Saturday, April 30, 2011

Southwest Wisconsin Driftless Area Early Trout Season - The Streams look great for 2011

 Date: April 30th    Temp:  60's    Time: 8:00a.m.-11:00a.m. 

Today I decided to go out for a quick trip of fishing before trout fishing shuts down until May 7th.  So far on most of my trips out during early season streams have been showing signs of looking very healthy.  Even though the weather hasn't been ideal.  After reading post after post I have decided not to count any day out as far as fishing.  Some streams have been high and some cloudy.  Today the stretch I fished was looking great.  A few rises, but mostly I counted on just knowing where the fish were hiding out.  This stretch is one of my favorites because of the beautiful limestone bluffs that drop down into the creek to make for some perfect fish holding holes.

Limestone Bluffs

Here are a few flies fished on this journey
The bottom fly was fished as a trailer.  Caught fish
on all of them.

Trailer Nymph

Castle Rock Killer

Trout MaGee Special

I crept up stream doing my best not to spook any fish.   I came on to a hole where the first time I fished this stream this year I caught this fella:

Caught on different trip early this spring, same hole.
Although this one was hiding out today I was still able to pull his smaller cousin out and say hello.  As I released this next fish, I told it tell the one from above to not be so rude and that I expect it to come out and say hello next time I visit this hole.  I hiked all that way the least it could have done is posed for another picture with me:)

The not so rude brown trout.  Some of its spots looked like a heart.

This time the fish were holding in the rapids and some in the slower pooled spots.  I continued fishing hoping for the huge trout, but happy with any trout.  A lot of the fish today had some unique markings and they were all different sizes.  I fished mostly upstream into the holes for these fish but of course had some luck drifting down into the holes also.  Some holes have white pine branches dangling down to where this is the best method for getting your fly to where the fish are hiding.  Here are a few more pics of some Browns.
This brown had a special dot on it that looked just like an X.  Can you find it?
This brown had some of my favorite markings and colors to it.

No, it wasn't dark out.  Just messed with contrast etc. so the spots would really stand out on this one.

These next fish were all caught fishing downstream, drifting my setup into the hole and stripping line back up stream.  This usually produces results, but sometimes depending on time of day the fish tend to be the little guys I like to refer to as "Drifters":
Drifter #1
Drifter #2

Drifter #3

Drifter # 4

Drifter # 5

Drifter # 6

Drifter # 7

Drifter #8

I know a lot of people have their certain beliefs when it comes to how exactly to fish a hole.  I personally believe it all depends on the conditions and how the fish are behaving.  I refuse to believe that the fish aren't biting.  If I can't seem to entice a bite one way, I am quick to try and test out a different method.  There have been a lot of times when I fish a bead head nymph as a dry fly.  By holding my pole high in the air as I strip the fly across rapids not allowing it to sink.  This has produced results for me time after time.  Even if someone is fishing the hole in front of me and doesn't catch anything, I still fish the spot because I noticed they just fished it the standard upstream way.  I sink em, strip em, drift em, and test new ways and usually am able to catch a fish or two out the exact same spot.  The key I believe to successful fishing is trying as much as possible not to spook the fish.  This to me means, letting a fish go carefully, maybe in the hole below the one you are fishing.  I try not to do this when fishing early season due to the fact the fish are spawning.  One time I was fishing and an old timer puffing on his pipe crossed paths with me and instantly demanded knowing what fly I was using.  I showed him and he instantly said,"Oh a wooly bugger pattern." puff, puff and he was gone.  Almost disgusted that I was sinking flies and not just fishing on the surface. He didn't know that the fly was actually tied with a plastic bead that kept this pattern on top of the water more than it allowed it to sink.  People sometimes assume that they know everything there is to know about fishing, when in reality the possibilities are endless.  So I guess all I am saying is keep trying different techniques, don't just get stuck in one way to fish for trout.  And most importantly of all is just enjoy being out there in nature.  One with the stream.  Do this and the fish will come to you. 

