Driftless Trout Anglers

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rschmidt  
#1 Posted : Sunday, July 7, 2019 8:01:48 PM(UTC)
rschmidt
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The streams in the north driftless have fared much better than in the near and far south. With some holiday time and a willing spirit I was able to get out each day of the holiday weekend. The fourth of July brought a likely once in a lifetime outing.

When I started at 7am, the water had a mild stain and it was hot and humid, probably 70 degrees. Skies were overcast and cloudy. The water in this stream was cool and the level was perfect. I expected a brookie hunt and was surprised by hooking up with 4 fish over 20" in addition to many 15,16,17, and 18" fish. Throw in about 15 brookies ranging from 6 to 13" on top of 40 browns to hand.

This wonderful day started with tragedy.

UserPostedImage
This very large brown broke water attempting to strike a size 9 1/4oz silver bladed spinner!

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After the porpoising, he screamed down the chute at me and smashed the lure!!

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Screaming drag with a vicious run, I got my first good glances. This fish was north of 25" and based on my experience pushing 7-8 pounds. My drag is max and he was turning 14# with ease. Things settled and I was not in a good spot to beach this animal, so netting operation commenced. As I swooped to land, the bastard made one little shake, and I snagged the lure. With this anchor point sethe got off. He slowly gave me a glance that was an essential F YOU and swam away! I cried!!

Even though a likely new personal best slipped away, I push on...no quitting.

I had the feeling it was gonna be a magical day.

While this post is focused on the big guys, the bite was all around bonkers. Lotsa of browns like these below.
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Then this happened in a deep, dead end pool in the trees.
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Redemption! A green and yellow sparkling 20.5" to hand. She crushed a 1/2oz. gold bladed, black bodied inline spinner. Fish safely released.

As the long wade continued, I came to the deepest, largest hole I encountered and it was hopping!

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This 18" female with an overeating problem was pushing 3+ pounds. I though at first I had another 20+. Fish safely released.

The very next cast, I did hook up with a beast that made that fish feel like a 4" chub. It jumped and ran straight me. in effort to get tension, I did not get any good view of the fish or a frame for a suitable pic.

Two casts after that, this happened...

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A dracula kyped male at 20" flat, but even heavier than the first. Over 4# with shoulders. Fish safely released.

There were many additional notable fish, and of course I developed skills I didn't posses before! hahaha. A fourth to remember, 2/4 on 20"+ fish. I had not encountered more than 2 20s in a single section over the past 8 years. It was a magical day!

Saturday, Shebs and I wanted to check this section again and finish it. I was in from 7am to 2pm and left when I ran into another angler near a convenient eased exit. There was still a mile of stream or more left.

We started later with an in near 12:30p and out at 6pm. Conditions were quite different too. Skies were sunny and it was hot. Mosquitoes were vicious. The bite was less strident and probable closer to half and half on brookies and browns.

UserPostedImage
This beauty won the frying pan award of the day. Completley engulfed the lure, DOA at hand.

Then this happened..
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Shebs had this guy flash him once and i had next cast. BAM! a 19" thick brown that was ticked off to meet anglers. Fish safely released.

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Shebs got in the action too! This is one of 2 18s he landed. Fish safely released.

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This 17+" timber crusher absolutely mangled a size 15 spinner at full speed from 3 foot away! He had to be at full speed under the timber before we saw him. Crazy crushing hit!. I was surprised he didn't rip the pole from Sheb's hands!! Fish safely released.

I could go on and here, but I'll end it. A magical weekend! Happy Fishing. The full video is on Utube. Ron

Edited by user Monday, July 8, 2019 3:25:14 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

thanks 2 users thanked rschmidt for this useful post.
William Schlafer on 7/7/2019(UTC), Gurth on 7/7/2019(UTC)
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mmalyuk  
#2 Posted : Sunday, July 7, 2019 10:41:30 PM(UTC)
mmalyuk
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As I said before Ron...good stuff!!
thanks 1 user thanked mmalyuk for this useful post.
rschmidt on 7/8/2019(UTC)
William Schlafer  
#3 Posted : Sunday, July 7, 2019 11:11:33 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Ron,

You set the bar awful high for the rest of us! What an epic outing. Glad you got it all on the Go Pro.

I feel your pain on losing that big brown. I've had something similar happy to me with a career fish when I let the leader touch the net.

Congrats!

-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.
rschmidt on 7/8/2019(UTC)
shebs  
#4 Posted : Monday, July 8, 2019 12:45:33 AM(UTC)
shebs
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Give me my due, that timber fish was closer to 18 LOL
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"
William Schlafer  
#5 Posted : Monday, July 8, 2019 1:34:26 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Originally Posted by: shebs Go to Quoted Post
Give me my due, that timber fish was closer to 18 LOL


Absolutely Shebs! The two of you are a unstoppable fishing machine. I still can't figure out how you guys get right on top of some of those fish and catch them with those short point blank range casts. Most days I scatter every Trout within eyesight just by waving my rod around a bit. I love to see a video where you guys explain your approach, how you read the water and other techniques.

