Jun 26 2008 12:13 am
Indiana has a lot of limestone. We're kind of famous for it. Breaking Away? The Cutters? Lots of limestone means lots of caves and underground rivers and what not. It also usually translates into some pretty good spring creek fishing. And as I found out today, Indiana spring creek smallmouth fishing is no joke.
It smelled like wood smoke and cow manure when I got out of the car on the gray dusty gravel road at the bridge. The shit hung heavy in the hazy, humid air as a hot wind was herded over the landscape by towering bulbous storm clouds.
I clambered down the dirt banks and immediately began throwing a heavily weighted sculpin pattern in the green stagnant pool beneath the bridge. A half-ring of foul skin and greasy bubbles clung to the bank on the far side of the river and I was not feeling terribly good about the trip.
Upstream and around the bend was a fifty foot section of plastic orange erosion fence lying in the middle of the river bedazzled with an impressive drapery of algae and aquatic plants. A large smallmouth darted out from under the fence and swam upstream.
I was sweating a lot. It was windy and smelled strongly of cow shit.
But around the next bend was a large pool ringed with deep green herbaceous plants into which plunged a braided set of rivulets flowing over a clean gravel streambed. Above that large gray boulders dotted the meandering river and tall grass covered the banks where their tan grainy tops made a soft dry sound in the wind. Four large bass sat at the top of one of the braids and held themselves in the current like a pod of trout.
I immediately threw a large deer hair diver at them which they were manifestly not interested in. So I tried the sculpin pattern. A crayfish. A rubber legged stonefly. A Clouser. Nothing. What produced? Turk’s Tarantula. A grasshopper pattern (or at least vaguely a grasshopper pattern). Spring creeks are spring creeks and grass is grass whether or not it’s trout or bass I suppose.
The river maintained its spring creek character as far as I walked which was probably about one half mile. I caught several fish, but lost and missed many, many more. The Turk’s Tarantula is a bit small to get an effective hookset on a bass’ mouth I think. And the other “problem” was I couldn’t keep the sunfish off the thing. But I managed a couple decent fish and a couple more on the sculpin pattern. Now I'm not too sure this is technically a spring creek. But I like to think it is.
When I got back to my car it didn’t even smell like shit anymore.
Click to enlarge.