Driftless Trout Anglers

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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Sunday, October 2, 2016 7:07:15 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,185
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 64 times
Was thanked: 99 time(s) in 85 post(s)
Made it up for TrapFest on Saturday morning. Started off the day hoping to fish some water I hadn't had a chance to try this year. It was misty rain, fog, heavy cloud cover and cool temps were on tap when I arrived. Perfect fall fishing conditions.

Heavy floods had pummeled the area the weekend before. When I visited this stream back in July, the weeds were 8 feet tall and impenetrable along the stream. I hoped to find the weeds flattened, but to my surprise they were still standing tall along most of the section I wanted to fish. I had to guerilla my way in through the wet, scratchy and tangly obstructions, fish a short section of the stream, fight my way back out thought the weeds, walk a bit upstream and dive back in again.
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The water was up at least 6-10 inches higher than normal, and running with a bit of stain. Streamers were the order of the day and after a few casts I was rewarded for my efforts with this fine feisty Brown Trout.
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Brookies were eating the Bugger also. Caught a few around this size.
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After an hour of struggling with the weeds and the risky wading conditions, I decided to push on to the next stream. This creek has had some restoration and stream bank work done along 1/2 mile of it's length. Floods hit this area hard too and some of the work had been washed away, or rearranged a bit. But there were still a bunch of lovely deep emerald pools filled with Trout and lots of fast moving water.
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I really wanted to fish hoppers on this trip, but the Trout just weren't looking up on this day. Sticking with streamers, I caught a mix of Browns and Brookies. I lost a really nice Brook Trout when I let him get under a rock and popped my tippet. No more pictures after this point, as the battery on my camera flat lined.

Driving down to the Westby Rod and Gun Club I managed to arrive at the Snowflake Bar in time to catch the last bit of the of the Wisconsin-Michigan game. A tough loss for Bucky, but the game was a lot closer than most thought it would be. After the game I walked over to the shelter to meet up with Trapper and the boys. A good fire kept the mosquitoes at bay and lots of great stories and beer was enjoyed. Always fun to meet up with my fellow DTA members and put some faces to the names.

I drove to Richland Center and spent the night with my brother. On Sunday I decided to sleep in and let things dry out a bit, in the hope that hoppers would start flying around mid-day. I drove down to my favorite Iowa county stream and started slapping a small green hopper I tied up last weekend.
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Just like on Saturday, the Trout simply weren't looking up, so I switched back to the venerable black Woolly Bugger and was quickly rewarded with this nice Brookie.
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I caught a few more and thought about quitting for the day, but I was determined to catch some on the hopper. Most of the year the sun has been the enemy, driving the fish to cover and making fishing difficult. On this day, the sun turned out to be the key ingredient to getting the Trout interested and looking up. I started getting hits and caught a few modest Browns and Brookies.

And then, I came to a spot in the stream that I knew held a good size Brown Trout. I had danced with him before earlier in the year and I bet he was still hiding next to the same big boulder in the stream. A nice sidearm cast put the fly under the tree branches and right in front of the rock. The bad boy came charging out and the fight was on! After several up and downstream runs, and one tricky moment when he planted himself under some grass along the bank, he finally made it into my net. Only 16 inches or so, but he was a real baller. A strong fish that put a serious bend in my new Echo Base 4W.
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Earlier in the day I had caught a nearly identical Brown Trout, but lost him when I let him come to the surface and start shaking his head. Just as I reached for the net, the bugger popped out. Damn!

With the sun out the strikes started coming one after another. At one point, a hookup on every second or third cast. I pulled six out of this run alone. I've always done well along this stretch. They seem to like hiding in the tiny bits of holding water along the rocks, waiting for a meal to float by. What fun! And easy walking along the stream, thanks to the cattle keeping the lawn well mowed.
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And yes, it did flood here too. Lots of evidence of damage everywhere you looked. A lot of fencing and barb wire had washed into the stream, making wading tricky and dangerous. Hopefully the farmer will remove it at some point, but I doubt it.
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The debris tangled around this tree is 7-8 feet above the normal stream level.
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Put about 20 Trout in the net for the afternoon. Not bad, considering the slow start. Two more weeks left in the season (in Wisconsin). I hope to get out at least once more before the winter hiatus sets in.


-Bill

Edited by user Monday, October 3, 2016 11:29:51 AM(UTC)  | Reason: damned typos

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
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EddieRivard  
#2 Posted : Monday, October 3, 2016 7:27:56 PM(UTC)
EddieRivard
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 7/26/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,175
Location: New Brighton MN

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Looks like a great outing William! I've never had that good of luck with hoppers in the Driftless. I might have to take a break from streamers one of these days and give them a shot. ThumpUp
William Schlafer  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, October 4, 2016 12:40:02 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,185
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 64 times
Was thanked: 99 time(s) in 85 post(s)
Here's a tip when using hoppers. If you don't get a strike around a deep pool, down drift the bug from upstream and drag the line and fly underwater and start stripping fast. Drives the Trout crazy. Really effective around a root ball or hollowed out hole near the bank.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
sasquatch  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, October 5, 2016 1:08:50 PM(UTC)
sasquatch
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 9/10/2012(UTC)
Posts: 397
Man
Location: ...upstream, wisconsin...

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)
..dammmm bill, them some chunky fishes!ThumpUp

"...let that phucker sink for awhile..." ~sasquatch~
William Schlafer  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, October 5, 2016 1:42:42 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,185
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 64 times
Was thanked: 99 time(s) in 85 post(s)
sasquatch wrote:
..dammmm bill, them some chunky fishes!ThumpUp




Thanks!

Wish I had netted that first big Brown I lost - would've been a nice double header for the day. Nothing like the bigs you catch on a regular basis, but for this tiny stream, their pretty impressive.

You would be surprised the number of people who tell me they won't bother fishing this particular stream because they're convinced there are no sizeable fish there. To date, I've caught six 18 inch and one 19 inch Brown Trout on this water, and at least three 12" or larger Brookies. Granted, you won't see those fish everyday, but they're in there, if you know where to look.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
sasquatch  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, October 5, 2016 1:48:55 PM(UTC)
sasquatch
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 9/10/2012(UTC)
Posts: 397
Man
Location: ...upstream, wisconsin...

Was thanked: 2 time(s) in 2 post(s)
..id take a 19inch driftless brown over a 2foot lake run any day...plus a chance at 12+brookies.. sign me up!

that stream sounds like a gold-mine.. ThumpUp
"...let that phucker sink for awhile..." ~sasquatch~
shebs  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, October 5, 2016 2:22:30 PM(UTC)
shebs
Rank: Stone Fly

Joined: 5/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 923
Location: Mpls

Thanks: 4 times
Was thanked: 26 time(s) in 22 post(s)
William Schlafer wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
..dammmm bill, them some chunky fishes!ThumpUp




Thanks!

Wish I had netted that first big Brown I lost - would've been a nice double header for the day. Nothing like the bigs you catch on a regular basis, but for this tiny stream, their pretty impressive.

You would be surprised the number of people who tell me they won't bother fishing this particular stream because they're convinced there are no sizeable fish there. To date, I've caught six 18 inch and one 19 inch Brown Trout on this water, and at least three 12" or larger Brookies. Granted, you won't see those fish everyday, but they're in there, if you know where to look.


-Bill


Those are the best kind of streams. I'm certainly not going to try to convince Joe schmoe that there are bigs in my favorite tiny creeks. Let em think there is no size there Flapper
A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work. ~Author Unknown
Modern Translation, with respect for the Notorious B.I.G. : "Fuck Money, Get Fishes"
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