Driftless Trout Anglers

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cschub13  
#1 Posted : Monday, May 15, 2017 10:18:24 AM(UTC)
cschub13
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 7/28/2014(UTC)
Posts: 150
Man
Location: Milwaukee

I've been part of this forum for almost three years now, spending the first six months of that soaking in all the information. And after two solid years of attempting to fly fish these trout streams, I think I'm genuinely getting a good understanding of what I'm doing. Since I live in Milwaukee, it's a minimum four hour round trip drive to the nearest Driftless stream, and as a result I haven't made the journey near as much as I would have liked to. Injuring my knee and having surgery last year did not help either of course. I'm seven months out from surgery, getting stronger, and determined to improve my fly fishing skills and most importantly, my results. Most of the development in my fly fishing ability has come as a result of fishing warmwater species, mainly smallies and pike, but I want to make it a point this year to focus more time on the Driftless trout.

Saturday marked the third time I had been out this year, with the first two outings in mid February having been very, let's say, demoralizing. The first of which was a bitterly cold day with bright blue skies and terribly strong winds that offered up one small brown. The second, a week later, was the strange weekend of 60 degree temps in the middle of "winter". Perhaps one of the worst days of fishing physiologically I have ever experienced. Beautiful warm weather and hungry fish but despite my six hours of round trip driving, I somehow ended the day losing seven fish with none to hand. It was a killer, and a major contributing factor for not getting out again until now.

Reluctant to make another solo trip, I convinced my fishing buddy that it was going to be a perfect day to get out there and find some fish for once...the same thing I say every time. Having convinced him he need to get a fly rod last year to come trout fishing with me, he gave in, but in that year he didn't manage to catch a single fish with it. This was mainly do to his unwillingness to consistently put faith in the equipment and keep his patients...which to be fair, fly fishing is probably not for everyone. With his poor results always fresh in mind he gave the fly rod the middle finger and scooped up a nice st croix trout rod and spinning reel setup from Gander's ashes.

My bud hails for the land down below (Illinois...lame), so we agreed to meet up in Verona at 6:30 and consolidate to one vehicle for the journey ahead. Having seen all the success that the spin guys have on this site tossing panther martins and similar spinners, I figured there was no doubt that he would at least catch some fish. Acting essentially as his "guide" for the day, I was hopeful at the very least I could live vicariously through his spoils. Richland county would host our adventures for the day, as I had picked out a few new streams to test out. We arrived at our first place of interest at about 8:00 and it was already about 60 degrees outside...fish or not, I'm not sure it really could have been titled a bad day. After park and gearing up, we walked down the road to an access point and made our way out to the stream and up towards the first good looking spots. The stream was a bit stained but did not seem high, so I was encouraged by this immediately. It took us about 15 minutes to get to a fantastic looking plunge pool that was shaded by the bank and tree growth. Perhaps fearing the usual outcome, I offered him the first go, which produced several furious hits accompanied by the bright flashes of hungry fish. "Well get it back out there", I said with a grin. We all know how this story ends of course...as his little mepps got smacked by a nice brownie. After quickly getting him in the net and exchanging high fives, he measured out at 15", his largest brown and a great way to start the day off.

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I had made the decision the night before that I was going to fish wooly buggers exclusively for the day, something I had never tried before (We didn't see a single fish rise the entire day, so turned out to not be a terrible strategy). Well I certainly didn't need an invite to get my bugger into that fishy looking water, so the first cast of the day brought me a nice brown a tad shorter than the previous. However the rest of the day was going to go I was in the mood alright, vindicated and ready to get after it.

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While I enjoyed my moment of glory and snapped a few pics of gorgeous butter, home slice wasn't wasting any time getting some casts in without me waiting my turn. Again he was getting swipes, but this time no hook ups. Once I gathered my senses and realized I still had a whole day of fishing ahead of me, I got my bugger back in there. Twitching and stripping it back, it was hit multiple times aggressively. So a few more casts and I was hooked up again, with another nice sized fish. Much to my surprise and complete delight it was a brook trout this time, my first in fact. It was one of those moments we have all certainly experienced while fishing, usually more than once, but I could not have been more excited...teeth gritted and hands shaking. Sadly my bud is a terrible photographer, but alas. A fish I will certainly not forget any time soon, and one that will definitely keep the fire burning.

