Driftless Trout Anglers

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*Official Stream conditions thread* Options
Gurth
#261 Posted : Friday, August 04, 2017 4:54:48 PM
Rank: May Fly


Joined: 11/8/2016
Posts: 396
Location: Madison
A bit of North Woods trouting this morning.

Love that heavy rain has a negligible effect on these streams. Mostly scouted some new streams but did get a couple of brookies at bridge pools.

The real fishing will be tomorrow.
Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
William Schlafer
#262 Posted : Sunday, August 06, 2017 12:43:44 AM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 7/25/2011
Posts: 2,711
Location: Sussex Wisconsin
Visited five streams (and fished two) today in Iowa and Grant counties (Wisconsin) - full report here.. All were in great shape for early August, with very good water height and flow and great looking water. Fishing was hot early and through mid-day on hoppers, but tailed off a bit by mid-afternoon. Weather was excellent with partly cloudy skies and temps in the upper 50s early, and rising to the mid 70s after lunch.

There was evidence everywhere of the last flood event a couple weeks ago. Lots of debris piled up in places and plenty of farmers fences wiped out. Some damage to the streams but in general the flood has really helped the streams I looked at. The silt has been flushed out and in many places new deeper runs and pools have opened up. The weeds that are normally five feet tall at this time of year have been either flattened or washed away. Several of these streams that would be completely inaccessible you can now freely walk the banks to fish. Pretty cool for early August.



The debris piled up here around this power line pole is 150 yards from the stream!


Lots of gravel and sand moved around.



-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
Gurth
#263 Posted : Monday, August 14, 2017 2:50:13 AM
Rank: May Fly


Joined: 11/8/2016
Posts: 396
Location: Madison
William Schlafer wrote:





I looked upon this today.

That particular tree was pushed there from who knows where - which of course, you know.

Hadn't been out to this stream or the bigger one that it empties into since they got the 10 inches of rain several weeks back.

There are quite a few subtle and not so subtle changes.


Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
Gurth
#264 Posted : Monday, August 14, 2017 2:54:17 AM
Rank: May Fly


Joined: 11/8/2016
Posts: 396
Location: Madison
Drove by The Blue today and they are doing some major work on the stretch between Snowbottom and Bowers.

There are several dump trucks worth of boulders in piles and there was a backhoe placing them along corner banks even today.

First thought was wtf!?!?

The section they're working on though is a lot of weak black topsoil that you can actually watch eroding as you fish near it. It just constantly crumbles.

I have to assume that is what they are shoring up.
Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
William Schlafer
#265 Posted : Monday, August 14, 2017 1:16:12 PM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 7/25/2011
Posts: 2,711
Location: Sussex Wisconsin
Gurth wrote:
Drove by The Blue today and they are doing some major work on the stretch between Snowbottom and Bowers.

There are several dump trucks worth of boulders in piles and there was a backhoe placing them along corner banks even today.

First thought was wtf!?!?

The section they're working on though is a lot of weak black topsoil that you can actually watch eroding as you fish near it. It just constantly crumbles.

I have to assume that is what they are shoring up.



Yup, streambank armoring and sloping for erosion control, probably not HR work. Same thing they did over the last couple of years further down below the Shemak Road bridge. By default this helps Trout though as it improves water quality and the rock provides cover. I fished that section below Snowbottom Road bridge once about four years ago. Looked like carp water, and as you said, high collapsing banks.

I've been eyeing up the section of The Blue below Bowers road (part of the Snowbottom Natural Area) for some time now. Looks nice on the sat images. But unless you have a canoe or kayak there's almost no access, unless you want a very long hike in and out.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
William Schlafer
#266 Posted : Monday, August 14, 2017 1:29:19 PM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 7/25/2011
Posts: 2,711
Location: Sussex Wisconsin
Gurth wrote:
William Schlafer wrote:





I looked upon this today.

That particular tree was pushed there from who knows where - which of course, you know.

Hadn't been out to this stream or the bigger one that it empties into since they got the 10 inches of rain several weeks back.

There are quite a few subtle and not so subtle changes.





Yes, both streams certainly have seen some changes since I first fished them about seven years ago.

Seems like every year another flood rearranges things a bit. This time around the changes are mostly for the better though, and the fishing has steadily improved since the big flood on 2012. That one was really destructive, wiping out half of the best habitat in both streams and widening and shallowing them out for long stretches.

When it rains heavily in that valley, dead trees on the hillside fall over and slide down to the creek and the flood carries them downstream. You can see tree trunks 200 yards out in the pasture from the stream. Must have been a massive amount of water in that valley to move trees that size that far.

I'll be curious to see how deep a pocket the water carves out around that tangle of tree branches. The water from the last flood topped over that bank to the right, which has to be 10 feet high. I caught a couple small Brookies around that snag last week before I lost my fly to a tree branch. The big pool just above it is starting to silt in, which is a shame as it was the best and deepest pool on the stream.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
Gurth
#267 Posted : Monday, August 14, 2017 1:44:01 PM
Rank: May Fly


Joined: 11/8/2016
Posts: 396
Location: Madison
There's an oak tree on the little island just up from the Bowers Rd bridge now.

It had to have travelled almost a mile across that pasture to get to where it is now.

Could see the high water mark almost 10 feet above the stream.

A friend lives on Snowbottom Rd and said they got 10 inches when we got 4 a few weeks ago.

Can't even imagine.

As far as where they're doing the stream bank work, it's needed but I'm partial to that river and have caught nice fish in that stretch. It will pay dividends though.
Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
William Schlafer
#268 Posted : Monday, August 14, 2017 1:50:36 PM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 7/25/2011
Posts: 2,711
Location: Sussex Wisconsin
Stop by the Spurgeon Winery along Big Springs Branch sometime and have them tell you about the flooding they've seen. Real wrath of god stuff happens in that valley when it rains. Yet somehow the Trout never get washed away.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
Gurth
#269 Posted : Monday, August 14, 2017 2:21:59 PM
Rank: May Fly


Joined: 11/8/2016
Posts: 396
Location: Madison
William Schlafer wrote:
Stop by the Spurgeon Winery along Big Springs Branch sometime and have them tell you about the flooding they've seen. Real wrath of god stuff happens in that valley when it rains. Yet somehow the Trout never get washed away.


-Bill



Was listening to an Orvis Podcast that touched on that last week.

Apparently the water at the bottom of the stream doesn't really change much in its velocity during most flood events - even though it looks like the end of the world topside.

the trout just wait it out and the ones that didn't were eliminated from the gene pool thousands of years ago.

The only ones that typically still get washed away are fry and really small fish.


Found that info to be interesting and almost comforting on certain levels.
Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
JGF
#270 Posted : Monday, August 14, 2017 4:49:49 PM
Rank: Midge

Joined: 5/5/2016
Posts: 24
Location: Wisconsin
Gurth wrote:

Apparently the water at the bottom of the stream doesn't really change much in its velocity during most flood events - even though it looks like the end of the world topside.


For sure - also access to the floodplain is huge for fish being able to escape flood effects.

My thinking about this changed back in grad school having read a paper about a "catastrophic debris flood" - a flood with more "stuff" than water in it. They'd sampled before the flood and after it and saw do differences in trout density and size structure.

Floods certainly have some effect but probably less than what we assume them to be.

Gurth wrote:
The only ones that typically still get washed away are fry and really small fish.


And even at this, in two of the hardest hit streams around me, 2 weeks after the flood, I caught a 2-3" fish on each of them. They probably don't survive as well but may survive better than we assume.

The bright side of all this rain is that it should keep the aquifers full for awhile.


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