Friday, July 1, 2011


 Date: June 24th     Weather: Partly Cloudy - 70's    Time: 3:30 - 9:30 p.m.

Southwest Wisconsin's Driftless Area Trout Fly Fishing Report

 Today was looking like it was going to be a great day to get out on the water.  The kids were set to go to grandmas for the evening and my wifee would be working the evening shift. (BUMMER)  I decided that I should probably use my time wisely and get out there and throw some flies.  To get the most out of my time I decided to go to one of my favorite streams close by.  I loaded up my gear and headed out.  I crossed a bridge on my there and saw that the water was  looking good in this particular stream.  The stream I was heading to was even smaller so it should probably be even clearer.  Hopefully not to crystal clear since I was heading out at about 3:00 p.m.  and the fish would be on high alert.  Four minutes later and I had arrived.  The grass is getting even higher.

 Fly rod in hand and camera around neck, I was ready to go.  Oh yah grab the flies.  Pheww.  Again that was a close one.  I threw on my cowboy style fishing hat an instantly the sun started to warm it up.  Unfortunately if I chose to wear no hat at all my head would end up heaving a bad sunburn complete with tons of gnat bites.  So off I went.  I looked in the direction I was heading and the sight of the tall grass and weeds damn near sent me heading in the other direction.  Nope to late.  I'm here and I am heading into the thick of it.  I don't care if I loose every last fly, game on.

 Instead of changing my fly, I decided to just leave the fly that was on there from my last fishing escapade.  I only had on about a 5 ft leader, which is a little shorter than I usually fish.  Oh well it would work for the few first extra hairy holes.  The last thing I wanted to do was tie on new flies only to lose them to the tall grass.  Here is the fly that I had tied on before.  Lets hope it does the trick!

 After wading through the head high grass I came upon this hole and decided to try and drift one down and around the corner into the spot where I thought the trout would be sitting.  Some nice little trout hotels along the bank.  That is what I call the little underwater bank formations that trout hide out in or under.

First cast in and a silvery gold flash catches my eye.  Wow that was quicker than I expected.  So as quick as the strike came, my fly went back to the same spot even quicker.  I wasn't sure if the fish would fall for it again but I gave it another try anyway.  Another flash and the hook was set.  After a minute of fishing I had my first fish to hand.  So far so good.

 Ok.  I think I will keep fishing the same fly for a while.  I sat for a little while after this and just soaked all the beauty in.  I sat on the bank surrounded by the high grass and the creek to my left and to my right.  So peaceful.    So amazingly quiet from the everyday sounds.  Just birds and water to be heard.  I fished the next hole upstream from my position and had a decent size trout rise, only to miss the hook set.  Oh well.  I decided to move on and try my luck at the next hole.  So far two holes and each had active feeding fish in it.  Good sign.

 I decided to fish this hole by hiding behind the tree on the bank and drifting the fly down into this hole.  The top of the rapids is only about a foot or two wide with the hole opening to maybe 3 - 4 ft.  The fish are usually holding in the greenish colored water.  First cast in and things were still looking good.  Looks like the little guys were up for helping me out with pictures.

 By this time I was getting pretty excited.  Usually the really heavy feeding action takes place later in the day.  It wasn't even 4:00 yet and the fish were feeding like they hadn't eaten a bite in days.  It has been pretty rainy the last week or so and I wasn't sure if they would even be hungry.  I guess they just couldn't resist attacking something.  Onward I went.  Some of the better holes were yet to come and I couldn't wait to chuck some flies into them.  I stopped to take a few pics before I got to carried away with fishing.  Today I was testing out different shutter speeds and ended up with some new ways to capture the clouds beauty. 

Alright so there are some quick pics of the outdoor surroundings that accompanied me while out on the stream.  I decided to move on and made my way to the next hole.  This is one of those holes you see after you close your eyes at night.  A beautiful sight every time I gaze on it.
 I could hardly contain myself as I prepared to launch a fly directly into what I expected to be an instant bite.  Nice size flash of gold.  With my arm back to ten o'clock position I launched the fly back into the exact same drift and Bickitty Bang this is what waited for me on the end of the line.

It put up a decent fight and was quickly released to swim another day.  After catching this one out of the hole, it seemed to have spooked the rest of the fish pretty good.  I decided to pull out my flies and choose a different fly to maybe try and coax one more trout out the hole.

  I clipped off my fly and chose two different patterns to tie on.  I thought about changing my leader all together and reached into my pouch for the leader material.  OH S@#%t.  I forgot it at home in my other pouch.  Crap.  What was I going to do?  Should I hike back to the car and then drive home and get it?  Should I go back to my car and try to find some fishing line from a spin pole?  All of these thoughts were running through my head.  I just couldn't bring myself to miss out on any of the action that was going on all around me.  So I made a decision.  I tied the same fly right back on and vowed not to change my setup and to not lose the fly.  This fly for some reason was the Bee's Knee's today.  With my mind made up, I continued upstream.  I planned on maybe hiking into new undiscovered territory today, but I would have to wait and see how things went.  If I get caught in a tree with my leader I could seriously jeopardize my chances of having a successful fishing trip.  Well that is a chance I was willing to take.  I pressed on, wondering if I was making the right decision.  A couple casts later and my worries began to ease.

