Driftless Trout Anglers

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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Saturday, February 11, 2017 8:27:15 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)
Anyone who has read my postings on this website knows that I love fishing small spring fed creeks. The problem with small streams is that when the water is running clear and low they can be really difficult to fish. This early in the year, there's almost no vegetation cover in the stream for the fish to hide in. The stream banks are devoid of any grass to overhang the water giving the Trout cover.

Today I arrived at one of my favorite small streams under near perfect weather conditions: cloudy skies, no wind, air temps in the mid-40s (and rising) and water temps above 45 degrees. But the Trout were very spooky. Every cast sent them scurrying back and forth, looking for cover. The water was crystal clear right down to the bottom of the deepest pools. After 2 hours I had only this puny Brookie to show for my efforts.
UserPostedImage

It just wasn't happening on this stream, so I decided to head over to a part of a larger nearby river. A new spot I've never fished before, but which looked promising on the sat map photos. The water right by the bridge looked deeper and darker.
UserPostedImage

I had left my big streamer fly box sitting on my bench at home, but had packed a couple of streamers, just in case. I thought the day would be small nymphs and bead heads, and I could leave the big weapons at home. That turned out to be a big mistake.

Figuring I had nothing to lose, I tied on the big Olive shaggy Bugger that I had just tied last week. On my second cast, I got a snag. No, wait... that snag is moving! Oh yes... a strong fighting 17 inch torpedo of Brown Trout! Sweet!
UserPostedImage

I caught three nice large Browns in quick succession. They really seemed to be keying in on that olive Bugger.
UserPostedImage
UserPostedImage

And then, the inevitable happened. A big Brown Trout - perhaps that mythical 20 incher that's eluded me so far - rolled over my fly. He didn't eat it, but had managed to wrap the tippet around itself, and with a thrash the line was cut by his gill plate. Just like that, my only good streamer was gone. Rats! I tied on a smaller bugger but the Trout seemed to lose interest.

Moving to a different stream was a good idea. Sometimes a change in venue can really save the day. But the big lesson learned is to always bring every fly you have. Cause you never know what will work on any given day.

And now, I'm going to start tying up a bunch of those Shaggy Olive Buggers!


-Bill

Edited by user Saturday, February 11, 2017 8:30:38 PM(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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William Schlafer  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, February 14, 2017 7:54:42 AM(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)
Spoke to an acquaintance last night who just happened to fish the same section of river I was on later in the day on Saturday afternoon. He likely caught the big guy that cut my line, a 21" Brown. He said he caught five more in the same short section I fished. The weather was just about perfect on Saturday. He went back the next day as it was still warm out, but the wind gusts were 50 MPH which drove him back to the car.

I'm thinking about a return engagement this weekend. 50+ degree temps forecast all weekend, which is pretty nice for February in Wisconsin.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
West Branch  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, February 14, 2017 8:05:47 AM(UTC)
West Branch
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 9/23/2012(UTC)
Posts: 183
Location: West Branch, IA

The same thing happened to me a couple of days ago. When I moved to bigger water it was easier to put the sneak on some fish. On the low, crystal clear stream where I started the day, the trout were pretty wary. An olive bugger didn't produce for me, though. Pink squirrels and copper johns got the job done.
mmalyuk  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, February 14, 2017 2:52:37 PM(UTC)
mmalyuk
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 4/24/2010(UTC)
Posts: 372
Location: western wisconsin

Thanks: 2 times
Was thanked: 19 time(s) in 11 post(s)
Nice writing as always Bill.ThumpUp
draik11  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, February 15, 2017 12:05:39 PM(UTC)
draik11
Rank: Midge

Joined: 2/10/2016(UTC)
Posts: 121
Location: Oconomowoc, WI

Thanks: 17 times
Was thanked: 9 time(s) in 9 post(s)
Great looking fish and useful tips! I recognize that second picture. If it's the same river I'm thinking of, the land owner came over to me and insisted I stay on the side of the river you are on. Apparently, he has a mean dog that doesn't mix well with anglers. Just a heads up for next time, Bill!
William Schlafer  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, February 15, 2017 2:26:00 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)
draik11 wrote:
Great looking fish and useful tips! I recognize that second picture. If it's the same river I'm thinking of, the land owner came over to me and insisted I stay on the side of the river you are on. Apparently, he has a mean dog that doesn't mix well with anglers. Just a heads up for next time, Bill!


