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Gurth  
#1 Posted : Monday, August 26, 2019 6:59:53 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Finally had the outing I've been looking for pretty much since early June.

I needed a new plan to change my outcome, so decided that a foray above the Wisco was in order. Headed out before dawn on Saturday and drove NW into Richland County.

My first destination was meant to be the warm up and a chance to get some fish under my belt. It was an easement through a pasture with easy walking and often holds browns with shoulders(14-17), if not giants. It has numerous bends and each one has a nice drop into deeper water – no riffles or runs but the trout are usually around these bends.

Disappointed to find the water silty as there hasn't been much precipitation, but those that know this big stream know that it silts up when a farmer hoses down his tractor.

Fished it anyway and things were slow – 4 to hand in a stretch where 10 would be on the low end of average.


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Will this crappy fishing summer never end!?!?

Headed to my next destination which was a much smaller stream that holds brookies up high and nice browns down low and is a blender where both can be found throughout. I was still hoping for some nice browns, so hit the low section where I've gotten 18s before.

Water here was quite stained and I couldn't really see where I was stepping and this is a stretch through farm fields with 10 foot, steep banks on either side and 8 foot vegetation growing all along those banks so you have to be in the water for the most part. And it gets chest deep and possibly more even though it's only 4-6 feet wide.

Had there been any action, I might have kept going. But after about a hundred yards and no bites, I mountain climbed out and went to destination 3 – upstream to smaller brookie/brown water.

9:30 and sitting on 4 browns… unacceptable.

Haha.. what an entitled jerk. Flapper

Decided to try the upper-middle part of this stream in an area that I've only dabbled in. Last time I was in this particular spot, I was chased out by a thunder storm and had to cut it short.

My starting point was still in farm fields with high banks, but the stream is much skinnier up there and the water was mostly clear and I could only see dense stain in pools.


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Found fish right away on the first obvious structure and beneath the grass overhangs.


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Ended up fishing this stretch as well as up through the next one – two miles in total and it took me till around 3:30. There's really no exiting this stream and honestly no need to and I kept my boots wet for the entire time.

This hole was cool and yielded a couple of browns and a fine brookie…


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The best part of this outing was the diversity of habitat and waters that I passed through and got to target. From long still runs to rocky riffles to fallen timber to grass undercuts to a farm yard with collapsing dirt banks (hint – the best visible density of fish were here) to bridge pilings to nice pools below bends and just about anything else you can think of.


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Every "skill" that I have and all of my trout "knowledge" was put to use and what a joy to not only get to use all of that, but to have it bear fruit. It's not that it was overly technical, but it required technique and thought.


This lovely girl…


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…was tucked into this tiny little drop…


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Not an easy spot to hit and required some stratergery or at least some thought of, "I know there's a fish there, now how do I hit that?"


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Best fish of the day at around 17 inches and where I pulled her from so you all get to see her a few times.

Like many of the browns, she was on her ambush point and she bit so close to my feet that it was like a musky on a figure 8 and I was fighting her basically at the end of my rod. Too fun in such small water.



And then there was this little spot that I just about walked by coz it was a nothing spot with 6-8 inches of water running past a little grass overhang. It had 3 trout that popped out and then refused my lure one after the other and they went from a 17 inch brown to a 16 inch brown to a brookie bringing up the rear. All right at my feet. Laugh


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I was like, "What did I just see?" They didn't come back out with further presentations.

Imagine the number of great fish we all just walk by or who don't show themselves. I need one of those shocker thingies haha.

Pretty much alternated between brookies and browns all the way up and the final tally was 13 browns and 12 brookies. Saw and spooked so many more and also lost probably 10 that got off the hook including a brookie that appeared to be around 14 inches.


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Didn't set the world on fire in the fish count department considering how many fish are in this stretch, but the beautiful early autumn feeling day combined with many nice fish and the diversity of the trout lies made for one of my most enjoyable and memorable outings of the year.