The hole above always gives up a fish or two and today was no different.  I really love the way this stream can be tiny in spots and then open up into some sweet summer holes.  The fish pack into the holes and are in constant battle for the next meal.  Sometimes I would miss one strike but catch a different strike about a second after missing the other one. 

Usually when I get snagged in the weeds behind me, I choose to tug and tug until it frees itself from the snag.  Today was an exception.  I gave it one soft tug, then quickly set my fly rod down and carefully untangled it from the baby willow tree.  Phewww another close one.  With the fly still attached I continued on, realizing that every cast would have to be pinpoint and accurate.  Snags seemed to loom in every direction.   I must be careful so as not to disappoint the trout that were awaiting a MaGee special.

Well lets just say my carefulness was short lived.  Looks like keeping my fly out of the 8ft high plants wasn't going to be as easy as I originally thought.  Again I carefully untied the leader and fly from the plant and thanked the good lord above that everything was still in working order.  Now by this time I was definitely questioning my own antics.  I was getting deeper and further away from my ride.  If I lose this leader now, I will be left with one long hike back without any fishing involved.  I convinced myself I knew what I was doing and started dropping bombs on the trout, quickly forgetting all about the previous snags. 

Here is another one of the beautiful holes this stream has to offer.   Can you guess where the two trout from above were sitting when they got snagged on my fly?  Again missed some fish in this hole, but hooked up with a different one right after.  I was starting to feel like it was my lucky day.  Although I guess I can't say the same for the poor fly.  It was really starting to get demolished by the furious fish.  I just clipped off the stray piece of hackle and back in it went.

At this particular part of the stream, it closes almost completely up and then spills in to open holes like the following one, where the trout are stacked on top of each other.  Well maybe not stacked, but definitely no shortage of willing browns. 

I fished this hole for a good 20 minutes and started to ponder whether or not I should continue upstream at this point, or if I should head back the way I came and try to coax a few more trout out of the holes that had been resting for a while now.  Since it was starting to get late and the sun would be ducking behind the hills soon, I decided to turn around and head back.  This way I would be able to fish on my walk back , instead of hiking the black top road all the way back to my car in the dark.  Been there, done that before.  Lets try something different.  I ended up with a few more fish out of the holes fished previously.   The sky was starting to look magnificent as the sun did its thing. 

I finally arrived at my destination and let's just say the Subaru was looking good right about then.  My feet were super soar from all the hiking and sitting down felt like heaven.  I jumped in and headed for home.  On my way I cross this small bridge on the lower part of this stream.  It has a nice hole spilling out from beneath it and I couldn't resist Bridge fishing it.  First cast in with the same fly, drifting down into the hole, I raised my tip to keep the fly on the surface as I retrieved it and Booka, this beautiful specimen was ready and willing at 9:00 pm at night.  

Oh man why did you have to eat my fly ole trout friend?  Since I still had about a half hour to kill I decided to head upstream a few holes and see if maybe my lucky fly could pull out just one more fish.  It was getting dark so I would be drifting down in to prevent snags behind me in the dark.  One cast, first hole.  Nothing, I think.  Second cast in and this beauty took me for a ride.  It put up the best fight of the day.  Feeling like a 20" + fish on the end of my line.  Not quite 20 but still a wonderful fish none the less. 

Moved up to what I decided would be my last hole.  I threw the fly in downstream from my position and was able to get this little night cap trout.  I couldn't even see my fly at this point, but I was sure it head to look a wreck.  O.k. so when I get home I think I will tie a few more of them up. 

The sun was gone and the fog rolled in.  I set my foot on the pedal and B-Lined it for home.  As I drove thoughts of the wonderful day rolled through my head.  My grin touched my ears and my mind was as clear as Mountain Brook Trout Stream in Maine.  Fishing had done the trick yet again.  With my fly and leader still tied to my fly line I headed home with a sense of accomplishment.  For once I got the best of the snags, instead of the snags getting the best of me.  

Until Next Time.......Tight Lines to all!!!!!!!!!


  1. MAgee,
    Great stuff. Always look forward to your posts to see the great artwork AND fish.We got to get together and chunk some feathers!

  2. Loved the post and all the pictures, reminds me of fishing little farm brooks in PA when I was a kid

  3. What a post.
    Great photos.
    I do the same many times, one fly. It will usually pay off.

  4. Man your kill'in me with all that small stream and Browns. Great pics! Wish I was there!

  5. AMAZING PICS!! That fly should be retired to a shadow box to always remind you of your day

  6. I can't get over how great your photos are...I keep scrolling up and down taking them in. I feel like I'm right there with you every post you put's so awesome!

    ...and I suppose I should congratulate you on all those drifters that found their way to the photo shoot...ha!

  7. Dude, I think you caught every fish in there.

  8. i really like the before and after of your fly.

