Driftless Trout Anglers

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Gurth  
#911 Posted : Monday, September 9, 2019 6:48:03 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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And as one of the people who does walk all the way down to the edge of the wild area and fishes back, I hope they don’t do their “improvements” all the way down.

That’s the last stretch that hasn’t been plowed under other than the short stretch through the woods up by the highway.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
William Schlafer  
#912 Posted : Monday, September 9, 2019 6:49:39 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Streamers can work pretty much all year long. But right now Trout attention is likely more focused on the horde of hoppers crashing into the water. Feeding Trout will be glued to the stream banks under overhanging grass and undercut banks. Go back to that stream in the spring and a large dark streamer will get the big Browns to come out and play. Especially if the creek is up a bit and has a decent stain. Look for seams in current or holding spots next to places where the current is funneling food. There almost always be an alpha Trout parked there.

Much of the stream work I've seen lately in SW Wisconsin is more erosion control than Trout habitat restoration. Sloping those banks allows the flood water to pass overhead, instead of digging in and washing away the soil. I've noticed that some of the habitat improvement from years ago has been washed away or damaged. It wouldn't surprise me to see some effort in the future to replace some of that down the road if Trout numbers begin to drop on those creeks.

That Brown Trout in the last photo looks great. Well done!


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
thanks 1 user thanked William Schlafer for this useful post.
Smis on 9/9/2019(UTC)
Smis  
#913 Posted : Monday, September 9, 2019 10:12:02 PM(UTC)
Smis
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Originally Posted by: Gurth Go to Quoted Post
That last one is gorgeous.

I don’t find many big fish In that one any more for whatever reason and a 15-16 is a nice one there at least for me of late.

You are far more charitable in your reaction to what they are doing than I am.

I’m pissed. They’ve completely destroyed the character of those stretches and made them sterile.

Changed what made that place unique and made it boring and ugly.

There was never a shortage of fish in that place and the last two seasons has seen my catch rates there plummet.

Far more distressing to me than the catch rate though is the sterilization of what was once a wild place.

Golf course stream? Hell, you could take a cart on it now.


.


WORST CASE SCENARIO
- there is nothing wrong with the fishery
- the DNR or whoever tears up the land in an attempt to fix the perceived problem
- the attempts to fix the problem don't take and the fishery continues to decline
- the stretch of river turns into an over accessible "golf cart stream" in the process

BEST CASE SCENARIO
- there is something legitimately wrong with the fishery
- the DNR or whoever takes minimally invasive measure to fix the problem
- the fishery responds positively to the stream improvements/restorations
- the land returns to its previously wild state
- the river is more stable and capable of withstanding floods
- this stretch of river remains accessible only in the sense that it is public land and free to anyone who is willing to put in the work to explore its unmolested beauty

I am legitimately concerned about the former, but hopeful that the result will be closer to the latter, even if it takes two-three years for the land to restore itself.
Smis  
#914 Posted : Monday, September 9, 2019 10:14:48 PM(UTC)
Smis
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Originally Posted by: William Schlafer Go to Quoted Post
Streamers can work pretty much all year long. But right now Trout attention is likely more focused on the horde of hoppers crashing into the water. Feeding Trout will be glued to the stream banks under overhanging grass and undercut banks. Go back to that stream in the spring and a large dark streamer will get the big Browns to come out and play. Especially if the creek is up a bit and has a decent stain. Look for seams in current or holding spots next to places where the current is funneling food. There almost always be an alpha Trout parked there.

Much of the stream work I've seen lately in SW Wisconsin is more erosion control than Trout habitat restoration. Sloping those banks allows the flood water to pass overhead, instead of digging in and washing away the soil. I've noticed that some of the habitat improvement from years ago has been washed away or damaged. It wouldn't surprise me to see some effort in the future to replace some of that down the road if Trout numbers begin to drop on those creeks.

That Brown Trout in the last photo looks great. Well done!


-Bill


Thanks Bill!

I know I probably jumped the gun a little but I was banking on the browns being a little more agro as they approach their spawning time. It's early September, but it felt like fall yesterday.
Gurth  
#915 Posted : Tuesday, September 10, 2019 12:19:04 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Yeah… it's crap.

Used to try and toe the party line on HI but my tune has really changed the more places I've been to and the more "improvement" I've seen.

