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Gurth  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, November 7, 2017 3:55:01 AM(UTC)
Gurth
Rank: May Fly

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Well... I wrote this up a few weeks ago but wasn't able to post it, so may as well do so now since it's been slow around here and it's the (inland) offseason. Here goes...



Disclaimer: This is long and likely indulgent as it covers a three day weekend of trouting. Starting next year (season), I will have my own blog for trip reports. Proceed with caution... Wink


Was able to get out Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the final weekend and got 23, 24 and 28 trout to hand respectively. Great way to cap a spectacular fall and wonderful season.

Even though it was only 15 days, October was my most productive month by more than 50 fish over second place September.

Here’s how the final weekend went…


FRIDAY

Met a friend to fish a new (to me) section of a good sized trout stream. He was fishing streamers and I was doing the normal PMs.

The bite was a little slow to start, especially for me. He was getting steady average brownies but I only had a couple through the first half mile or so.


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Finally got a nice hit on a fast run below some riffles and after a decent fight landed him. Nice 16 or so inch thicky.


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Continued to work our way up the valley and I started to get average browns in riffles but the runs and pools remained quiet for me – especially the tails of pools which had been very productive over the past few weeks.


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Finished working a nice swift run to no avail and then saw this…


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Experience has taught me to try little spots like this that I would have passed by years ago. Stepped up to the shallow riffles adjacent to this and dinked my spinner just above it and BOOM! Got this…


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A comedy of errors ensued as he dropped off the hook as I was lifting him to my net and landed in the shallow riffles.


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I tried to grab him as he was slithering away towards deeper water. Got on all fours and pounced like a clumsy cat and finally secured the fish… all the while laughing at myself.

Best fish of the weekend at 17 inches.


Continued up the valley and saw sites like these…


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And caught fish like this…


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My friend had to work, so around 1:30 we headed back to the cars and got rained on during the couple mile hike.

After some lunch at a different buddy’s cabin that I’d be staying at and some dry clothes, decided to try a smaller stream for the last few hours of the day.

This particular stream is always busy and I believe I heard that guides use it a lot. No one was on it at 3:30 when I arrived.

Got a few average brownies to wrap up a pretty good first day of my weekend.


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The most memorable part of the second stream was when I tried to make one last stop before dark at the lowest section where maybe a biggun would be lurking.

Could see that the cows were in the adjacent pasture and when I entered, one and then two and then three took a keen interest in me and started walking towards me.

They walked right up to me and even though they weren’t being aggressive, they were a bit close for comfort so I got in a side stream that would lead down to the bigger water.


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They came right to the bank over my shoulder and it’s only a couple of feet wide. I could almost feel their breath on me.

At this point, I see that the rest of the herd, 30-40 more cows are starting to move in my direction. Okay, I’m outta here.

They followed me to the fence to see me on my way.


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Headed to the bar for fish fry and the Clemson loss and a few “One more and we gotta go’s” with a couple of buddies who had been hunting.
Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
Gurth  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, November 7, 2017 3:56:20 AM(UTC)
Gurth
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SATURDAY

Flying solo on Saturday, decided to use my location in Grant county to hit some far western streams north of the Wisconsin that I don’t often get to.

My first destination was a well regarded mixed fishery (brookies and browns and maybe a tiger or two).


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Water was clear and I had my section to myself. Drizzle and rain drops came and went and came again. Lots of great looking riffles, runs and pools but the bite was slow with the obvious, magazine photo lies failing to produce.

Did get a nice brown from a tight corner right at the drop from riffles. Was almost on top of the spot before I could get an angle on it and the fish didn’t even start fighting until it was out of the water. Just hooked and lifted him.


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Got a few small brookies and some average browns. Also lost a really nice brookie that I saw when he cleared the water to spit my hook.


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Since the bite wasn’t really on – or… I was simply doing things wrong, decided to head further upstream to another entry point. When I got there, it was occupied so I headed to my next destination… a brown trout stream through mostly pasture areas.

Once again, the best looking spots failed to produce. In addition, the fish that did bite seemed to be non-committal and many were tugging for a bit and getting off. Trout short strike on spinners too and this was one of those days.


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Did manage 4 browns, the best of which – around 16 inches - I dropped in the water trying to get a photo of.

Hopped back across the Wisconsin for my final destination, a good sized trout stream near Fennimore. Started on some narrow water up in the valley and managed several browns although lost more than I caught due to the short striking.

The rain and drizzle picked back up along with blustery wind. Only the dedicated or stupid would be out in this crap to catch fish like this...


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Headed to anther spot downstream and got a few more.

One of my favorite spots on this river is a long and wide section of riffles where it’s possible to catch multiple browns as there are holding lies throughout. Was very pleased with a 13 incher from this shallow water to end the day.