Oh, looks like it might start to sprinkle.  Time to head out and catch some more trout.  I love the rain.

Until Next time...........Tight Lines...                _________________
                                                                      O                       /


  1. How are the Morel Mushrooms looking?

  2. TM, really, really nice. Glad to hear you were so successful. How are the Morels looking?

  3. X marks the spot...that was pretty cool! I love the "drifters"...great name for them. Also, good advice on not getting stuck in the same ol' patterns while's easy to do.

  4. Sounds like I could learn a thing or two from Trout Magee. I'd better poke around and look for some how to stuff.

  5. Glad to hear you didn't let 'ol pufferfish get you down.That little fishing pole at the end was sweet!

  6. Looks like you had a very good day.

  7. As much fishing as my Dad did, I'm amazed that there was never a mention of the Driftless Area and we lived right across the state. I always say, all you have to do is give trout what they want and they will bite.


  8. Couple of great ideas there. I love your castle rock killer!

  9. John,
    Haven't had a chance to search for the Morels just yet. I heard some people are finding them. Once the temp rises up they should be popping up everywhere.

  10. Cofisher,
    Thanks man. Haven't looked for morels just yet. Probably get out this week and hunt them. I'll take some pics if I find any. You guys get a lot of Morels out west?

  11. Sanders,
    Thanks, its always nice to try something different to see what works best for the situation. I am guilty of sometimes fishing the same fly all day even when its not catching fish:) Call me lazy!

  12. F Rising,
    It seems like we all learn knew things about fishing everyday we head out. Add everyones knowledge together and the fish don't stand a chance:)

  13. AARON,
    How goes it bro. Forgot to ask when is the new baby due? I'm glad you like the fishing pole at the bottom. Any mushrooms yet?

  14. Phillip,
    Thanks. It was beautiful outside, the fish must have wanted to see for themselves:)

  15. Shoreman,
    Yeah I am surprised it was never mentioned. A lot has been done in the last 10 years to really improve the fishing around here. Just glad when the trout are hungry for what you offer!

  16. Blake,
    Thanks. The Castle Rock Killer is one of my most successful flies that seems to produce in most streams around here. Fished as an attractor fly with a small trailer about a foot and a half down usually works best for me.

  17. Glad I found your blog. I plan to visit the Driftless region early this fall. Love fishing Spring Creeks.Take all the tips I can get. I'm following.

  18. Love the photos!!! Rather catch browns any day of the week!!! need to come down and go fishing with me on the South Holston. If you wanna good road trip come see me. I gotta gut feeling it would be EPIC!

  19. FWE-Kevin,
    Thanks for following. There are some really nice streams up here with Brooks,Browns and Bows in them. Ranging from 3" to 30"+. Good luck. I will continue to post my adventures weekly, so check back for the latest conditions.....

  20. Marc,
    I love catching Browns myself. There are some lunkers in the streams around here. One of these days if I ever have the time and cash I want to take a trip. I'll let you know if I head that way. Thanks man. Tight Lines...

  21. Just wanted to say thanks for checking out my site, and I hope you are a regular visitor. It is a treat for me to follow your exploits, as I used to fish that part of the world pretty extensively while living in WI. I look forward to more stories, and, hopefully, seeing some of those old familiar runs. Keep after it.

  22. shnitzerPhoto,
    Thanks. Glad to hear you also have enjoyed fishing this area. I will make sure to do as much exploring this summer as possible. Tight Lines....

  23. Beautiful kids, fish, flies and country. While I still look to Montana and mountain camping and fishing, here in the driftless limestone of bluff of southeastern Mn. I find it as good as anyplace in the world. And underneath that 100 ft. sheer bluff are several honey holes.... Hmmm thing I'll go fishing today. :)

  24. troutbirder,
    Thanks a lot. I couldn't agree more. There really are some hidden gems in the Midwest. I feel quite lucky to have it at my doorstep!! Good luck if you go out fishing.


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