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A few more casts there for us both produced little to note, so we moved ahead up stream very much upbeat by the start of our day. We spent another good hour on the stream with a few hits, but nothing to show before heading back out to the truck to forge on.

After enjoying an early morning beverage we moved on to the next stream I had picked out another 30 minutes Northwest. Our spirits were high as we geared up and jumped into the next spot, again with some slightly stained water but the sun getting higher. Trekking through some heavy stream side vegetation and maneuvering around many fallen trees, we came upon several very inviting sections of the stream. Sweating our asses off, we traveled thru to the next bridge crossing, coming up with another nine nice browns between us.

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In the end we only fished until early afternoon in order to get up to New Lisbon to check out a boat my buddy was interested in (let's hope that goes throughLOL). While these numbers and size are by no means high, especially compared to the spoils I often see by the members of this forum, it was by far the most successful day of trout fishing we have both had. Something that we desperately needed to shake the crushing weight of recent defeats from our backs, and to encourage future plans of returning.

Amazing weather, some good fishing, and cold beers among fishing bros...it was a great day no doubt. I finally think I'm getting the hang of this!

Edited by user Monday, May 15, 2017 10:19:32 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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William Schlafer  
#2 Posted : Monday, May 15, 2017 10:35:19 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Great report Cam! Those are some nice looking fish. That Brookie is nice and fat.

I too live in the Milwaukee area and each trip up to the Driftless feels a voyage. Getting the weather to cooperate with my plans is always a gamble too. Nothing worse than driving for hours just to find every stream in the area blown out.

Persistence is the right approach when it comes to fly fishing. As you mentioned, after awhile you feel like you got it figured out, and then mother nature schools you. But it does get better over time.


-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  
#3 Posted : Monday, May 15, 2017 10:51:49 AM(UTC)
Gurth
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That looks like a great day by anyone's measure - certainly mine anyway.

Well done.
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
WI-fly  
#4 Posted : Monday, May 15, 2017 11:16:12 AM(UTC)
WI-fly
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Excellent write up of your adventure. I remember my first few solo trips -- would catch nothing but trees and became an expert at wind knots. When I finally caught that first fish (orange scud) I was so excited and was looking for someone to high five, but of course was by myself. That little 9" brown was a trophy to me and made me much more excited and dedicated to doing it again.

Nice job on getting your buddy on some fish too!!
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Coulee Region Trout Unlimited
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EddieRivard  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:17:28 AM(UTC)
EddieRivard
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What A heartwarming story. Keep up the good work!
draik11  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:30:12 AM(UTC)
draik11
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Great story! I was in the same situation as you until recently. Many three hour trips to the driftless left my buddy and I with one or two fish to hand or completely skunked. I'll never forget my trip where I was "awakened" and finally gained the confidence.

Congrats to you and your buddy and keep on fishin'!! ThumpUp
cschub13  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:53:23 AM(UTC)
cschub13
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 7/28/2014(UTC)
Posts: 150
Man
Location: Milwaukee

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad to have a solid trout day in the books, and just hope I can keep finding the time to get out there!
jfinn  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:58:02 AM(UTC)
jfinn
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cschub13 wrote:
Since I live in Milwaukee, it's a minimum four hour round trip drive to the nearest Driftless stream, and as a result I haven't made the journey near as much as I would have liked to.




I'm just south of Milwaukee and my goal every season is to get out there at least one day a month but with moving and 2 new jobs in the last 18 months it hasn't happened. If you ever looking for someone to fish with let me know.
NBrevitz  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, May 16, 2017 11:17:26 AM(UTC)
NBrevitz
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That's an excellent first Brookie, congrats!
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
cschub13  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, May 23, 2017 7:31:17 AM(UTC)
cschub13
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 7/28/2014(UTC)
Posts: 150
Man
Location: Milwaukee

jfinn wrote:
cschub13 wrote:
Since I live in Milwaukee, it's a minimum four hour round trip drive to the nearest Driftless stream, and as a result I haven't made the journey near as much as I would have liked to.




I'm just south of Milwaukee and my goal every season is to get out there at least one day a month but with moving and 2 new jobs in the last 18 months it hasn't happened. If you ever looking for someone to fish with let me know.



Might have to take you up on that. Do you do much fishing on the rivers around here?
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