Driftless Trout Anglers

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Gurth  
#1 Posted : Monday, April 30, 2018 5:42:19 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Spent Friday night at a buddy's cabin that's on a ridge above an old favorite stream in Grant County. Several friends were turkey hunting on his land and all were staying there overnight.

Tried a new stream south of 18 Friday evening upon my arrival in the area that I'd been wanting to get to for a couple of years but never made it to. The plan was to fish this till dark.

Like many areas south of the ridge, the stream was less than ideal with rocky substrate and low flow. Combine those factors with the area's lack of precipitation and I found a gin clear shallow ghost town. The (seemed like) gale force north wind didn't help my mood either.

Left after maybe 45 minutes and hopped back over the ridge to that old favorite stream. Was almost 5:00 and didn't want to show up at the cabin with only a shutout to tell.

The first two bridges had vehicles, so had to settle for my least favorite entry point of the upper stream – an easement that is likely the most fished in Grant County.

Water was a good 8-12 inches low and pretty clear.

Sigh… my "epic" overnight trip was off to a rocky start. I never do well on this stretch (I believe it gets fished every day) and as per usual, couldn't get much to happen.

Did get this one almost immediately and the photo turned out pretty cool…


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Nothing was working after that first fish though and threw multiple colors, big and small PMs, hit riffles and pools and likely lies behind boulders. After an hour and only seeing lots of small short strikers and other seemingly empty water, decided to try a jig.

On maybe the second cast, got my first ever fish on a jig. Not my first trout… my first fish.


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Have never had any confidence using jigs and never used them much or stuck with them.

Brimming with new hope, hit the rest of the stretch with renewed energy. That remains the only fish I've ever caught on a jig. RollEyes

This is a beautiful stretch of water though and I love this rock…


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Can't be moved by any flood, so will obstinately get worn down over time.

Came to the end of the section at a crossroads. The sun was just about to dip beneath the ridge and it just wasn't happening. 2 fish in maybe 2 hours on stream. Time for a cocktail and dinner?

Nope… this ain't over yet!

Climbed through a fence to hit the next section which is one I really like and usually do okay on and normally access from the next bridge up and walk down – I was getting pretty far from my van at this point.

The first few sections remained quiet and I went back to the orange PM in the fading light. Finally got another bite in a semi-deep tail of a corner pool and then another a bit further up and another and then another and another…


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All of a sudden, the fish were interested. Didn't get much of anything with any length, but most were "fun size" 11-14 inches that fought better than any fish their size has a right to. Got a 15-16 incher towards the end of the stretch.


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Fished almost to the next bridge as I forged ahead despite the fading light and the impending long walk back to my van. Covered a lot of ground in maybe the last 45 minutes of fishing and finally called it a night with this final fish.


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Luckily twilight lingers longer at this time of year than it does in winter when it seems to go black in just a few minutes. Would hate to have to call my friends for a ride coz it was too dark as I'd never hear the end of it. Laugh

Found a shaft of a hockey stick on the bank that washed there from who knows where and used it as a walking stick and confidence booster in case I ran into the bear that was caught on a trail cam last fall on the ridge just above where I was.


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Woot

The 2-3 mile walk back at twilight was one of the highlights of my weekend.

Senses are heightened at twilight and the sound of the birds and the stream were a nice soundtrack to my stroll. A couple of white tails bounded across the valley ahead…

Had many moments of zen and peace.

Heaven.

Anyway… pulled a decent outing out of my ass in those last 45 minutes or so. 12 fish on the night.

Off to my buddy's for aged venison tenderloins Drool on the grill, rum and victories (and winning$) in dirty clubs & euchre.

Turned out to be a great start to the weekend.




The next morning's plan was to leave around dawn and fish a wild stretch of the stream that flows through a natural area with no pastures and limited access points.

Arrived at the entry point and couldn't resist casting a few times at the bridge – I'm a sucker for cheapies at bridge pools and culverts. BigGrin

Got a small brown right away which I took as a good sign for the bite…


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Hey Forrest…


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There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich…

Got Bubba here under the bridge and this is the first male brood rainbow that I can recall catching that had such a pronounced kype.

Also got a stocker bow that was maybe 10-11 inches and then it was time to make the 2-3 mile hike downstream to my starting point.

Was a brisk morning and the valley held onto the chill as the sun hadn't reached the floor yet. Was wishing I had worn my fishing gloves as my hands started to go a bit numb.


