NANFA-- winter collecting in WI

R. W. Wolff (
Sun, 29 Dec 2002 19:43:13 -0600

Haven't been out doing much of any kind of fishing this year, and yesterday
was too good to pass up. It was mostly sunny and in the forties. No real
wind to speak of. The air was not so dry either, which is another draw back
to winter air making it uncomfortable even when warmer. Too humid though,
and it gets clammy, kind of a narrow range of conditions that make cool air
more barable.

I hit a couple spots I normally try. First was Hogan's Hole. It's a little
"pool" in ditch that is a connection between water on one side of the
highway and the other. What I caught in my dip net:
iowa darter
blacknose shiner
amphipod? ( looks like pill bug)
backswimmer ( I mention because there were millions)

These things were mostly in the roots of rice plants along the shore and
also large grasses that had blown over into the water. Live plants were
mostly elodea.

I was hoping to maybe catch a small bowfin, but that was not to happen. On
some years it is easy to catch them here, if there is more ice. They seem to
congregate near the little current that keeps the ice open in worse weather.
Even after a long cold fall, and some very cold weather this winter ( all
but forgotten by many when we get a couple warm days like this weekend) the
water is still open in the marsh pretty well compared to other area bodies
of water.

The second spot I tried was a small swamp that drains into Cranberry Creek
and the mouth of the stream that forms this drainage. The water was low for
some reason, but I still managed to catch a few things.

Central mudminnow
Brook stickleback
yellow bullhead

These were in the remaining green burreed and rush species.

I was hoping to catch some iowa darters here as well, but that did not
happen. Strangley absent are normal catches:
tadpole madtom
golden shiner
white crappie
black crappie
I usually catch good numbers of young of these fish this time of year at one
or both of these spots. Could be they are hunkered down deep yet because the
water is probably holding good O2 this year. No snow, and hard ice where it
is lets light in and plants don't die off all the way. With some open water
in all areas this allows for gas exchange and keeps the water suitable.
Atleast this is my guess, since if this all were my own private pond ( on a
large scale of course) I could not ask for nicer conditions to insure fish
made it through the winter with the least amount of stress. I also got to
try out a new toy I just got. Its a coffee thermos that you can plug into
the cigarette ligther and warm liquids or even make coffee. It worked nice.
I plugged it in at the beginning of the first spot and when I left there had
piping hot coffee to drink for the rest of the afternoon. A plus in cold

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