Driftless Trout Anglers

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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, April 18, 2017 4:59:01 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,181
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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I played hooky from work on Monday to do a one day run up and back trip to Richland County.

The stream I planned to fish was visited on Sunday by DTA member Gurth, who found it high and muddy due then to storms over the weekend. The small creek had flooded pretty hard spreading water well outside its banks. This is a short stream in a steep valley and I was sure it would clear out by the time I got there.

When I arrived, I found the stream was still well stained (it usually runs crystal clear) and up at least 6-8 inches, but still fishable. If fact, the stained water would make it possible to get closer than normal without fear of spooking the Trout. And the higher water would open up parts of the stream that would normally be too shallow to fish.

You can see how the water had run over the banks by the flattened out weeds.
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I had hoped to do some dry fly fishing, but there was no evidence of risers and the stained water made it unlikely that Trout would be looking up. However, the Brookies and Browns were more than happy to eat Pink Squirrels and Crystal Woolly Buggers.
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There was plenty of evidence of flood damage, but nothing that this stream can't absorb.
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Most of the stream looks like this. Narrow and fast water. The Trout are in there, you just need to figure out how to cast to those tight lies and not spook them.
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A small spring feeds in here. There were several nice Brookies hiding under the cut bank just below.
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Something larger came out from under those rocks where the spring runs in, grabbed my fly and snapped the leader against the rock. I estimate at least a 18" Brown. Easily the alpha fish on this stream, parked at the prime feeding location. I'll come back for him next month, now that I know where he lives.

Further up the valley the Beavers had erected a dam. Unfortunately the flood seemed to have just washed right over it without knocking it down. The stream above the dam was heavily silted, stagnant water. No Trout found there. Maybe TU or the DNR will come clear it out before it does too much damage. This dam would definitely prohibit Trout migration upstream for spawning.
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Still further up the valley I found a spring bubbling out of the base of the hill filled with thick watercress. Tiny Trout darted in and out of the plants.
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Nearby are a couple of tanks that the DNR uses for the feral Trout program. Trout and eggs are collected here and sent around the state to use in hatcheries and for stream stocking.
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After several hours, I had netted 15 Trout. A few nice ones shown above, and a bunch of Brookie dinks. I decided to stop by one more creek on the way home, and check out water conditions on some other streams while I was at it.

The water at stream number two was similar to the first, slightly high and well stained. The Trout here were aggressively feeding sub surface. I couldn't have casted dry flies anyway because the winds were ripping with gusts up to 30 mph. The heavier Bugger cut through the wind nicely and was greedily eaten by the Trout.
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20 more Trout found the net in about 90 minutes of fishing. But I seemed to be afflicted on this day with a bad case of "jerk the fly away just as they strike" syndrome. I missed at least a dozen that way. Gotta learn to be more patient and fish the fly all the way back.

Bill's Rule For Trout Fishing #7: Fish all the water. For example, this quite ordinary looking section of shallow water just below a cattle crossing. Only 12 inches deep with an assortment of basketball sized rocks. No obvious pool or undercut banks for Trout to hide in.
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Most might walk right by this part to seek out the next big pool or run. I tossed my Bugger up to the top of the run, and.....

BOOM SHAKALACKA!
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A fat, dark, very pissed off Brown Trout who launched himself right out of the water at the strike. A great battle in the shallow water. Always fish all the water.

A fitting way to end a fine day of fishing was a stop at the Grumpy Troll Brewpub for a burger and a Maibock. Satisfying and tasty. Highly recommended if you find yourself in Mount Horeb.
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Despite the great weather and the excellent fishing, I didn't see another fisherman on any of the seven streams I looked at. Monday is a great day to fish the Driftless!


-Bill

Edited by user Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:58:48 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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EddieRivard  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:55:47 PM(UTC)
EddieRivard
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Great Report William! I loved the part where you talked about the thing.
ThumpUp LOL
Gurth  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:56:36 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Great trip report and either you have small hands or you are getting larger brookies than me. Laugh
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
William Schlafer  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, April 18, 2017 7:01:41 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,181
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Gurth wrote:
Great trip report and either you have small hands or you are getting larger brookies than me. Laugh



You know what the say: small hands equals big Brookies. Er... or something like that. RollEyes


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
aaron14  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, April 18, 2017 7:56:17 PM(UTC)
aaron14
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Nice report Bill! What size bugger were you tossing? And is that peacock chenille for the underbody? I'm going to have to tie up a few of those!
William Schlafer  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, April 18, 2017 8:24:37 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,181
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 63 times
Was thanked: 97 time(s) in 83 post(s)
Thanks!

Crystal Wooly Bugger #6 hook with Peacock chenille. Love that color with the black Marabou. Trout seem to like it too.


-Bill

Edited by user Tuesday, April 18, 2017 8:26:02 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
lightningo2  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, April 18, 2017 8:58:43 PM(UTC)
lightningo2
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Awesome report Bill!! ThumpUp I wish the Driftless was NOT 3 hours south west of where I live. Crying Crying
William Schlafer  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, April 19, 2017 5:44:10 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,181
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 63 times
Was thanked: 97 time(s) in 83 post(s)
lightningo2 wrote:
Awesome report Bill!! ThumpUp I wish the Driftless was NOT 3 hours south west of where I live. Crying Crying



Thanks! It was a good day of fishing (for a change).

I feel your pain brother. It's a three hour drive to Viroqua for me. On a one day trip, I'm lucky if I spend more time fishing than driving.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
stan b  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, April 19, 2017 5:52:14 AM(UTC)
stan b
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Very cool!
Thanks,

Stan b
"So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold
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