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Arrived on stream. Most of the fish I got were in the runs right below obstructions, riffles or corners. Don't recall many in riffles (not surprising so early with no hatch) or in the deeper pools.


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What I caught before the sun hit the water were on the orange PMs – the Zebra Blacks became effective once the sun was up although the bite tailed off significantly at that point.

Was thinking there should be some in the pools as the water was low and the bigguns had to be somewhere.


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My success with the jig the night before emboldened me to try the hybrid PM/streamers that I made about 18 months ago. (I see that Mepps has come out with their own version of these now – must have seen my posts last year.) RollEyes


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What did I have to lose as the pools remained stubbornly quiet.

That turned out to be a fun development as not only did I get a solid 16-17 incher out of the first pool I tried it in…


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…but also coaxed a few more to bite in the deep green waters and had several others chase and follow for a bit, which was fun to watch.


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I stripped and reeled and they'd either hit it or kind of trail it and swim up next to it and short strike it – sometimes through multiple sequences. In my experience, this rarely happens with just a straight up PM.

This brought the pools into play despite the now FULL sun, bluebird sky morning.

A few more sights…


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Finished out the stretch and got a text around 10 that I was missing breakfast at the cabin. 15 browns and the 2 bows to hand – most of which I caught before 8:30 - and it was time to eat.

Headed back for eggs, sausage, hash browns and English muffins. This needs to happen more on my trips!

Hey look! One of 'em got a bird…


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Almost called it a day as the FULL sun and low water had me less than optimistic about the afternoon's prospects.

Was over there though and decided that I couldn't just give away an afternoon of fishing away from my home waters.

Hit another couple of places further downstream – a wild stretch and a pasture area and did much better than the conditions warranted. Had to work for 'em, but got 17 more browns before calling it a day around 3:45.

Lost my hybrid streamer in the first hole to a log so had to spinner it the rest of the day, but they were hitting consistently on the Zebra Black, which they usually prefer by this time of year - and shunning the orange... silly fishies.


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What a great couple of days on an old favorite.

No really big fish but most were fun sized and I got 4 or 5 over 16 inches. The challenge of getting those fish in the full sun and low water made me feel pretty good overall.

I have an invite to go back this weekend coz there's more turkey hunting going on. While I don't care to fish the same stream again, waking up in Grant County is a great starting point in the morning. Not sure I want to be out on the worm opener though. We'll see.


Made about 10 more of those hybrids last night.




Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
thanks 1 user thanked Gurth for this useful post.
weiliwen on 4/30/2018(UTC)
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William Schlafer  
#2 Posted : Monday, April 30, 2018 7:57:12 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Great outing Gurth!

Love that aqua green tinge to the creeks. Always a sign of good Trout water.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
Pete  
#3 Posted : Monday, April 30, 2018 8:13:31 PM(UTC)
Pete
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The fish look well-fed, as if they didn't go hungry over the Winter, and nice colors too.

Does that turkey have two beards? I've never seen a multiple-bearded bird in my life, but other hunters seem to find them on occasion. Did your friends find the hunting tough under the cold and windy conditions?
Gurth  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, May 1, 2018 2:08:35 AM(UTC)
Gurth
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Yep... two beards. It was the first turkey for the guy who shot it - he's gotten other types of birds.

The toughest part of the hunting was that two of the weenies froze Friday evening on the ridge coz they weren't dressed right and it was a strong north wind. They said they were hunting the Reverent. I guess teeth were even chattering and there are rumors of spooning. Laugh

I let them know that I was quite comfy in the valley down below them. Wink

They were able to call a few others in both Friday evening and Saturday morning but not close enough or in the proper lanes.

They seemed pleased overall.



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Edited by user Tuesday, May 1, 2018 12:16:52 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
NBrevitz  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, May 1, 2018 4:58:54 PM(UTC)
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Excellent report, I love the dressed up Panthers!
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
trapper  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, May 1, 2018 9:47:17 PM(UTC)
trapper
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Originally Posted by: NBrevitz Go to Quoted Post
Excellent report, I love the dressed up Panthers!


That is sooo cheating and deadly
Get Reel
wibirdhunter  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, May 2, 2018 2:19:43 AM(UTC)
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Not surprised to see that bear pic from there. That area is pretty remote for southern Wisconsin.
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