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Ended up with 24 fish on the day and felt meh about it coz there wasn’t really a signature fish and also because of how may spit the hook.

24 fish is meh? How spoiled had I become?

Edited by user Tuesday, November 7, 2017 4:12:36 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
Gurth  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, November 7, 2017 3:57:10 AM(UTC)
Gurth
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SUNDAY

Had watched the radar the night before and saw that heavy rain had landed on my chosen destination in Grant County – my favorite big trout stream. Knew better, but really wanted to fish this place so headed over to check it out. Sure enough, chocolate milk. Walked it a bit hoping that they’d bite anyway and the wind kicked up and the heavy drizzle soaked me.

Nothing doing.

My backup plan was to hit spots closer to home and south of HWY 18 where the heavy rain hadn’t fell. Have a couple of honey holes that I stopped at before choosing a stream to fish.

The first hole seemed dead although after many casts finally got this beauty…


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At least I wasn’t gonna get shutout on closing day.

Was starting to think that the trout gods were humbling me for not appreciating the prior day’s 24 fish.

The second honey hole produced nothing… not even a nibble.

One interesting thing that happened though was a tree falling at the edge of the adjacent woods.

As I'm standing there fishing I hear a loud "CRACK" of rending timber and I look over to see a large mature tree falling over, right near the edge of the woods about 200 yards from me. It made quite a ruckus and ended with a "WHOOOOMP" when it hit the ground.

On my way out, I walked over to where it lay to make sure there wasn't a hunter in it and one of the trunk sections was cracked vertically. I could see the stump in the woods and it essentially snapped off about 4 feet up and for no apparent reason.


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Pretty crazy to be there at just the right time to witness that.

Would it have made a sound if I wasn't there?

So… 1 fish on closing day at noon? What to do…

Went to a stream south of the Trollway that I figured would be running clear and usually produces.

Got a small brown almost right away and became optimistic that I might be able to get a few. Fished through the stretch and the fishing stayed steady but the fish were small and many were able to shake themselves off the hook.


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At this point I was just happy to be getting any fish and after landing 9 through this section, was determined to get (at least) 6 more to reach 700 on the year.


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Hopped over the ridge to another stretch and the bite continued. Had to go under a bridge to get my snagged lure. While under this low span, casted upstream and hooked a colorful brown but I couldn't lift my rod high enough to keep tension on the line and it got away.

Moved through the next section and continued to get fish and even got a solid brown in a deep run. Finally a decent fish!


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Was able to get trout number 700 on the year and just like number 600, it was an unremarkable fish.


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Ended the stretch with 20 fish to hand.

Was planning on going home at this point, but the bite was on and I hated to quit at 1:30. Went upstream to where this stream gets quite tiny.


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Cool stretch of sidewalk sized water but didn't find fish other than a pretty 12 inch brown in a narrow spot. Was pleased to get this solid brown from such a small spot.


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Would have been content to keep fishing this water, but 1 fish in 100 yards wasn’t enough on closing day. I’ll go back next season.

Went back down to a section where the water is a bit bigger. Walked further downstream than I had gone before and found a neat area below some short bluffs.


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The bite was a little lighter than earlier as I worked my way back to the van. Managed a final decent fish on the season that bit right at my feet.


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Also got 5 other marginals and then it was time to go home.

My last trout of the regular season before exiting the water and heading to the van.


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Was fun to land a bunch, even if they were mostly small. Especially considering that at one point I thought I might not get many (any?) at all.

Good way to end an epic fall and a great season. Pretty much from mid-Augist through to the end, I had one huge day after another. Never have had such a sustained productive stretch.



What now?

Definitely gonna go after lake run fish at least once this fall. Also hoping to get over to Iowa sometime in November.

For the rest, will have to content myself with transitional waters and smallie streams and get out in the kayak while the water is still warm enough.

January will be here before we know it. Can’t wait!

Edited by user Tuesday, November 7, 2017 4:23:12 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
Gurth  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, November 7, 2017 4:06:40 AM(UTC)
Gurth
Rank: May Fly

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Epitaph...

Haven't gone fishing at all since the 15th and honestly haven't missed it yet.

There were a lot of home projects that I had been neglecting and it's been nice to sleep in on the weekends.
Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
NBrevitz  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, November 7, 2017 4:20:27 AM(UTC)
NBrevitz
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Good stuff, love the color on those Browns👍
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
Gurth  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, November 7, 2017 4:24:47 AM(UTC)
Gurth
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Originally Posted by: NBrevitz Go to Quoted Post
Good stuff, love the color on those Browns👍



Thanks.