Thanks!

Oh yeah, I've already had a run in with him in the past.

I was out scouting streams in the area a few years back and he came out in his truck and insisted that I couldn't park my car next to the bridge, which of course is public property and perfectly legal. You probably saw his sign next to his driveway.
UserPostedImage

Notice that his sign used to say "No Entrance" to try and intimidate people from fishing downstream. The DNR added there own signs to try and placate him.

I'm told the last thing you want to do is park next to his driveway or walk along his property line. It's interesting to note the the DNR has purchased easements that run from a mile above that bridge to several miles downstream, including along his property. The guy was happy to take the money, but he still tries to run fisherman off the stream.

For every guy like him, I've run into 20 other land owners who are friendly. Takes all kind to make the world.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
draik11  
#7 Posted : Thursday, February 16, 2017 1:03:08 PM(UTC)
draik11
Rank: Midge

Joined: 2/10/2016(UTC)
Posts: 121
Location: Oconomowoc, WI

Thanks: 17 times
Was thanked: 9 time(s) in 9 post(s)
William Schlafer wrote:
draik11 wrote:
Great looking fish and useful tips! I recognize that second picture. If it's the same river I'm thinking of, the land owner came over to me and insisted I stay on the side of the river you are on. Apparently, he has a mean dog that doesn't mix well with anglers. Just a heads up for next time, Bill!


Thanks!

Oh yeah, I've already had a run in with him in the past.

I was out scouting streams in the area a few years back and he came out in his truck and insisted that I couldn't park my car next to the bridge, which of course is public property and perfectly legal. You probably saw his sign next to his driveway.
UserPostedImage

Notice that his sign used to say "No Entrance" to try and intimidate people from fishing downstream. The DNR added there own signs to try and placate him.

I'm told the last thing you want to do is park next to his driveway or walk along his property line. It's interesting to note the the DNR has purchased easements that run from a mile above that bridge to several miles downstream, including along his property. The guy was happy to take the money, but he still tries to run fisherman off the stream.

For every guy like him, I've run into 20 other land owners who are friendly. Takes all kind to make the world.


-Bill



That's the very spot I was thinking of. I ended up parking down the road from the sign and he told me it's fine where I was parked. I was fishing right where you took that picture and he came over go spoke with me. He said as long as you stay on the west side of the river, you can walk from the bridge, past his house and up to where the stream bank improvements have been made. My experience with him wasn't friendy or rude, but he was stern about what I could and couldn't do. Completely understandable as well.
sasquatch  
#8 Posted : Saturday, February 18, 2017 4:52:26 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)
...dem some noice fish Bill! ThumpUp

..and a hawg breaking your line for the ol' nightmare machineCursing

it seems its always "the one that got away" that keeps fishermen coming back to the streams, fishing longer and harder...and never the nice ones that we land. but you did both.

cant wait for you to get out there again and wrestle that 20+ outta there. ThumpUp ThumpUp

Edited by user Saturday, February 18, 2017 4:55:59 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

"...let that phucker sink for awhile..." ~sasquatch~
William Schlafer  
#9 Posted : Saturday, February 18, 2017 8:41:44 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:
...dem some noice fish Bill! ThumpUp

..and a hawg breaking your line for the ol' nightmare machineCursing

it seems its always "the one that got away" that keeps fishermen coming back to the streams, fishing longer and harder...and never the nice ones that we land. but you did both.

cant wait for you to get out there again and wrestle that 20+ outta there. ThumpUp ThumpUp



Thanks Sasquatch!

I've caught my share of 18", 19" & 19.5" Browns, but I just can't seem to bust that magic 20" barrier. Not sure if this one was that mythic fish or not, but he left a pretty impressive swell when he rolled. There certainly are some big Trout in that part of the river. Next time I get back there I'm going to chuck some of those big articulated streamers I tied last winter.
UserPostedImage

A bust off like this has happened to me before. I have a nasty habit of jerking the fly away from following Trout just as they're about to make their move. Once the tippet touches those sharp gill plates, it's all over. Pretty frustrating that I didn't have any large streamers available after I lost that one. It could've been an epic day.

-Bill
“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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