Contrast that with the thrill of exploration on the still "wild" streams that many (most) won't go to.

Armoring the banks is one thing, but they go too far when they create features such as drops and pools. It honestly starts to feel like mini-golf after a while and none of it looks or feels anything other than fake.

Like what a trout stream would look like at Disney World.

In addition, in this particular stream, they have removed the in-stream boulders that created little holding lies and broke up the (now) monotony of the fairways.

These days, I enjoy it when I see a lunker bunker wiped out and nature taking back what is hers. The wreckage often creates better habitat than intact bunker did anyway.

If it were up to me to design a stream… jeez, just the human arrogance of that thought… but since that is what's happening… if it were up to me to design a stream, I'd do the bank armoring and leave random stuff (boulders and maybe deadfall) in the water for Mother Nature to move around and arrange over time as she sees fit. I'd also let the pools form themselves as much as possible, taking into account that some constraints may need to be in place so that the water didn't destroy the bank armoring.

The stream that Smis is referring to is one of my absolute old favorites… or was. I barely recognize it now.

A few weeks ago, took my wife to where they are working this year – which was a natural area and untouched by HI – and she commented that it looked like the end of the Lorax. She'd never seen that stretch before they flattened it. She was spot on.

I hadn't known that they were working there either and I kept mentioning things like "This used to be a nice little shelf into a drop pool." and "There was an old tree root system here that created a nice little trench." and "There used to be a pool here."

A few years ago, I'd be devastated by what they've done. It still disappoints me, but there's nothing I can do – no one asked me first lol – and I've got so many other options to trout fish now.

Hopefully, in 5 years or so, it will start to reclaim itself.

/rant


For now.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
thanks 1 user thanked Gurth for this useful post.
Smis on 9/10/2019(UTC)
Gurth  
#916 Posted : Friday, September 13, 2019 12:52:52 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Well... my plans for Saturday afternoon > Sunday morning may need an adjustment, but I'm very hopeful that the smaller streams that I haven't been able to fish (recently) this year (since spring) have had their canopy cleared by this rain.

The 72 hour totals show a good amount of rainfall in precisely the areas that I'd want...


Precip


Of course I hope that no one lost property or sustained damage and I puckered for a bit last night as my sump ran almost non-stop for a bit.

Silver linings though and I've been waiting for a gully washer.


Anyway, headed to a cabin in Grant for Deer Camp (I don't hunt but everyone else does - I'll just drink and play cards) Saturday night but might have to fish small stuff depending on what the conditions are.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
William Schlafer  
#917 Posted : Friday, September 13, 2019 1:44:10 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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The timing of these big rain events has been terrible for me this year. Whenever I can't get away, the fishing conditions are perfect. Then, as soon as I make a plan, boom! Blown out streams for days.

Times running out. Only a month left in the in-land Trout season.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
rschmidt  
#918 Posted : Friday, September 13, 2019 11:16:23 PM(UTC)
rschmidt
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It's even worse when you can throw a rock and hit a designated stream and the water is fubared due to flooding! Bullshit weather!! Happy Fishing!!!
weiliwen  
#919 Posted : Saturday, September 14, 2019 1:19:22 PM(UTC)
weiliwen
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I had to drive down early from Madison to Lincolnshire yesterday; the river in my back door, the Des Plaines River is at the 3rd highest level ever - the 1st and 2nd resulted in widespread flooding, and my home was surrounded in water, the last time for 12 days. last week the level was at 6 1/2 feet, this morning it's 15.05 feet. There is a lot of water flowing there.

As long as the water in the Driftless is lower by next weekend's Trapfest and bamboo rod building class, I'll be fine.
Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
Gurth  
#920 Posted : Sunday, September 15, 2019 6:11:06 AM(UTC)
Gurth
Rank: Dragon Fly

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Found.great water in Grant today in the tribs. Fish were just nibbling though to the point of madness. Probably interacted with 40 trout but only landed 5. Worst short striking/messing with me I’ve ever encountered/endured.

Seriously frustrated at times.

Silver lining... everyone here at deer camp is in bed (coz they have to get up much earlier than me) and I’m watching the storm roll in up here on a ridge above the Blue.

Yeah... another great day in the Driftless.

“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
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