That last decent sized one was super dark - coppery brown.
Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
William Schlafer  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, November 8, 2017 1:09:50 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Gurth, you've definitely got the DTA crown for most days fished and most Trout caught. Sure wish I could get out that often. Nice looking Trout. Some of those Browns have shoulders. 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.
Gurth on 11/8/2017(UTC)
Gurth  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, November 8, 2017 1:40:09 AM(UTC)
Gurth
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Originally Posted by: William Schlafer Go to Quoted Post
Gurth, you've definitely got the DTA crown for most days fished and most Trout caught.




Yeah... about that. Was never my intent and my guess is there are lurkers herein that did better than me, but have the dignity not to mention it. Laugh

There are a lot of more accomplished trout fishermen around here than me. I just went out a ton.


This is the first year that I kept a log.

I'm glad I did it especially since I did little write-ups for every day of different things that I saw or that happened and also about specific interesting fish or battles or fish lost.

In years to come, those may be fun to look back on.

The fish count was a double edged sword though. I didn't pay it much heed during most of the year and I figured I'd probably get around 500 at the pace I was on throughout the year - which would have been incredible for me.

As my fall heated up, I started to get a bit focused on numbers though and that was kind of lame to be honest. I didn't get so focused that I just went for count or small fish (didn't need to as every stream was ON anyway), but I was usually aware of where I was at as I broke 500 and then realized 600 was easily within reach and 700 was even going to be possible.

I doubt I'll have another season quite like this one from a numbers perspective, but that's fine. Don't need to or even want to. Just this once though and while keeping track, wanted to see what I actually ended up with.

Will keep a log moving forward though as I find being able to know when and where I've fished specific streams to be valuable.


EDIT:

A final thought on all this...

I caught almost 300 fish on my 10 best days of the year. That leaves 400 trout spread over almost 90 days and included in that was around 10 times getting nothing and another 10-15 times getting one or two fish.

There was a LOT of scuffling to go along with my good days. As I said, the fish total was as much about getting out a lot as anything.

Edited by user Wednesday, November 8, 2017 6:17:39 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
William Schlafer  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, November 8, 2017 2:50:11 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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I never kept a log, but I do keep track of all the streams I've visited in the last eight years. My Google Map is peppered with over 150 pins. So far, only Wisconsin streams and rivers, but someday I'll foray over the line to Minnesota and Iowa and test myself on those foreign waters.

My first couple of years out (using the fly rod) was a real education about what works, where to go to find fish, and what conditions to look for. I spent many days pounding stream banks on non-productive streams and in non-productive conditions. I think this investment in time has been important as my fishing is more satisfying now in many ways. Not just in numbers or size, but in figuring out what will work and when, and capitalizing on that knowledge. Nothing better than reading the water, picking the right fly, seeing a likely holding spot and predicting the exact moment when the strike will come. Of course, plenty of the opposite still occurs, but the learning curve on this sport keeps evolving.

Funny thing is that the last couple of seasons have found me occasionally going back to streams I haven't fished in years, or I had deemed not worthy of my time. The challenge then becomes can I find good Trout in these overlooked streams? I love catching fish in places nobody thinks is worthy. You would be surprised the number of land owners who live right next to streams, and have no idea there are Trout in there.

Always a test, another challenge, another goal. That's what keeps it interesting.


-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  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, November 8, 2017 7:17:12 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Originally Posted by: William Schlafer Go to Quoted Post


Funny thing is that the last couple of seasons have found me occasionally going back to streams I haven't fished in years, or I had deemed not worthy of my time. The challenge then becomes can I find good Trout in these overlooked streams? I love catching fish in places nobody thinks is worthy. You would be surprised the number of land owners who live right next to streams, and have no idea there are Trout in there.

Always a test, another challenge, another goal. That's what keeps it interesting.




Kind of along those lines...

The vast majority of the times I struck out or got 1 or 2 fish were on waters close to my home (not in the heart of the Driftless), especially the "Sug" where I've probably never gotten more than 3 fish on an outing yet still go to a lot coz it's 5 minutes from my front door and awfully convenient to hit when I only have a half hour or an hour.

Stopped there 23 times this year, got shutout 8 of those and caught 23 fish. Never was there more than an hour or two, but pretty pedestrian numbers.

The upside though and what keeps me going back (besides the convenience) is that of those 23 fish, 3 were 18 inchers, 1 was 19 inches and only 3 or 4 were under 12. A bunch were 15 or 16 inches.

By far best size structure of anywhere I go, but you really gotta work for em... or at least I do.


Also went to a slew of new spots this year, especially north of the Wisconsin as there aren't many places south that I haven't been to. The results were hit or miss, but definitely found some great new spots and have a lot more to explore up that way. Looking forward to more next year.

Want to get to the sand county streams more next year too... coz... I'm a glutton for punishment apparently, but like you say... new challenges.

Could keep going to my known great spots, but where's the fun in always going to the same places?


I will figure out how to get trout on those sand county streams! Mad



Laugh

Edited by user Wednesday, November 8, 2017 7:23:16 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
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