Was a 45 minute walk back down a country road to where I had parked.

Mentioned to a trout buddy that I don't fixate on trophies in the Fall – quality outings and pretty fish are where it's at and this outing delivered in spades. Still glowing from it.


I declare that Fantastic Fall Fun Fishing has begun!


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Edited by user Monday, August 26, 2019 7:48:39 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
thanks 1 user thanked Gurth for this useful post.
William Schlafer on 8/26/2019(UTC)
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William Schlafer  
#2 Posted : Monday, August 26, 2019 7:18:51 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Nice report Gurth!

Late summer/early fall fishing is the best (I think). The Trout are aggressive and really put on the feed bag in anticipation of the fall spawn. The moderately cool weather and excellent water conditions are making for really good fishing conditions. The rain were getting today should only help invigorate the bite even more.

I'm hoping to get out myself later this week if things work out.


-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 8/26/2019(UTC)
Gurth  
#3 Posted : Monday, August 26, 2019 7:31:05 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Thanks Bill.

The browns are starting to color up with their golden fire bellies.

I might go back to the same stream this weekend although not the same stretch.

There is a whole section below where I started that I’ve never done and could hold some really nice fish.

Spring is for big fish and fall is for enjoyable outings. Or at least that’s what it’s settling into for me.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
mmalyuk  
#4 Posted : Monday, August 26, 2019 10:58:09 PM(UTC)
mmalyuk
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Nice report!
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Gurth on 8/27/2019(UTC)
Smis  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 2:38:35 AM(UTC)
Smis
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Thanks for the report. Always rewarding to come up with a plan that requires a technical cast and be rewarded with a fish, especially a nice one like that.

I finally had a few days off from work and school last week so I made my up to the Driftless for a couple of days. My first day I headed to a well known stream south of the Wisconsin River. I've made it a point to focus on this river this season because I've heard of it's potential. However, the last time I was able to fish here was all the way back in early March before I started school. My initial impression from the spring was that there are a lot of fish in this river but not many larger fish. I was hoping that by going later in the season some of the bigger fish might have moved up into the smaller more traditional riffle-run-pool trout water farther upstream.

Anyway, a storm was rolling through right as I arrived. Just a light rain and some rolling thunder far off in the distance. Once it appeared that the last of the lightning had passed I started to fish. There was still a little drizzle and the winds were still whipping as the front passed, but I appeared to be in the clear. The water was holding a moderate stain and was flowing very well for the end of summer. I was also surprised to see quite few rising fish with the wet conditions. My guess is there were queued up on what ever was getting blown out of the trees in the fairly wooded area I started my day. I caught a few average trout almost immediately and really settled into a rhythm. A hopper dropper rig worked well in most situation with almost all of the fish taking the dropper, but I did use an indy rig in a few deeper a swift runs.

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Fishing was going really well until I made my way around a bend and saw three guys getting into their waders just a 100 yards upstream of me at what I would consider a very random access point. As they started walking toward the river we all converged on the same spot. I prepared myself for awkward small talk and the unavoidable conversation about where we would go from here. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out they were doing some electroshocking for the DNR. Crisis averted. We talked for a little bit and then they headed off downstream and I continued working my way upstream. Only moments later I caught my best fish of the day. Nothing big, but a solid 15-16 incher. Plus it's always nice to showcase your "skills" with an audience ha! I then thought to myself how lucky I was. If I had started fishing just a few minutes later than I did I might have spent my day unknowingly fishing behind the DNR trying to catch recently electrocuted trout.

