Driftless Trout Anglers

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Pete  
#1 Posted : Friday, October 11, 2019 4:02:38 PM(UTC)
Pete
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 6/30/2011(UTC)
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Location: Far west suburbs of Chicago

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If yesterday was my last inland trout outing of the year, it was a nice way to finish. I did a workday in the morning with a conservation group in Rock County and spent the afternoon on a stream known to hold brookies (and as far as I know, no browns). It was encouraging to see how many fish were in there; a lot more than in recent years. And a variety of sizes, including some very small fish, which I take to mean that entire year classes haven't been wiped out by some of the floods of recent years-at least some fish have survived. No one was actually on the gravel yet, but the males are starting to show their bright orange spawning colors. Actual spawning may be a couple of weeks away, after the season has closed. All the fish I encountered came out of deep holes or some nasty cover. And I now know that brook trout have some choppers on them: walking right on the creek edge was dangerous because of uneven terrain and some well-camouflaged holes, so I had to lift the fish out to unhook them. I didn't want to handle them with dry hands, so I lipped them like a bass to get them unbuttoned quickly and get them back in the water. No puncture wounds, but I think anything a brook trout gets hold of is going to have a hard time escaping.

In a post from last week, I advised using some streamers in the color of spawning fish. I eat my own cooking. I don't just dispense useless advice to others on here; I follow my own useless adviceSmile : I tied up a few small streamers with an orange cactus chenille body and a purple saddle hackle tied in Matuka-style as a tail and back. I hope it looked something like a spawning male. I guess it did up to a point; the fish were pleased enough by it.
thanks 1 user thanked Pete for this useful post.
Gurth on 10/11/2019(UTC)
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Gurth  
#2 Posted : Friday, October 11, 2019 4:15:06 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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That's awesome.

I've seen that stream on the maps and have heard of the work being done there.

Can't imagine I'll ever get there as it's awfully far out of the way.


Wish some of you would figure out the photo thing as I'd like to see what some of these places look like and I like to see the fish.


Of course I get that you probably didn't want to handle these particular fish for photos due to the sensitive environment.


Thanks for the update.


Not getting much done at work today as I daydream about fishing the next 4 days... Smile
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
Pete  
#3 Posted : Friday, October 11, 2019 4:48:05 PM(UTC)
Pete
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Location: Far west suburbs of Chicago

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I had good intentions: I brought a net to safely restrain any fish while I messed with getting ready to take photos, phone was fully charged, etc. I didn't want to leave there without any images of brook trout in their spawning glory. But the bankside hazards were enough to change my mind. I took a few falls and didn't want to risk another one and maybe break an ankle, or worse, my 2 weight.

This is definitely not a destination stream, not if you have other trout water closer. But for me, it's the closest trout water there is, along with Bluff in Walworth. Plus, I'm able to do casts and blasts here as long as a hunting season overlaps with trout season.
Gurth  
#4 Posted : Friday, October 11, 2019 4:56:44 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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I just think it's fantastic that brookies are down there.

Bet you could even get one in Illinois.

Would be really cool if Illinois would do something in their corner of the Driftless but I understand why they don't.

Even if they tried, it would probably just be marginal class 2 water at best as most of what I know of in the far s-sw portion of Wisconsin isn't very good for trout.

Edited by user Friday, October 11, 2019 4:57:18 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
Pete  
#5 Posted : Friday, October 11, 2019 5:49:14 PM(UTC)
Pete
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Joined: 6/30/2011(UTC)
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Location: Far west suburbs of Chicago

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I didn't expect this to turn into a discussion, but it's dark, windy and raining hard at times outside, so this may be as close as I get to an outdoor activity for the next couple of days; glad to have the conversation.

There supposedly is a population of brook trout in Indiana; it's a small tributary of a Lake Michigan tributary. It's incredible that the fish have held on in there, not just because of the migrating salmon and steelhead, but because of agricultural practices. How that watershed has remained so uncompromised as to support brook trout is beyond me.

There is a good-sized tributary of the Rock River, the Kishwaukee, that held brook trout as recently as 100 years ago. it's scenic as can be, but more known for smallmouth, walleye and catfish. I've wondered about wandering up tributaries and up their tributaries; could there be a sweet spot somewhere-maybe a strong spring that hasn't been tiled, land that has never been farmed due to terrain, just a perfect storm of ideal conditions-where a population has held on in nearly complete isolation. The response would probably be a shrug of the shoulders from the IDNR and maybe something even more hostile-rotenone, a few M-80s-from the landowner when they find out there is a remnant heritage population in there.
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