Today's Outing

Discussion in 'Mississippi River Basin' started by spinner, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. spinner

    spinner Staff Member


    Fished with Bruce Ristow for 2.5 hours today. We got a late start. On water about 9:45AM
    the sun was up and the skies were robbins egg blue. It got down to 21 degrees here last night.
    Bruce had be talking about a stream in Southwestern Vernon county that had some privately made lunker bunker structures. They were 25 years old.

    Bruce had been raving about this water for a while so we hit it today. I generally don't like lunker structures. They feel too artificial and there is no real reading of water involved.

    The trout were hard to come by. Bruce had 2 to hand. About a 14er and 16er. I landed three. About a 17er/14er/10er.

    In the middle of our journey there was a massive beaver dam. This appeared to stop any type of up/down stream movement on the water.

    The photo above is where there was no lunker structure.

    My experience today with lunker structure just solidifies my dislike for it.
  2. Steve

    Steve Staff Member


    Why don't you like lunker structures?


  3. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

    lunker bunkers

    the pallets used under the bank tend to get washed out by flood. My homewaters has been ravaged by floods in the last 4 years.

    The bunkers are typically too small to hold the type of fish I consider "BIG"

    The DNR typically manicures the banks and leaves almost a swimming pool edge to the area. Huge boulders lining the edge of the stream. Typically they cut down all trees or brush from the edges also.Not sure the reasons for that. Making back casts more easy. Biggest trout i catch love big trees to hide under.

    Big trout like deep shadowed irregular banks.

    There also is the feeling of fishing in a petting zoo that I dislike.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2009
  4. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

    the hunt

    part of the allure of trout fishing is the hunt...the chase...

    Figuring out where that big trout is hiding.

    Under that down tree or in the tree roots or in that cut bank ledge.

    Lunker structure is like a neon sign "FISH HERE"

    What kind of accomplishment is felt fishing in a Petting Zoo?
  5. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    I think dropping big sweepers (sometimes done by helicopter) is the way to go.
  6. It certainly is the way to go in Michigan. But many of the streams in Wisconsin are just to small. The CCC however put in plenty of lunker structures way back in the day. Many of them still exist and have been extreamly beneficial to the rivers.

    There are pros and cons to lunker structures in Wisconsin. When they are first installed many of them are as Spinner described. Obvious and not aesthetically pleasing. But after time it does increase the population density of most the stretches they put them in and many of the fish grow quite large.

    After time many of these stretches gain much of their beauty back but certainly not all of them. With in a bit of time shrubs and tall grasses grow back. Many people will actually avoid some of these areas because the tall grasses are just to tough to cast in and they will not or can not rolls cast or bow and arrow cast or use other techniques to present flies to fish in areas that do not allow back cast.

    Not every lunker structure holds trout. Trout will still look for optimal lies. The biggerst trout will be in the best spots. One still needs to find those spots. I certainly don't work every inch of every structure.

    I guess it's a debate on whether to continue to try to improve areas or to simply let everything go wild. I will also add that many of the structures actually help with stream bank erosion. The key is that the new structures have time to settle in and get healthy growth around it. Unfortunately most of the work done in the last 4 years have not had that time.

    I'm for lunker structures myself. But I will say I'm not for them everywhere. I think there are spots they are warrented and there are plenty of spots where they are not. It's all a matter of opinion.
  7. Butch

    Butch Guest

    I'm not a big fan of lunker structures either. Like Spinner, I don't like the aesthetics. I also haven't found them to be all that productive for big trout, either along the structure itself or in the general area. After they became popular in west michigan, I expected improved trout numbers and/or size in the general areas they were located, but I haven't noticed that. However, there are specific places they seem to help. As Wildcatwick mentioned, not all of them are good. I don't think it's reasonable to expect to take a shallow featureless stretch of stream and make it "fishy" just by adding a lunker structure along the edge. On the other hand, if a stretch of stream already has nearby deep water and woody debris, then lunker structures probably aren't needed.

    I've done 2 bank stabilization/restoration projects on my own property and been involved in decision making on many others, and I haven't included or supported lunker structures as part of bank projects. However, I'm always interested in more info. The streams I spend most of my time on have a lot of wood in the water. Maybe lunker structures are more beneficial in areas with less naturally occurring fish cover?

  8. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    Butch, when are we going to go fishing on the big water? ;) Gotta find the time some day.
  9. Butch

    Butch Guest

    Sounds good Steve. Hopefully I'll sqeeze in more big water fishing than last year myself.