Driftless Trout Anglers

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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Monday, June 12, 2017 3:11:03 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,763
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Now that the warmer summer weather has arrived, you need to either fish early or fish late to avoid the heat and bright sun. I choose the fish early option, which meant a ridiculously early wakeup call of 2:30AM, and then a three hour drive to get on the water at dawn.

White line fever with the windows wide open and Jackson Browne's "Running On Empty" playing on the radio.

"Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels"

Amen brother.
UserPostedImage

At arrival the sun broke over the hills and the fog burnt off the water. The tall stream-side grass made for good cover to hide behind and help prevent spooking the Trout in the clear water. In some places I made blind casts around and over the weeds and listened for the splash of the strike.
UserPostedImage

Arriving early turned out to be the right choice as the Brookies and Browns were in a good mood and feasted on the Pink Squirrel. A dozen or so feisty fish landed in the net in the first hour.
UserPostedImage
UserPostedImage

Yup, this is my kind of stream. I love fishing the skinny water and finding the places where Trout live. Won't be long and this will be an excellent spot for hopper fishing.
UserPostedImage

Although the bite was good on the Pink Squirrel, I was determined to try and catch something on a dry fly. There were risers here and there, but nothing in my fly box seemed to interest them much. I persisted and finally got a couple fish to flash at a purple Hippie Stomper. With the sun now blazing down and the air warming up the Trout seemed to lose interest by the minute. but there was one more spot on the stream I wanted to check out.

I floated a cast along the bank and suddenly there was a gold flash. Fish on! Brookie, I thought. But this wasn't your normal paint shaker Brookie fight. This one was tugging hard and running deep, like a Brown Trout. After a couple of upstream charges, I was able to turn him back to me and into the net.

And hot damn... It's a Tiger!
UserPostedImage

The picture doesn't quite do it justice as its tail is turned away from the camera a bit, but it measured a solid 12 inches and was very muscular and fought like a champion.

Tigers are rare. But judging from the posts on this forum, they're becoming more common in our improved streams.

Per Wikipedia:
"Wisconsin currently has no stocking program for tiger trout, but the hybrids show up naturally in the state's small streams (in particular in the Driftless Area). As brook trout populations have rebounded, incidences of tiger trout have improved from "exceedingly rare" to a "a bit better than rare."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_trout

I decided that catching this Tiger was a good way to end the day, so I headed back to the car. While putting the rod away, I noticed that I had been lucky to get him in the net. I hadn't noticed in all the excitement, but the Tiger had bent out the light hook on the Hippie Stomper.

He could've easily gotten off.

UserPostedImage

-Bill

Edited by moderator Monday, June 12, 2017 5:48:48 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
MikeJuran  
#2 Posted : Monday, June 12, 2017 3:15:33 PM(UTC)
MikeJuran
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 2/13/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,016
Man
Location: Chaseburg, WI

very nice Bill ... sorry you have to do the 3 hour drive thing ... but your dedication shows .
Fly Me A River
William Schlafer  
#3 Posted : Monday, June 12, 2017 3:38:13 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,763
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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MikeJuran wrote:
very nice Bill ... sorry you have to do the 3 hour drive thing ... but your dedication shows .


Thanks!

Yeah, the driving sucks. I figure 30,000 miles spent coming and going from the Driftless on fishing trips over the last seven years or so. Having family in the area helps as I can spend time with them while there. Maybe someday I'll move back (or at least closer) and be able to fish whenever the urge hits me.

Catching that Tiger was a treat. When I saw that bent hook though, I realized how lucky I had been.


-Bill

Edited by user Monday, June 12, 2017 3:39:35 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
shebs  
#4 Posted : Monday, June 12, 2017 3:59:15 PM(UTC)
shebs
Rank: Stone Fly

Joined: 5/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 766
Location: Mpls

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ThumpUp

That's a nice tiger! Most of the ones I've seen (with one exception) were under 10".
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"
EddieRivard  
#5 Posted : Monday, June 12, 2017 5:50:26 PM(UTC)
EddieRivard
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Location: New Brighton MN

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Great Report Bill! ThumpUp
NBrevitz  
#6 Posted : Monday, June 12, 2017 8:52:27 PM(UTC)
NBrevitz
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Man
Location: Lake Elmo, Mn

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Awesome! Great write up as alwaysThumpUp
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
William Schlafer  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, June 13, 2017 6:30:24 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,763
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Was thanked: 6 time(s) in 5 post(s)
Thanks guys! This was one of the more satisfying trips so far this season. Catching the Tiger was the icing on the cake.

I'm very familiar with this particular stream and the spot I caught him in wasn't particularly ideal. The water was a bit shallow with a sandy bottom, and there wasn't a lot of cover. Just an overhanging bank with a minor undercut under a shade tree. I've maybe caught one other Trout at this spot in more than a dozen other visits.

This follows what I've read about Tigers being lone wolf type predators that stake out a feeding spot and drive other Trout away. It will be fun to go back there next year and see if he's still there - maybe another 4-5 inches bigger.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
catbag  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, June 13, 2017 7:24:36 AM(UTC)
catbag
Rank: Midge

Joined: 6/27/2016(UTC)
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Location: St. Paul

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Awesome fish! Always enjoy reading your write ups.
NonResidentAngler  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, June 13, 2017 7:39:06 AM(UTC)
NonResidentAngler
Rank: Midge

Joined: 4/24/2017(UTC)
Posts: 15
Location: Minnesota

Does Minnesota and/or Wisconsin recognize a state record for tiger trout?
William Schlafer  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, June 13, 2017 8:21:38 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,763
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 6 time(s) in 5 post(s)
NonResidentAngler wrote:
Does Minnesota and/or Wisconsin recognize a state record for tiger trout?


Wisconsin does. According to this article this guy supposedly holds the official state record for inland Tiger Trout, caught on the West Fork Kickapoo with a spinner.

But Eddie holds the unofficial record in my book, simply based on the photo evidence, and gets style points for catching it during the winter months.


-Bill

“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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