  9. John,

    Thanks much. I am glad to hear that you liked the photos and fish. I'll make sure to keep the posts comin. Maybe you'll be starring in one of the photos someday :) Tight Lines.

  10. Mark,

    Glad to hear the pics helped conjure up some good childhood memories. Ah to be a kid again :) Thanks much and Tight Lines.

  11. Brk Trt,

    Thank you. I took way to many pictures out there and had to only choose 58 of them :) Definitely thinking I will use that fly a little more often. Tight Lines.

  12. Kevin,

    OH no I've killed someone with a photo! :) Since you aren't able to be there, hopefully the pictures help you feel like you are. :) Just think of it as being out there without all the gnat bites :) Tight LInes.

  13. Dustin,

    THANK YOU! That is a great idea. A box dedicated to shredded flies. I love those kind of days. Tight Lines.

  14. That is a mean looking nymph! Your pics make me want to walk off the job and go fishing!

  15. Sanders,

    Thanks for the kind words. Sometimes when I'm out there wondering around, I find my self blogging on the stream. I'm like " Oh that would look cool against the black background." or " Oh they gotta see this sweet hole." And lord knows I love getting the Trout out for their weekly portraits. They're all so different in beauty I have to post every last one. :) Tight Lines.

  16. Kev,

    I couldn't believe how willing they were to take the fly every time. Thank goodness the sun finally went down or I might have ended up with some wicked blisters. Addicted to the bite. Thanks and Tight Lines.

  17. Blake,

    Thanks a lot. I was really surprised the glass bead stayed in one piece all day. It always amazes me how wicked the teeth of a trout are. Shredders.

  18. Savage,

    Thanks a lot. A late night creation. That line about wanting to walk off the job and go fishing has me left with perma grin. Tight Lines.

  19. That fly deserves the Victoria Cross, for service above and beyond the call of duty.(at least a purple heart or two). Great photos.

  20. Cofisher,

    Thanks much. Glad you like the pics. Tight Lines.

  21. Phillip,

    It definitely was a trooper of a fly. I even had to chase it up a tree during my quest. Thanks much and Tight Lines :)

  22. Curious what camera you are using

  23. Mark,

    My weapon of choice is a Nikon Digital SLR D5000. 18-55mm Nikon Lens. Hope this helps. I think there maybe some pics down below in one of the widgets. Tight Lines.

  24. Great day of fishing right there and some pretty amazing photos to go along with it as well. I really need to make another trip up to the "Driftless Region" , beautiful little streams and brown trout.

  25. I'm curious how did the area get that name? This post made me feel like I was there in the water with you and alllll those fish. Thanks for the Wisconsin Dreamin' -- Jim Burns

  26. Jeff,

    Thanks a lot. After just reading your post a while back I think I need to make a trip to the Ozarks for some of those beautiful Bows. Tight Lines.

  27. One of the days I'm going to have to show up on your door step with a "Take this fisher fishing" sign around my neck.

  28. Jim,

    Thanks for stopping by. The Driftless Area is where the glaciers left all the hills/small mountains around here and didn't wipe them out. Making for a lot of nice terrain and spring fed creeks. Glad you were able to feel like you were there. Tight Lines

  29. Very nice, thanks for sharing.

  30. Kevin,
    I just read Jeffs HighPlainsFly post and now I am thinking the Ozarks is where its at. Those rainbows look super tempting. We can trade spots for a while :) Tight Lines.

  31. Toyin O.

    Thanks for stopping by. Glad to hear you liked the post. Always glad to share my wanderings. Tight Lines.

  32. WOW! Amazing location. Amazing fishing. Amazing fish. And a fly that just won't quit. All wrapped in great story and photos. Thx for sharing.

    Also, I often set my camera to autobracket. Not sure if yours will do the same. But that gives me a range of exposures to play with. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss.

  33. Great pics. Nothing beats a good day in the driftless area. I gave you a shout out at This is a great site.
    Trout Buddha (aka Andy)

  34. Steve,

    Thanks much. I will definitely check the auto bracket on my camera. Thanks for the great idea. I will shoot you an email with some questions. Tight Lines.

  35. Andy,

    Thanks a lot man. Appreciate the shout out on I will have to go check out that website for sure. Thanks again and tight lines.

  36. I was blown away by the new header! Really Caught my eye! Great choice. I love it! (and you got some pretty nice looking trout pics on top of it all! Bird

  37. Bird,

    Thanks. Glad to hear you like the new header. Tight Lines. ;)

  38. Once and Future Fly FishermanJuly 3, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Great photography! I really love your site. Looking forward to visiting the driftless region in a couple of months.

  39. OFFF,
    Thank you very much. I am sure the driftless will treat you well no doubt. Good travels and Tight Lines.

  40. Very nice trip! That's a great looking creek wandering through some beautiful land.

    Excellent pics too.

    (You keep your trout office in your car too! LOL)

  41. Loah,
    Thanks much. The little streams are so neat to wander and discover dank little holes here and there. I think I have a little bit of everything in my car :) Tight Lines.


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