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Old 09-28-2012, 05:10 AM
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Default Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

I returned a few days ago from a 5 day trip to the Driftless. I had a great time there, met some wonderful people, enjoyed the sights and sounds of the place and more importantly want to return soon

I wanted to give kudos to 'Fishiowa' & 'Trouthound13'...both these forum members were very generous with their tips and inputs on the waters and fly patterns. I had the chance to fish one of the streams near Dubuque with Fishiowa and thoroughly enjoyed it (despite the long drive). He is an excellent fly fisherman and I learned a lot from him.

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I fished a couple of streams in NE Iowa and then drove to Viroqua, WI to fish some of the creeks around the city. There is so much fishable water in the region that one could spend a life time and not fish it all. It was comforting to have long stretches of the stream all to yourself. The trees were starting to change their leaf colors. Here are some pictures in random order.

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The streams were running low and clear, but the fish were willing to jump on terrestrials and small nymph droppers. I had the luxury of fishing with one of the guides out of the Driftless Anglers Fly Shop and really enjoyed the local knowledge he imparted during the day. Every evening there was an intense BWO hatch and watching the Brookies and Browns attack a size 22 BWO dry was a perfect cap to a long day of fishing

On the way home, I took a chance and fished a very skinny stream south of Viroqua. The stream was overgrown with trees and I had a 2' by 2' window to cast my dry...managed to do it w/o any snags and watched in amazement as a 12" Brookie jumped on the fly. Bring him to the net was the perfect ending to the trip. I had a big smile all the way home (made the 8+ hr trip tolerable).

Tackle Advice: I forgot to mention this in the original post so here goes - Shorter rods are not required. I took a 7'6" Superfine, a 8'4" G2 and a 8'6" ZXL all in 4wt. When I got there I realized that the ZXL rod tube was empty So I used the G2 most of the time. Unfortunately the wind was howling every day so casting a large (sz 12 hopper) with a heavy nymph was challenging. I had to do lots of double hauling to keep the line speed high & as a result it was really tiring. Next time I am only taking the 4 & 6 wt ZXL's. Also no need to go with very light leaders / tippets. 4 or 5X is ideal (As long as you can get a good drag free drift with the smaller dries). Don't sweat the fly selection - keep it simple and spend more time on the presentation. Finally, watch where you step....there are some rattlers & many piles of cow poop in the stream side. A bull snorted and tried a fake charge at me on of the meadow streams. Had to make a hasty exit from the spot

Last edited by mysticm; 09-28-2012 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:28 AM
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Default Re: Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

Mysticm: Looks like a great fishing trip, thanks for sharing the great photos. Lately, I have been reading one of Rich Osthoff's books titled "No Hatch to Match", it is an excellent book. He lives in WI and offers some good tips for fishing those waters. You might want to pickup a copy. Great ride, especially with today's gas prices!

Larry
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:29 AM
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Default Re: Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

Larry, Thanks for the recommendation on the book, I will certainly get it since I plan to return to the area.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

Thats it......Im going next year. i dont care what I have to do, i'll sleep in the truck bed, im doing that trip.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

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Originally Posted by stl_geoff View Post
Thats it......Im going next year. i dont care what I have to do, i'll sleep in the truck bed, im doing that trip.

Shoot me a PM when / if you want to go and perhaps we can travel together or meet there (as long as you aren't an axe murderer)
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:55 AM
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Default Re: Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

Damn, I guess I'll leave those at home, hahaha. Thats a can do. My buddy did this trip a couple summers ago. he just loaded up the car and went. When he saw water, he'd stop, pull over fish for a little bit and then continue on.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

Great report....beautiful picsthanks for sharing
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:58 PM
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Default Re: Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnerney View Post
Lately, I have been reading one of Rich Osthoff's books titled "No Hatch to Match", it is an excellent book. Larry
Great book and an excellent read, I agree. I've fished with Rich. Solid guy to boot.

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Originally Posted by mysticm View Post
I had the luxury of fishing with one of the guides out of the Driftless Anglers Fly Shop and really enjoyed the local knowledge he imparted during the day.
I've fished with Pete out of that shop. Solid guy and very knowledgable. Nice little fly shop with good selection of flies as well.

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Originally Posted by mysticm View Post
Next time I am only taking the 4 & 6 wt ZXL's.
That 486 ZXL is ideal. I fish one quite bit there.

Great trip report. I fished the driftless last weekend as well. Caught a few brookies, but none that were as brilliant as yours. I was fishing mainly brown trout streams, though...

Cheers,
Mike.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

Mysticism,
It looks like the rest of your trip went well, those brookies are gorgeous.
Rich
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Driftless - Trip Report Sep 2012

Thanks for the great report and pix... been a long time since I've seen Sumac! milt.
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