Saturday, March 24, 2012

Roughfishing in Sugar River, WI

Sugar River will always be one of my favorite fishing spots, because I caught so many midwest roughfish species there for the first time.  After adding about five new lifers per year for the previous few years, in 2012 I decided to focus all of my fishing efforts towards finding new species.  As soon as the temperatures rose above freezing, I started scouting out river spots.  Sugar River was exactly what I was hoping for.

Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) - new hook & line species #35

I fished using half a nightcrawler on a small circle hook.  I expected to catch mostly carp and suckers, but brown trout ended up making a large percentage of my catches.  Trout season had not started yet, so I released all of the trout I caught.

Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) - new hook & line species #36

Even though I did not catch them myself, it was interesting to see what species other anglers were catching. A young kid next to me caught this big quillback. It didn't get treated particularly well, but at least it was put back in the water eventually.

Quillback (Carpiodes cyprinus)

The next time I showed up at this spot, I found this enormous bigmouth buffalo abandoned on the grass.  I picked it up, put it in the shallow water, took this photo, and then quickly got to work holding it upright in the current.  I didn't think it had a chance at recovering, but little by little it came back to life, and eventually it swam off into the river.  I hope it made it!

Bigmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus)

Another common catch using worms on the bottom was smallmouth bass.  They are especially dark colored in the muddy waters of Sugar River.

Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu)

As spring continued, I returned to my favorite spot again and again, and I continued catching new species.  Six new lifers (a carp, a trout, two redhorse, a sucker, and a bullhead) all from one spot is a species hunters dream!

Silver Redhorse (Moxostoma anisurum) - new hook & line species #38

Black Bullhead (Ameiurus melas) - new hook & line species #39

White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii) - new hook & line species #43

Golden Redhorse (Moxostoma erythrurum) - new hook & line species #44

Once summer was in full swing, I caught mostly black bullhead and common carp.  The suckers must head back downstream once they're done spawning.