Driftless Trout Anglers

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Solo Fall Trip planning Options
Gerrber
#1 Posted : Wednesday, April 06, 2016 5:10:50 PM
Rank: Midge


Joined: 6/9/2015
Posts: 46
Location: Caseys Breakfast pizza/St.Paul
So I've got my heart set on doing a week long solo fly fishing trip this upcoming fall anywhere from late August-mid October, I thought I would pick the consortium of knowledge that is the DTA before I set anything in stone. It will be just myself either car or light backpacking (<5 miles) style camping. I'm giddy as a school girl to get out and do some fishing on some prime waters far away from the driftless, but I'm having some issues on picking a location. I'd like to keep it to under 14hrs drive, and would be leaving from either Des Moines, Dubuque, or Chicago whatever is closest. First I started out with the thoughts of heading to Smoky Mountain National Park to do some bluelining a few days and follow up with some med/larger rivers in the area. The other night New Mexico came to mind and as of now I'm leaning towards that, hitting the Rio Chama, Rio Grande and Red Rivers.

I wont have the ability to float the river so larger rivers may naturally be out of the picture. The possibility of me getting a guide for a day is still in the air, most fishing will be done via research on the interwebz. Does anyone have any past experience fishing norther New Mexico or Smoky Mountain NP, and if so was your trip worth it? If you have any recommendation on other solo trip areas that you been to and felt were really special let me know. Extra points added for the ability to be able to fish Medium/Large rivers and smaller pocket water on the same trip, ability to catch anything outside of the fish available in the Driftless, and scenery/serenity/low pressure.
DanE
#2 Posted : Wednesday, April 06, 2016 7:33:07 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 9/18/2014
Posts: 1,226
Location: Prairie Du Sac, WI
The Black Hills of South Dakota would be my choice for easy proximity, good fishing, and low pressure. Lots of good info out there about the fishery. Not sure about the backpacking though.
moosekid
#3 Posted : Wednesday, April 06, 2016 7:44:40 PM
Rank: Midge


Joined: 8/9/2014
Posts: 119
Location: New York
DanE wrote:
The Black Hills of South Dakota would be my choice for easy proximity, good fishing, and low pressure. Lots of good info out there about the fishery. Not sure about the backpacking though.


A trip I've always wanted to do is to bike-pack the Charles Mickelson trail. The bike trail is only about 100 miles, so you could take a pretty leisurely pace and fish a lot of prime water.
MN Mountain Man
#4 Posted : Wednesday, April 06, 2016 9:54:26 PM
Rank: May Fly


Joined: 12/15/2014
Posts: 256
Location: MN Driftless
Black Hills came to mind for me as well. I've driven through a bunch but it looks like there's some prime water with little pressure.

NH, VT, and ME have some good fishin' too. Probably full of those jackholes from NY thoughFlapper
Driftleslie
#5 Posted : Wednesday, April 06, 2016 10:56:09 PM
Rank: Midge


Joined: 3/9/2016
Posts: 12
Location: Minneapolis
As for NM, haven't fished the Rio or Red, but just spent 4 days on the San Juan back in Feb. Waded solo two days and floated with a guide two days. Couple hours further away than the Taos area, but fee free to shoot me a PM or email if you care for any more specifics about where I went/stayed. Not sure about the hiking/backpackability though as the prime waters are a 4 mile stretch just below the Navajo Dam so more worthy of a day or two side-trip. Animas River around Durango might be an option in that general area as well.

TreArrow
#6 Posted : Friday, April 08, 2016 11:24:18 PM
Rank: May Fly


Joined: 4/15/2013
Posts: 177
Location: Blackduck, MN
I went to the Smokies last June with my girlfriend and did a bit of fishing while backpacking across the park. I'd say the fishing is decent, but not good enough in and of itself to make me travel there, but the park is beautiful with a fascinating and rich human history and incredible diversity of plant species. Definitely worth going for those reasons. Backpacking wise you need to reserve a backcountry site and you may have to share it with other hikers or large groups. The AT is super crowded, but other parts of the park are less visited, we had sites to ourselves 2 of the 3 nights I was there and were crammed in like cordwood the 1 night we spent at an AT shelter. Not sure how wet the fall is, but if its anything like June make sure you bring rain gear! It rains a lot at higher elevations!

I fished the Deep Creek and Little River Watersheds. I think these streams are typical of the park and were generally small to medium freestone streams with a mix of small (<12") but eager rainbows and browns. There are some brookies in the park, but there restricted to a few high elevation watersheds. There are a number of great streams outside the park with bigger fish including the famous Davidson and some of the tailwaters. If I was going just for fishing, I'd definitely check out some of those streams in addition to the ones in the park.

Here are few photos from my trip.







I'd also add the Black Hills are a great fishing destination! Lots of fish, nice size and low pressure.
donjuan
#7 Posted : Monday, April 11, 2016 4:13:57 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 5/23/2011
Posts: 418
Location: WI, IA
Awesome photos!

That last one, wow...what a place to fish
Gerrber
#8 Posted : Monday, April 11, 2016 9:05:58 PM
Rank: Midge


Joined: 6/9/2015
Posts: 46
Location: Caseys Breakfast pizza/St.Paul
Thanks for the suggestions guys, all those places will hopefully be visited in the next 6 or 7 years. In the end we decided to go with Northern New Mexico. I say "we" because I mentioned it to a group a friends and the trip went from solo to 5 guys. Their not huge fisherman but I'm hoping to get at least 2 or 3 days in on the water hopefully pulling some big bows/cuttbows/browns out of Rio Grande gorge and I'm really hoping to catch me a Rio Grande Cutthroat. Ill post some photos when I return, try and contain your excitement till then.
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