After hearing about Black Earth Creek from several of our friends, my roommate Ryan and I finally had to go see it for ourselves. We drove to a public access spot west of Madison where you can fish both the creek and a pond. We saw carp and bluegill near the dock in the pond, but further out we saw a school of golden shiners. We each caught one, and boy were they colorful!
Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)
The school was easy to keep track of, because they always stayed near the surface.
I saw a few brown trout in the creek, but they were small and spooked easily. I decided to focus on a the redhorse that were sitting at the bottom of a pool instead. I carefully positioned a small piece of nightcrawler in front of them and waited. Eventually, one of the redhorse started to move towards my bait, but before it could reach the bit of worm, something else raced over from the undercut bank and grabbed it. The bait thief turned out to be a new lifer!
Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) - new hook & line species #45
Ryan and I drove to another access point further downstream. We waded for quite a while, seeing a lot of small fish, but we kept looking for something larger to target. I found more redhorse at the head of a pool, and again placed my bait in front of them. One of them came forward to nibble it, and after a brief fight I had a very photogenic golden redhorse in my hand.
Golden Redhorse (Moxostoma erythrurum)
From what I've heard, Black Earth Creek gets quite a bit of fishing pressure. It's one of the best trout streams near Madison, so it's understandable that a lot of people visit it, but if you can find a stretch of the creek that hasn't been disturbed in a while, it's well worth the drive.