didn't have time to stop for anything else. It didn't help that GoogleMaps seemed to have made the biggest blunder in its route calculation, and our drives were often 1-2 hours longer than planned.

As we rushed from Anderson, IN to a beautiful corner of Illinois, we saw miles and miles of farmlands. The Midwest is truly one of the biggest food production region of the US.

After 5 hours of driving, we finally reached Shawnee National Forest and left the farms behind. This beautiful area was dotted with the occasional farm while much of the forest and streams remained wild. It had rained on Monday and Tuesday, and as we passed muddy creeks after muddy creeks, we were quite apprehensive toward the prospect of microfishing for Darters and Minnows.

Luckily, we were greeted with a small intimate stream with gin clear water. Ben assured us it would be fishable - how dare we doubted him!

Our main targets on this little creek were two Darters species. The males of these Darters guard nests under larger slabs of rocks. In order to catch them, Ben suggested that we should catch some nymphs. However, on this day, small nubs of nightcrawlers were equally welcomed.

I systematically placed the bait next to any space under rocks that appeared large enough to house a male darter. It didn't take too long before the first species was found!

Spottail Darter (Etheostoma squamiceps) - Species #551

The Spottail Darter is identified by white knobs at the tips of its soft dorsal rays. Short rays alternate with long knobbed rays to give a saw-like fin margin. It also has three spots at the base of the caudal peduncle hence the name Spottail Darter.

I caught another Spottail Darter shortly after, but it took another 20 minutes and quite a bit more searching until I finally found the second species.

Stripetail Darter (Etheostoma kennicotti) - Species #552

The Stripetail Darter looks almost the same as Fantail Darter. However, Stripetail Darter has a black submarginal band on its spiny dorsal fin just under the golden knobs on each spine.

Aside from these two new Darters, there were also a lot of Rainbow Darter in the gravel shallows. While Michael search desperately for his own Stripetail and Spottail Darter, I played with a few Rainbow Darter. This male was especially stunning. I'm grateful that this individual can grace the lifelist for years to come.

Rainbow Darter (Etheostoma caeruleum)

We also caught some Creek Chub and Striped Shiner. We saw two Topminnow upon arrival, but they quickly spooked away and we never saw them again.

Michael finally caught his darter lifers. We spent a little over 2 hours at the creek and likely lingered a bit too long already. It was time to go.

Driving out of Shawnee National Forest, we returned to more farm country. Soon, we reached the border of Illinois and crossed the Mississippi River into Missouri. The Mississippi was indeed high and fast. There was no way we could fish it for Shovelnose Sturgeon.

Another 3 hours later, we finally reached Van Buren. We've reserved a campsite at Big Springs Campground along the shores of the Current River. Part of the Current River is designated as Ozark National Scenic Waterways, and within this area hunting is prohibited. We have never seen so many Whitetail Deer in our lives around the campground. Deer simple wander about fearlessly day and night. We made certain to drive carefully and slowly, but the deer seemed rather keen to avoid vehicles for the most part.

We were on a rush to set up camp before dusk, and to have a bit of remaining daylight to scope out the area to fish at night. A short drive later took us to the bank of Current River where Ben suggested as a good location to find Shadow Bass and Knobfin Sculpin.

The river was very high and the water was uncharacteristically murky. Visibility was a foot at best. We really didn't know if it was at all fishable. However, with a number of Minnows feeding off the surface, we quickly explored the area with our tenkara rods and found a couple of new species.

Whitetail Shiner (Cyprinella galactura) - Species #553

Ozark Minnow (Notropis nubilus) - Species #554

Ben mentioned that he had better luck finding Shadow Bass after dark. As dusk fell, I switched over to a bottom bouncing rig to fish the rocky bottom along a current seam. A few drifts later, I felt a series of taps and the first Shadow Bass of the night came to hand. Just like the Rockbass I know from Ontario, their bite and struggle on the line felt just the same.

Shadow Bass (Ambloplites ariommus) - Species #555

Shadow Bass has a characteristic blotchy dark patters on its body that could get quite striking in appearance. However, all the fish we caught were quite pale in colour.

It took Michael a while longer to catch his lifer Shadow Bass. In the meantime, I tried to look for the Knobfin Sculpin among rocks but it was difficult to sight any of them with the murky water.

Michael decided to search along the shallows and quickly found some Banded Sculpin. According to Ben, this area was better known for Knobfin Sculpin, but on this night, we only found Banded Sculpin.

Banded Sculpin (Cottus carolinae) - Species #556

The Banded Sculpin has distinct bands on its tail, often greater than 3 bands. It has clear dorsal fins where the spiny dorsal is well separated from the soft dorsal.

Unable to find our Knobfin Sculpin after a couple of hours, we moved to another spot only to find the area unfishable due to the high water. We returned yet again to our initial spot and fished until 12am without any success with the Knobfin Sculpin. If it hadn't started to rain, we might have continued to fish losing all sense of time.

We had planned to end the evening by 10pm, but our stubbornness to accept defeat kept us up way past bedtime. By this time, we had been awake for over 19 hours...and after all...we ONLY needed to wake up at 5am the next morning to drive 4 hours to our first fishing location.

It rained steadily and heavily all night. The rain kept my sleep quite broken even though I was very tired. I think part of me was worried about how the rain would affect our fishing the next day.