Good Times But Bad Fishing on the Bad

by | Jun 9, 2023 | walleye

Northland-CollegeI’m lucky I’m still friends with many of my college buddies.  We all met in 1983 studying in Wisconsin at Northland College and managed to stay in touch all these years.  About eight of us are like brothers.  Today Howie, Mike Neuman and Mark Reiser met up for the first time in a while and went fishing on Lake Superior.


Mark-ReiserYou know Howie.  Mike has been on the blog numerous times.  Mark has appeared only a few times but visited me out west over my Yellowstone years and was part of my first ever trip to the Driftless.  While most my college buds weren’t fly fishers back in college, Mark always has been.  He even guided in Alaska for his summer vacations from college.  Needless to say, he’s a good angler and ties some mean flies.  Mark came well-armed this week although his Cliff Fly Box was missing “Currier” art.


Bad-RiverIt was another glassy calm day for Superior – even calmer than yesterday.  I’ve been lucky with these.  Instead of taking Howie’s boat, Mike brought his over from MN.  Mike’s boat is sturdier for the mighty Lake Superior and bigger too providing more room for the four of us.  Under such fantastic weather conditions we decided to head out of Washburn Marina all the way to the mouth of the Bad River.  An area you can’t get too without driving about eight miles in the open of Lake Superior.


fly-fishingWe were winging this one.  Despite all Howie’s time on Chequamegon Bay in his own boat, the mouth of the Bad River is too far for his boat to safely run to.  I fished the Bad with a friend with a boat back in around 1986 but don’t remember much other than some nice bass and a northern.  We made a 45 minute boat ride to the mouth.  Then we eased our way in against the light current of the Bad with two of us casting Clousers.  We entered a massive slough the size of a small lake.


fly-linesWe thought we might be the only folks fishing the Bad River but once we got in the slough we saw more boats.  At first we were bummed.  But seeing others means there’s fish.  Four boats were in nearly the exact same spot.


It wouldn’t be polite to pull up next to the other boats so we fished our way in.  The slough was shallow and weedy as we went.  I’m talking most of it was less than 3 feet deep.  We took turns casting and spent most our time picking weeds off our flies.  This went on for an hour at least – all while watching the other boats catching fish.


walleye-on-flyOf the other boats a couple were trolling.  We were easing into their zone and eventually one trolled by close enough to say hi.  Honestly, I think they were so perplexed that we were fly fishing they had to come over close enough to confirm our methods.  They made a few friendly comments then told us they were catching walleye.  We all went from pike set ups to walleye.  I switched to my 6-weight Winston and my SA Triple Density S3/S5/S7 with a jig fly to get down.


Currier-walleyeBy now we were on the spot but the trollers and anchored boats kept catching walleyes while we weren’t.  It was so bad one of my boys suggested leaving.  I asked for ten more casts and the men were good with that.  I made shorter casts and focused on letting my fly sink down between the weeds.  Then I’d strip a few times and jig it on the lift.  On cast number nine I hooked and landed a walleye.  My first ever walleye from Lake Superior.  Ok, technically it was from the Bad River slough, but close enough.


Currier-fish-artWe thought we might have things figured out after this walleye.  I handed over my spot and broke out my Sharpies and grabbed Marks Cliff Box.  But the only other walleye to come on board would be the one I drew.  Today was a rare example where spin casting and trolling topped the fly rod.


Lake-SuperiorRegardless of our tough fishing day, we had an absolute blast.  There was a lot of catching up and sharing of old stories from college.  A ton of laughing.  So much so my ribs hurt tonight.  We ended the day with one more fish – a small yellow perch on a Wooly Bugger under a beautiful sunset then returned to the boat launch at 10 PM.  We’ll give it a try again tomorrow.  Oh I love summer!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!