Here's Ron's video for those who haven't seen it. The lost big Brown makes his debut around the 8:45 mark.



I'm sure we can all relate to his reaction after losing that brute. But, his redemption comes a little later in the video. Well done Ron!


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
billybigbilly  
#6 Posted : Monday, July 8, 2019 2:53:23 AM(UTC)
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Sounds like a fun fourth, I really enjoyed the videos and the fish, I just have to find some big fish that are willing now!
rschmidt  
#7 Posted : Monday, July 8, 2019 3:35:50 AM(UTC)
rschmidt
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Retraction! Definitely a 17"+ psycho timber crusher that nailed Sheb's spinner. :)

Thanks for the comments. It's odd Bill, I have never come across line shy or extra spooky trout. It must have to do with almost 100% in-water wading. When I have tried a bit of bank or pool fishing, the trout can make you very easily and bail. When wading, it's more common that they bail because I almost stepped on them! Hahaha. Thanks for the good ideas on approach, water reading and spin technique. Will give it a shot. There is so much good fishing around the driftless, that I forget a lot folks are learning or just plain have only crappy trout water where they live. I have learned a lot from Shebs and fishing together. I am still learning too, but the years are adding up and I do have some shareable trout fishing experience. Counting on Shebs to push the wheelchair on the banks when I get too old. LOL.
shebs  
#8 Posted : Monday, July 8, 2019 4:47:15 AM(UTC)
shebs
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Originally Posted by: William Schlafer Go to Quoted Post


Absolutely Shebs! The two of you are a unstoppable fishing machine. I still can't figure out how you guys get right on top of some of those fish and catch them with those short point blank range casts. Most days I scatter every Trout within eyesight just by waving my rod around a bit. I love to see a video where you guys explain your approach, how you read the water and other techniques.



What you don't see in the video is that this was a 6 hour slog through 3 miles of climbing over/under trees and then bushwacking the last mile we didnt finish (dont worry it was thru an easement!)

But Ron is right on - If you're wading upstream you can get damn near on top of a fish before he notices you. Most of the bigs I've caught have been out of similar spots - they like thick cover even more than deep water.

If you cover that much water on any decent stream you'll probably kick up a couple of beasts, so I would chalk it up to persistence as much as skill LOL


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"
Gurth  
#9 Posted : Monday, July 8, 2019 4:25:54 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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I find that my skill shines brightest when I'm in the best locations. LaughFlapper


Pro tip: If you want to catch big browns, fish where they are more likely to be. Flapper

Ron and Shebs (and some others) are willing to go to those tough places where the majority of weekend trouters aren't and it pays off for them.

I don't know exactly how many 20+ I have now (more than 10, less than 15), but none of them have been caught in places where I regularly (ever?) see other trouters.

Time on the water and the willingness to regularly fish tough or marginal places outweighs skill by a large margin in my own experience. Obviously we all have some skill, but my skill is the same no matter where I'm fishing and I catch the vast majority (not all) of my large (18+) browns in certain types of water – hint: not at the entry points where you see cars every weekend and rarely in easy walking pasture sections.

That's not to say that they can't be found everywhere coz I do run into them, but the odds are obviously better in the right environment and that includes less pressured stretches, far from entry points.

Shebs's point on cover is a good one too and sometimes that cover is a deep undercut on the INSIDE of a bend. I've actually had them strike from under the ground that I'm standing on.

Yeah… yeah… I should be in the water more than I am, but I'm lazy at times.


It's funny as I almost have two categories of streams… 1) places I enjoy going to coz they're beautiful and relatively easy and I know the action will be steady most of the time and 2) shitholes (relatively speaking) where I'll have to slog but I know I'll have a shot at a special fish every time I go, even if the action may be slow or nonexistent and even if that special fish only materializes once in every 15-20 visits.

I enjoy both experiences.


Today I'm going for another float though.


Nice job boys and say hi to the trouts for me.

“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
madguy30  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, July 9, 2019 2:04:41 AM(UTC)
madguy30
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Originally Posted by: rschmidt Go to Quoted Post
Retraction! Definitely a 17"+ psycho timber crusher that nailed Sheb's spinner. :)

Thanks for the comments. It's odd Bill, I have never come across line shy or extra spooky trout. It must have to do with almost 100% in-water wading. When I have tried a bit of bank or pool fishing, the trout can make you very easily and bail. When wading, it's more common that they bail because I almost stepped on them! Hahaha. Thanks for the good ideas on approach, water reading and spin technique. Will give it a shot. There is so much good fishing around the driftless, that I forget a lot folks are learning or just plain have only crappy trout water where they live. I have learned a lot from Shebs and fishing together. I am still learning too, but the years are adding up and I do have some shareable trout fishing experience. Counting on Shebs to push the wheelchair on the banks when I get too old. LOL.



Per fish spooking from being in the water: I've always found that no matter what you do, a few fish are going to spook, but it always seems way less if I'm in the water. Sometimes folks get weird about it spooking the fish....do fish eat while deer or cattle cross? Yes.
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