Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Driftless Weekend, Fly Fishing SW Wisconsin

  This past Friday I loaded up my camper and fishing gear along with my good friend Joe. Despite traffic on I-90 being screwed up due to road construction, Joe finally made it to my house by 5 P.M. We quickly threw his gear into the truck and we where off to the land known as the Driftless Area of SW Wisconsin. We drove up watching the sun set and talking about what had been going on in our lives as of lately. Joe and I don't get to chat often, but when we do there is always something to talk about thus making the drive that much more enjoyable. Joe just picked up a flyrod for the first time last season and only got out on the water a few times, and unfortunately went fishless last year. This year there was a mission on my mind, to get Joe a fish to the net. On the drive up during the chit chat, we went over the basics of fly fishing to get him back to where he left off last year.

  We finally arrived at the campground we would call home for the next few days, Sidie Hollow Campground. Sidie Hollow sits in a valley just outside of Viroqua and is owned and run by the county. It is a beautiful place, and I highly recommend camping there if your ever in the area. We drove threw looking for a site for the weekend, and when we thought we found one, all hell broke lose. We pulled into the site and I could quickly tell something was not right. We where sinking. The site we picked out was defiantly not dry land. I came to a stop which was a mistake, and as I tried to back out and the tires began to spin, making things worse. It was dark and the ground was spongy. We disconnected the trailer pushing it back up onto the road, and then tried to get unstuck. To our misfortune things where not getting any better. Another camper down the way came over and offered help, but neither of us had a chain nor a strap to pull us out. We went to the local mans camper that watches over the campground and asked for help. Sure enough the gentleman was there in about 5 mins. and quickly retrieved us from the spongy grass. For  this we where very thankful. We set up camp on the opposite side of the road that was actually nicer due to the fact we where now stream side to a small stream loaded with small browns and brook trout. It always works out to be an interesting weekend right off the bat I guess. We cooked up some dinner, planned out the next day, and hit the hay.


The tire tracks the day after. Doesn't look bad, but if you walked in it you would know right away


  Saturday morning quickly came after all the chaos the night before. We ate some breakfast and we where off to achieve the mission we set out on. Get Joe a fish. Heading to one of my favorite spots to fish on the west fork I was amped up, and knew my good friend was going to connect. We headed back off the road to a hole I am very familiar with. I set my rod on the bank and stood next to Joe coaching him through his casts and presentations. About 5 drifts through the deep pool I saw the indicator twitch, and had an instant reaction by shouting " Set The Hook!" Joe set and connected. The smile on his face said it all as he retrieved line and bringing in his first trout on the fly.

 It was a decent Brown Trout that he could be proud of. In the few times he has driven a fly rod he achieved a goal many set forth on, but struggle to accomplish in there first few times on the water. I believe this was only Joe's second time on a trout stream. After a quick photo with the fish, it was back to casting. Another 4 or 5 casts in and Joe had another hook up. This time fighting much harder than the first fish. It was a large sucker, but a fun fight on the fly rod. Joe kept casting and I started to think I created a fishing monster as he hooked up once again.

 This time it was a bigger brown then the first. At this point I figured he had the hang of it, as I needed to start to catch up on the fish count. I started to fish the back half of the pool we where fishing in and connected after a few minutes.

 He wasn't a monster, but sure was a fighter. We continued to fish up stream as my friend Joe started to chump me up almost putting on a clinic, as he continued to hook up and catch fish. I believe Joe landed 4 fish on this stretch to my two as we wrapped up on this stretch. I had a few suckers in there, but we where only counting the trout. Here is a beautiful shot of part of the stretch we where fishing on taken by Joe.

 We headed back to camp for a quick lunch, and talked about the days events of fishing so far. Joe had bragging rights at this point, but as I told him the day was not over. We headed back out around 4 pm to another creek that I am not very fond of, but have always challenged myself to fish it. I couldn't tell you the number of times I have fished this stream and always come out empty handed. There are always hundreds of fish in this hole, but I can never get one to take my fly. I have tossed more patterns at them then I know of, and not a single fish. This time was different as we accomplished one goal for the day, it was time we accomplished another.

 This is the hole looking down off of the above bridge. Always loaded with a huge school of fish. I worked my way out and around to the back side of the hole trying not to spook any fish as the water here is gin clear. I started casting and felt a bump. Set the hook and the mission was accomplished. Although the first fish out of this hole wasn't big, I felt like I finally achieved something.

 I continued to fish the hole catching a few more fish of this size, and lost one really nice one. I finally did it though. I caught fish out of the hole that has skunked me time and time again. Of course I got a fish up on my good buddy for the day as well. It was a fabulous day on the water with great weather, a great friend, and great stories made to tell in the future. We headed back to camp to start a fire and cook some grub.

 We sat around the fire chowing down and enjoying a few barley pops. We reflected back on the days events, and couldn't have been much more happier about it. We caught fish and had a plethora of scenery to look at all day. What more could you ask for?

 The next morning came and we where kind of bummed that we had to head back home, but not before stopping at a few spots along the way. We ate and packed up and headed back down the road. We stopped at another stream that resides on the border of richland and vernon counties. This spot had always produced numbers, but something was different about the stream. It was loaded with algae and the size of fish where small compared to trips in the past.



 After the a few hours and going bust we headed back towards home. We stopped off at Black Earth Creek for one last hoorah in hopes of possibly catching some bigger fish for the day. Unfortunately I had one hook up and that was it. It was nice to fish Black Earth as this was one of my first Driftless streams I had ever fished, but I soon realized why I don't fish it much anymore. 

 We where back on the road after a quick stop at the coffee shop in Cross Plains, which has excellent coffee by the way. We made the trip back home over the border talking about how great the weekend was, and we were sad it had to come to an end. I had a great time putting a good friend on fish. I have a feeling Joe will be calling me soon to try and make an escape up to the Driftless in the near future. Until then, Happy Fishing!

9 comments:

  1. Sounds like you two had a pretty good trip. Well worth the time and effort to see someone catch there first trout.

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    1. Always good to get others involved in the sport which turns into a life style.

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  2. Sounds like a great weekend. I hope to make it up to Iowa's Driftless area and fish sometime in the next month , hope the conditions are as good for me.

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    1. Conditions should only get better my friend. Good luck up there. I have fished that area a few times and I have always done well.

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  3. Awesome post, Brian!

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    1. Thanks, Joe! Next time you will out fish me. I have a feeling. Keep at it my friend.

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  4. Brian
    What a great story, you had me from the first sentence and to the last. Excellent fishing buddies are hard to come by and I feel you found a good one in Joe. Really enjoyed the post

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    1. Thanks Bill! I think I have my good friend Joe hooked on fly fishing now. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Great post! Sounds like you two had a great time, and kudos to you for guiding your friend to his first trout on the fly, and putting him on the board for the year! I think I recognize that hole you were fishing by the bridge. If it's the one I am thinking of, I've had my troubles there last year, too.

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