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  1. #1

    Default Fishing Driftless in April

    Dear people of the Driftless,

    My brother and I live in western Michigan and are contemplating a fishing trip for a long weekend in April. We love fishing in Michigan but are thinking about making a run to the Driftless. Is April a good time to fish there? Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated. May and June are already booked up with fishing trips and a new grandson scheduled to make his appearance.

    Thanks,
    Craig

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Pinedale, WY
    Posts
    19,577
    Blog Entries
    50

    Default re: Fishing Driftless in April

    Craig
    Hopefully one of the members that fishes the Driftless will offer some help.
    If not, checkout this thread below and send some pm's to the guys that have fished there.
    2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports
    Larry


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Eastern Iowa
    Posts
    6,891

    Default re: Fishing Driftless in April

    Hi Craig,

    April is a good time. The threat of icy travel weather is mostly gone. The opportunities are vast as it covers three states. We have a considerable amount of "famous water" that is pounded hard during early spring weekends. I am not necessarily suggesting Iowa as there is better water farther north IMO. Be aware most of our streams have at least some amount of stocking, and that starts April 1st in IA. We had a forum get-together early spring last year. It was a great time and there is some chance we will do it again this spring. Approximate location unknown at this time. That depends some on who will commit to show up. Decorah, Iowa area is one possibility. There is a lot of water there and it contains browns and brookies in addition to stocker rainbows.

    As far as specific stream info, it isn't likely to happen on a forum thread here. It's just too easy to search up any post here on Google, and people definitely do that because it's easier than participating on a forum. That said, it's no secret if you show up in Decorah, Iowa or Viroqua, WI area you'll have no shortage of water to fish.

    I hope this was of some assistance.
    Last edited by ia_trouter; 01-14-2018 at 10:42 AM.

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  5. #4

    Default re: Fishing Driftless in April

    April is a great time to show up... pressure is high but its not in full swing yet as catch & keep isn't until May in Wisconsin. Caddis and BWO should be showing up by then. There's a lot of water in Wisconsin that's designated trout water. If you head 10 miles in any direction of Viroqua you'll find plenty of prime trout waters. Check out a website and app called troutspotr. The Driftless Angler posts reports on their site and are friendly folks. Both will be great resources for you. And while you're in Viroqua make sure to stop by the Driftless Cafe. (Shameless plug) Depending on the day too I could possibly show you around. Feel free to PM me for any questions you've got.




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  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Guiding in southeast MN
    Posts
    251

    Default re: Fishing Driftless in April

    April is a high pressure month as mentioned previously, but it depends upon where you are and time you are there (i/e fish weekdays if possible - and be able to hike a bit and get away from the high traffic areas).

    April is one of my favorite months to fish. You can do a little bit of everything - nymphs, dries, streamers. This is a great month for hatches, too: BWO to Dark Hendrickson to caddis.

    If it were me, I'd pick Minnesota or Wisconsin. There is less pressure in MN than WI, but WI has more water than MN. My only complaint with IA is that it is managed more as a put and take resource, thus, the presence of stocked rainbows. IA does not have the same access and expansive easements that MN and WI have, either.

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  9. Default re: Fishing Driftless in April

    I've typically gone out to THE DRIFTLESS a bit later in May. You want to be out there when the spring really kicks in and the whole area turns into The Shire. It's really beautiful and green and peaceful in May. Something special about spring in The Driftless. So I'd wait until then. Being from Michigan, you'll understand this, but the bugs are bad that time of year, so get yourself a neck gaitor and gloves. Some guys even wear mosquito nets over their heads!

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  11. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Eastern Iowa
    Posts
    6,891

    Default re: Fishing Driftless in April

    Quote Originally Posted by ontheflymn View Post
    April is a high pressure month as mentioned previously, but it depends upon where you are and time you are there (i/e fish weekdays if possible - and be able to hike a bit and get away from the high traffic areas).

    April is one of my favorite months to fish. You can do a little bit of everything - nymphs, dries, streamers. This is a great month for hatches, too: BWO to Dark Hendrickson to caddis.

    If it were me, I'd pick Minnesota or Wisconsin. There is less pressure in MN than WI, but WI has more water than MN. My only complaint with IA is that it is managed more as a put and take resource, thus, the presence of stocked rainbows. IA does not have the same access and expansive easements that MN and WI have, either.
    Completely agree with this. When somebody from out of state realizes I am from Iowa they almost always comment on the awesome IA streams they saw PICs or Vid of. Problem is 95% of what you are seeing are the same 3-5 streams. Nearly all of the other 70 or so fishable trout streams are put put and take stocker rainbow water. That's not a complaint so much as they won't support anything else most years. It's a LOT better than nothing IMO, but we just don't have enough truly good water when the crowds get large like they do in April. VERY little of our water is artificial only. A minimum length limit is about the closest we get to mandatory C&R water.

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  13. Default re: Fishing Driftless in April

    Quote Originally Posted by itchmesir View Post
    April is a great time to show up... pressure is high but its not in full swing yet as catch & keep isn't until May in Wisconsin. Caddis and BWO should be showing up by then. There's a lot of water in Wisconsin that's designated trout water. If you head 10 miles in any direction of Viroqua you'll find plenty of prime trout waters. Check out a website and app called troutspotr. The Driftless Angler posts reports on their site and are friendly folks. Both will be great resources for you. And while you're in Viroqua make sure to stop by the Driftless Cafe. (Shameless plug) Depending on the day too I could possibly show you around. Feel free to PM me for any questions you've got.



    Nice fish!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  14. Default re: Fishing Driftless in April

    Having learned to fly fish on blue ribbon streams like the Au Sable, Pere Marquette, and Manistee of Northern MI, there is something about the Driftless. I catch better quality fish on these streams that you will joke to yourself about upon first seeing. I love Michigan waters, but I long to fish the Driftless.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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  16. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    281

    Default re: Fishing Driftless in April

    I am in striking distance of the Driftless area and am making it a goal to get there in 2018.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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