Early (or really late) season roughfishing on the Sugar River

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tom's picture
Early (or really late) season roughfishing on the Sugar River

We had a couple of unseasonably warm days last weekend in Madison, and it got me thinking maybe I can find some open water fish. I delude myself into doing this a few times each winter. While hopes are always high, the logical part of me knows a skunk is likely. Usually, I'm right, but sometimes I'm wrong in the best of ways.  

Water temps were looking good. 

Walking through a shitload of snow. A good pair of insulated waders are your best friend in this stuff. 

I hit the water rigged up and ready to rock. Once the sun came out, bites came fast and furious. 

Here's a cool little golden redhorse. My first fish of 2019. 


Big healthy silvers like this made up the majority of my catch. 

A pike came out nowhere and took 2 good swipes at this big golden redhorse right before I landed him. 

winter slam. 


aaaannnnd,,, a white sucker. 

I feel normal again. 

Cast_and_Blast's picture
Nice job on some winter rough

Nice job on some winter rough fishing.  Dang, I am ready for Spring time! 

andy's picture
Very cool

I could really go for some open water action like that right about now.  Nice job and thanks for sharing!



Corey's picture
Very nice!

I'm jealous.

Royal Whaler
Royal Whaler's picture
Early Spring Fishing

Started my early spring open water fishing on February 4th on the Clinton R. here in Michigan.  So far, have caught 17 suckers and they are all White Suckers.

Goldenfishberg's picture
Heck yes Tom!

wow, there is hope!! I had completely forgotten that fishing poles can be longer than 24 inches and water is sometimes even in a liquid form! Wow. Thanks for the glimmer of hope man, and thems some nice lookin fish!

Ya just Can't catch um from the couch.

Jason E.
Jason E.'s picture
I'm totally jealous.  I

I'm totally jealous.  I recently found some open water and caught just one carp in over 2 hours of fishing. It will be weeks, maybe months, before I'm able to catch fish like you just did!

Eli's picture
that got me champing at the

that got me champing at the bit!




Tyler W
Tyler W's picture

Looks like spring arrived over there. Nice work. What was the water temp when you caught fish? I don't usually try until water temps get to 45F. 50F is my threshold for "full panic emergency fishing declaration".

tom's picture

40 Seems to be the magic number. Temps peaked at 49 today. I can't wait for Saturday. haha smiley

Graceclaw's picture

Water temps are still 30-35 degrees here, so we'll have to wait a little while. 

andy's picture
Tried Sunday in MN

Hit a stream South of I-90.  It was high and colored up, but fishable.  All I managed was a dozen large common shiners.  Thinking it will be a couple weeks before the horses start biting.