Driftless Trout Anglers

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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Friday, August 24, 2018 3:21:28 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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The stars finally aligned to allow me to take a day off and go fishing. It's been nearly two months since my last outing. This work thing is really interfering with my fun!

The plan was to head north and west into the DA to avoid the flood damaged areas around Madison, so I headed for Vernon county. The weather just couldn't have been any better: partly cloudy, low humidity, enough wind to push some hoppers into the water and air temps in the low to mid 70s. Recent rains have primed the aquifers and all the creeks I looked at were running clear with great flow for late summer. Water temps were in the upper 50s to low 60s.

Hoppers were plentiful in the grass along the stream, so I tied on my favorite foam hopper. Right away I was into the fish.
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The strikes were aggressive and they really fought hard once they felt the hook. Casts along weed bed edges or overhanging grass produced quick slashing strikes. One overly assertive Brown Trout actually beached himself when he took the fly. I had to cross the stream to retrieve him on the bank!

This is prime hopper fishing water. Any spot with a bit of depth and some cover usually held a Trout or two. Short casts with short heavy leaders were the ticket. The smaller sized hoppers (size 10-12 hooks) seemed to get more attention than the larger sizes. Slapping the hopper down on the water to make a splat usually attracted a fish. For about 30 minutes around mid-day I was getting strikes on every 2nd or 3rd cast. What a blast!
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The Brookies are starting to sport their fall colors.
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A dark angry Brown.
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Bright yellow belly on this guy.
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I lost track of how many I caught - probably 30 or so over four hours, with a dozen quality fish. A real satisfying day after a long hot summer. I'm hoping to get back in a couple weeks for a multi-day trip.
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-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 8/24/2018(UTC)
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Gurth  
#2 Posted : Friday, August 24, 2018 3:26:08 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Looks great Bill!

Got a couple of lake trips (with some trouting) into early September and then Fall trouting is fully on for me.

Looking forward to it very much.
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
billybigbilly  
#3 Posted : Friday, August 24, 2018 5:34:57 PM(UTC)
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Wonderful Fish! That does seem like a lot of fun. Quick question, do you make most of you casts from the stream or on the shore? I have a Tenkara rod and I can only reach out around 12 ft. So if it is easier to fish from the bank I might have to try that.
JGF  
#4 Posted : Friday, August 24, 2018 6:29:59 PM(UTC)
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Was out this week with a friend and had pretty similar fishing. Streams are in great shape both temperature and flow/level wise. Key was to find the right places where there was enough vegetation to have a lot of hoppers but not so much that you couldn't hit the stream or that walking was near impossible. Fish numbers were ok, size was rather excellent.

I think you're spot on with the smaller hopper observation. Saw thousands of hoppers this week - few are over an inch.

William Schlafer  
#5 Posted : Friday, August 24, 2018 7:11:29 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by: billybigbilly Go to Quoted Post
Wonderful Fish! That does seem like a lot of fun. Quick question, do you make most of you casts from the stream or on the shore?


I normally fish from the bank whenever possible, but sometimes you just have to get in the water to make a good approach. Especially when the stream has a lot of overhanging grass. Then it's kind of like fishing in a tunnel.

You can get away with some ridiculously short casts in these conditions. The Trout are usually pretty deep into cover or under the bank, so they really don't have much vision other than whats right above them. That's why the strikes come so quick and are so violent. You just just need to make sure you don't cast your shadow over the water near where they're holding. But otherwise you can get right on top of them. Sometimes you'll be casting to a small seam of open water, so accuracy is a must. Also, sometimes you'll be casting blind, either around or over vegetation. In those cases you listen for the splash when the Trout strikes.

One other thing I forgot to mention in my post, there were no gnats, biting flies or mosquitoes at all while I was out. Compared to early this summer, quite comfortable conditions.


-Bill

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
William Schlafer  
#6 Posted : Friday, August 24, 2018 7:33:23 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Originally Posted by: JGF Go to Quoted Post


I think you're spot on with the smaller hopper observation. Saw thousands of hoppers this week - few are over an inch.


Yes, smaller is more appropriate for the creeks of the DA, I think. I was getting refusals with my mid-size hoppers, but they were swallowing the smaller ones without hesitation. I've decided to take the larger ones out of my fly box. I never fish them anyway, and I think they're more suited to bigger rivers found out west.

Green, purple and yellow bellies over tan or green bodies were working equally well. Don't bother with elaborate or complicated patterns. Anything with a hopper like profile when viewed from underneath will work just fine. Pre cut bodies makes them real easy and quick to tie. My simple hopper out fishes any of the store bought ones I've used. I like tying them with a wide gap scud style hook, which exposes more of the hook from the body, which in turn seems to help me get a more reliable hook set.

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-Bill

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
madguy30  
#7 Posted : Friday, August 24, 2018 8:46:23 PM(UTC)
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I hit up a couple of go-tos yesterday as I hadn't been out since April. Streams were nice and cool and up maybe a bit. Maybe even too cold for active fish...they were quasi-active.

Fish hit hoppers here and there no matter what was around the banks/surrounding area.

Hopper fishing is about as close to spin fishing as I get as it's much faster--they either hit or they don't which is different from a Griffith's gnat or #14 nymph where you can stand there and pluck 20 fish out of one hole.
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