Driftless Trout Anglers

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#661 Posted : Friday, February 22, 2019 5:27:03 PM(UTC)
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 11/7/2016(UTC)
Posts: 1,093
Location: Madison

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Was able to jump on a brookie stretch of a sidewalk stream for a couple hours.

Water was low-ish and super GIN. Stayed anyway as that was where I wanted to be.

Managed 6 nice-for-this-part-of-the-world brookies (9-11+ inches) to hand. Had a few others on that got off and some short strikers. Saw many others and even had a few run into my boots.

Nice little jaunt on a beautiful afternoon.



Smoked myself in the face with a lure. Was caught in some streamside grass and I was pulling and it came screaming my way. Usually, I easily get out of the way.

Hit me right in the cheek like a rock shot from a slingshot. Stung pretty good but fortunately didn't stick.

Then I felt a trickle but it stopped pretty fast and on I went.

A selfie with a trout with it embedded in my face might have almost made it worthwhile. Laugh

The snow was ridiculously deep in places around the stream – waist high. Part of why I chose this one coz I figured I'd have to wade 100% of the time.

For my exit, I chose a route that took me up an embankment to the road that had chest high snow coz of the plows and I had to swim up through it. Heroically, I made it.

I'll try to be smarter next time though.

Finally and anecdotally, the brookies in this particular stream have progressively expanded downstream over the past couple years. I'm getting them lower and in better numbers and better size further down each year.

I was not in those crossover areas on this trip. I was in water that has always been brookie dominated. Still… very cool for way down in this part of the state.

I know I've read that some of the sheds around here are getting colder over time and I know smallies have been replaced by browns on some waters even further down in the systems as the waters cool.

I'll take it as a positive.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
#662 Posted : Friday, February 22, 2019 8:49:43 PM(UTC)
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 6/30/2011(UTC)
Posts: 553
Location: Far west suburbs of Chicago

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Buffer strips, native vegetation, better agricultural practices. All result in more water having a chance to seep into the ground and replenish the springs rather than run off of a pavement into the nearest stream and ultimately to the Gulf Of Mexico. I'm noticing more flow on some of the streams I see regularly and even the appearance of some new springs; all that results in cooler water downstream. A positive for sure. Maybe brook trout won't be extirpated from Wisconsin in our lifetimes after all. I'd hate to be reduced to fishing for "cold water carp" and smallmouths only.
#663 Posted : Friday, February 22, 2019 10:12:06 PM(UTC)
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 3/16/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1,420
Location: Lake Elmo, Mn

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The Rush is actually a great example of this. As recently as 2002, the stream was considered a put, grow, and responsibly take fishery for Browns. There was some natural repo, but not too much.

Now, the stream hasn’t been stocked in 7-8 years, and on top of that, there are LOTS of Brookies between Martell and 72, a section that doesn’t have a ton of Brookie creeks feeding into it.

Who knows, maybe I won’t have to rotenone it after all, they’ll kick the damn Huns out themselves.

Long live Salvelinus👍
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
William Schlafer  
#664 Posted : Friday, February 22, 2019 11:16:07 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,275
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Here's a link to the old WNDR report on Driftless Area cold water streams. I know I've posted this link several times in the past, but I thought it worth reposting for the DTA newbies.

The gist of the report is that many DA cold water streams are slowly transitioning into warm water fisheries. This was based on data gathered years ago. With a new administration in control, maybe the WDNR will be able to update this report with more recent information and restore the cuts made by the Walker regime.


Edit: Here are links to the individual reports for each region of the study:

WDNR Master Plan Kinnickinnic River Region
WDNR Master Plan Chippewa River Region
WDNR Master Plan Black River Region
WDNR Master Plan Kickapoo River Region
WDNR Master Plan Baraboo River Region
WDNR Master Plan Lower Wisconsin River Region
WDNR Master Plan Platte River Region
WDNR Master Plan Pecatonica River Region

Lots of cool maps and data showing locations for Brookies, Browns and warm water species and assessments of those streams.

Edited by user Saturday, February 23, 2019 12:53:50 AM(UTC)  | Reason: added links for reports

“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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