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Fishing remained very good for another hour or so, but eventually the clouds and water cleared and it got very hot. Fishing was still decent, but I didn't see anything in the way of hoppers as the banks were still drying out. I called it quits around 3pm when the fishing got really slow and it was no longer worth enduring the heat and humidity. As I was walking along the road back to my car the 3 guys with the DNR were driving by and stopped to talk to me. I told them how my day went then they shared with me what they found. They said they worked a few different stretches of water downstream and threw out a bunch of numbers (hundred fish/yards ect...) that I couldn't really wrap my head around other than it was a lot of fish. Not surprisingly the overwhelming majority of the fish they got were in the "8 to 12 inch range" with only a few fish in the "15-17 inch range" with nothing bigger than 17. This was a little reassuring as this has been my experience with this river, but I was mostly disappointed. A little hard intel from the DNR on the fish I'm not seeing would have been very motivating. Oh well, I know they only took a small sample of the river, but I figured there still would've been a few bruisers mixed in.

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The next day my Dad joined me and I showed him a new stretch of water on one of our favorite rivers. Again nothing really notable. Spent most my time helping him and just watching him fish. He introduced me to fly fishing, but he hasn't gotten out to fish more than a few times this year so I was more than happy to just be on the water with him.

The third day I got out to fish for an hour in the early morning before heading home. I didn't come close to getting my hopper fix so I headed to a stream that always seems to have fish willing to take a dry fly regardless of the time of year. The river banks were very overgrown and I focused almost all of my time on two pools where the river opens up enough to cast a fly line. My very first cast produced a 14" brown that was a lot of fun on my 3wt (I typically use a 4wt). after that I got 6-8 smaller browns. I most likely won't make it out again this year, but I left Wisconsin happy and with my fill of fishing... for now

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thanks 2 users thanked Smis for this useful post.
Gurth on 8/27/2019(UTC), William Schlafer on 8/27/2019(UTC)
Gurth  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 3:26:01 AM(UTC)
Gurth
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Smis... there are bruisers in there. Don't lose the faith!

I got a couple of 19s in there last fall even higher than where you were.

Also had a big bow break a cheapie ultralight on me and get away about 3 years ago.

It's a pressured stream and maybe the big ones get smart or taken home.

The cookie cutter is definitely about 11 inches though and there are a ton of em. Laugh
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
Smis  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 12:09:43 PM(UTC)
Smis
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Originally Posted by: Gurth Go to Quoted Post
Smis... there are bruisers in there. Don't lose the faith!

I got a couple of 19s in there last fall even higher than where you were.

Also had a big bow break a cheapie ultralight on me and get away about 3 years ago.

It's a pressured stream and maybe the big ones get smart or taken home.

The cookie cutter is definitely about 11 inches though and there are a ton of em. Laugh


Oh I know. Was just looking for a little bit more conclusive evidence on my end to string me along. In the mean time I’ve got the cookie cutters pegged
Gurth  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 1:03:00 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Well I’ll put it to the test before the end of the season. It’s become a closing weekend tradition the past few years and even a closing day one the past two.

I do really like it and it’s just a little too far to do very often which is fine coz it always seems familiar but fresh when I do go.

Haven’t been there since maybe April but might take the wife there soon as we struggled to get much from the sister stream to the east a couple weeks ago.

Got a few, but need better density until her retrieve gets better/steadier.

That said, I only got 6 that day so it was slow all around.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
William Schlafer  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 1:30:02 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Watching a shock crew work is one of the best experiences you can have to learn about where Trout hide and understand how there are an almost impossible number of Trout in our DA streams.

I ran into a crew last year working the same small stream Gurth described a few posts above. Every wave of that electric wand brought fish out both big and small. In just a hundred yards I watched them net over 200 Trout. Amazing. I had fished that stretch just a half hour earlier and only caught three. Humbling.

This crew was looking specifically for "young of the year" Brook Trout. These are naturally reproduced Trout born within the last year. Evidence of a healthy Trout stream, and is used by the DNR to help determine Trout stream classifications.

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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
Gurth  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 1:34:59 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Yeah and one thing I failed to mention in my OP above are the swarms of yoty that I regularly encountered on my walk upstream.

Even caught one on accident. Smallest brookie I’ve ever had in hand and wanted a photo but it flipped out of my hand.

Brown trout snacks. Flapper
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
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