Driftless Trout Anglers

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West Branch  
#1 Posted : Sunday, September 4, 2016 7:05:53 PM(UTC)
West Branch
Rank: May Fly

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

My usual fishing partner, Jay, was a ski and trout bum in Utah before moving to Iowa with his then girlfriend, now wife. At first the Driftless streams didn't impress him much until he discovered that there are some incredibly productive little creeks that routinely kick out both big trout and big numbers of trout. He has become a big fan of stalking wild browns on tiny streams, so I wasn't surprised when he suggested fishing a couple of extremely small, out of the way brooks a few days ago.

Some years had passed since I had fished either one of these streams in neighboring coulees, but my recollection was that neither was very easy to fish due to being in sort of deep trenches with overhanging tree limbs. I suggested a different location, but Jay had scouted these creeks a couple of weeks ago and had a pretty good day nymphing. OK, the destination was set.

Maybe 15 years ago I saw a rod in a fly shop that stood out from the rest for one simple reason: it was only 5'3" long. I bought it with a couple of tight little streams in mind and have occasionally used it, though whole seasons pass without the little glass Fenwick 4/5wt seeing any action. Looking through a bunch of seldom used gear, I found a dainty reel with a 5wt WF line that seemed to balance the rod just right. After cleaning and dressing the line I stuck the reel in my vest.

When we hit the first stream the next morning, Jay pulled out a cute little rod that was all of 5'6" long. He was surprised to see that I had one even punier. After fooling around with leaders and tippet for the first hour or so, I started to really get dialed into the short rod. Nymphing with split shot and an indicator was sort of a "chuck and duck" proposition, but after awhile I even managed to roll cast with the mini-rod.

Creek number one wasn't all that productive, though we each managed a half dozen fish or so. When we pulled up to the parking spot at the next stream I was glad to have the bitty rod with me. We worked upstream alternating likely spots and catching some fish. At some point the usual fishermans' trails disappeared as the stream became tighter and the trench got deeper. By the time we came to some open territory we were both getting pretty artsy at casting our tiny rigs.

Nymphing can be sort of a chore, but there are times when fishing on top won't produce. A little bit after 5:000 fish started to take the caddis that were shooting off the surface. I greatfully tied on a no.16 elk hair dressing and was pleased to discover that compared to casting heavy nymphs, dry fly fishing was a breeze with my baby rod. Even with a fairly short leader fish were falling for our caddis flies. The little Fenwick was proving its worth with each fish.

By the time we had had enough of bushwhacking we had returned 60 fish to the creek and Jay kept three to eat. Not too bad a day and, I'm pretty sure, the first time I've hung with the shortie rod all day long.

I've gotta start carrying a camera with me.

Edited by user Sunday, September 4, 2016 8:16:43 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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trapper  
#2 Posted : Sunday, September 4, 2016 8:09:17 PM(UTC)
trapper
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 3/24/2010(UTC)
Posts: 2,169
Location: West Fork

Thanks: 4 times
Was thanked: 25 time(s) in 21 post(s)
Great report

I use a Cabelas CGR five foot nine inch three wt at times. Caught a Tiger with it at Troutstock this June
Get Reel
William Schlafer  
#3 Posted : Monday, September 5, 2016 8:07:05 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

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

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Was thanked: 97 time(s) in 83 post(s)
Great report.

I've been thinking about getting a shorter rod too, for those days when you want to fish those tree-lined streams and get into tighter places. Is it better to look for a fast action short rod, or one that's a bit softer? My 7' 6" 3W is much slower than my everyday 4W and it always takes awhile to adjust my casts.


-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  
#4 Posted : Monday, September 5, 2016 8:22:30 AM(UTC)
West Branch
Rank: May Fly

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

The 5'3" rod may be a little too short even on tiny, tree lined creeks. It seems like I already have an embarrassing number of rods, but there might be something in the 6' range that has my name on it.
shebs  
#5 Posted : Monday, September 5, 2016 7:03:57 PM(UTC)
shebs
Rank: Stone Fly

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

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Was thanked: 26 time(s) in 22 post(s)
I might be a dirty spin fisherman, but even I have a 4'6" rod in my trunk for those brushy streams where my usual 6' is too much.
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"
DanE  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, September 6, 2016 6:56:17 AM(UTC)
DanE
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 9/18/2014(UTC)
Posts: 1,238
Location: Prairie Du Sac, WI

William Schlafer wrote:
Great report.

I've been thinking about getting a shorter rod too, for those days when you want to fish those tree-lined streams and get into tighter places. Is it better to look for a fast action short rod, or one that's a bit softer? My 7' 6" 3W is much slower than my everyday 4W and it always takes awhile to adjust my casts.


-Bill


You took the words right out of my mouth, verbatim! ThumpUp
West Branch  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, September 6, 2016 8:34:42 AM(UTC)
West Branch
Rank: May Fly

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

Thinking about rod action, if I were to get another short rod it might be a little on the soft side. I'm not sure if I'm thinking about this correctly, but the short casting distances on really small, tight streams makes it harder to load the rod. It's easier for me to launch a bug a short distance with a small rod that's a bit on the noodley side of things. Sort of helps me compensate for a slightly lazy casting stroke.
lightningo2  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, September 6, 2016 8:22:05 PM(UTC)
lightningo2
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 1/11/2012(UTC)
Posts: 263
Man
Location: Wausau

Was thanked: 1 time(s) in 1 post(s)
Great report! I admit to having a small rod fetish Blushing Blushing ....sounds bad I know. I have several ultralight setups that are a blast on tiny creeks. A few 6 footers, as well as a 5'foot 3 WT. I also have some banty rods that are really just for novelty and fun, but not real practical. These short rods are excellent for casting dry flies!!

UserPostedImage

3 footer (Banty) Just for fun
UserPostedImage


UserPostedImage

LOL UserPostedImage

Trapper mentioned the Cabelas CGR ...great Rod. It's a slow rod, but a blast to fish with. Trout feel like whales on it when you get a 12" trout. mine is a 6'2 2wt.
UserPostedImage

Edited by user Tuesday, September 6, 2016 8:30:07 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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