2019 Driftless Pictures and Reports

ia_trouter

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From Saturday and Sunday. It's absolutely pouring here right now.

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From a few weeks back:

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Some people had to work all weekend. :icon_sad: It rained so damn hard it didn't matter anyway. Good thing the big river is down some now are we would be having another one of those bi-monthly hundred year floods.

Is that your wife or my sister-inlaw? :) I did a serious double take while scrolling by. She has a body double down here in Iowa. :)
 

Unknownflyman

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Great day on the river yesterday, lots of bugs hatching and fluorescent green new growth everywhere, with all the rain and snow things are now growing fast. River temperature was 59 degrees and a comfortable 72 degrees and no wind on the river.

Fished my 2wt dry fly rod with CDC Caddis, Adams and blue wings. When I tie up caddis I always tie the four flavors of CDC for the driftless, Natural, BWO, Iron blue dun, Black.

I really need to study some on possible bugs hatching because I usually see new stuff and with lots of bugs its sometimes really difficult to figure out what some trout are feeding on, they all were not feeding on the same things. I also determined I need to take bug pics for later study and color charts.

I saw what looked like different sizes and colors of mayflies coming out of the river, large caddis escaping from the surface, little bouncy bugs that skipped around on the surface and the usual midges and what looked like little black stick caddis or stoneflies.

The bulk of my fish came on caddis, and after I saw a nice head and I grabbed a fly out of the air, it looked blue possibly a grey drake and there were not hatching in large numbers at all, so I changed to a long Iron blue dun CDC Caddis in size 16 and caught a very large fish and a couple others like him.

I saw a few really large brook trout feeding on something but I could`nt get them, I only caught two small brook trout, one self released and the other was just 4" and stunning in color.

Lots of fish from all year classes, which is always great to see on a wild fish river, and its always good to see some fish that's been around awhile, a couple with net marks and one nice fish looked like it was hooked recently with a treble but was healing up nicely.

Since I started really refining my dry fly presentation and using a bit lighter rig, I`ve caught a lot of larger fish and more fish on dry flies which is my favorite form of fly fishing, I love to swing and skate flies, nymphs are good sport but for me nothing matches surface action, and I got a lot of it yesterday, the clicker was screaming from noon till the end of legal.

A comical thing that happened and my largest fish of the day took place on cast one.

I stepped up to my entry point a safe spot to wade in and observe without spooking fish, its not great fish holding water, but it is fast and knee deep in a long run. So I am standing there, I view some bugs hatching and a few risers up and down the river, I see BWO and caddis and midges and flies. I decide to use caddis to start and in the BWO color CDC, I figure its good for prospecting.

I tie on, wade out a little bit and I had a bunch of slack out to avoid getting tangled up I flip the line upriver and stow my fly box in my vest and close zippers when out of the corner off my eye in the flow a giant brown comes up from the bottom in the fast water and hammers my fly.

The fish takes off and there is a bunch of fly line around my legs and out in the river, I start stripping and reeling, the fish is running and jumping and its big, eventually I get him on the reel and after a good battle I get him in my net and he is 20" or so. Of course my phone is in my truck. I pull the fly admire the large fish and dump the net, with a good chuckle.

The largest fish landed in a while, by accident, no skill required. I also wondered why the fish didn't spook and apparently knee deep fast water in bright sun at noon is good holding water for large browns. of course it all might have been an anomaly.

I`m back to using my fly vest, I missed it and on the last two outings it serves me better than any pack. I also picked up a fishpond magnetic net holder and bungie, I need a net on my back to feel comfortable. I guess I`m old but I don't care what the young hip fisherman like.

My pack is for long hiking trips and steelhead. Vest for everything else.

And with that said on to the pics......



















Not all of them are big



A 12" fish scrappy fighter



Plenty of nice ones





Time to call it a day.
 
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SDMT

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After those posts. Now for the really exciting. (Har har) :frogdance
This pic is of the pond at the back of my companies Koon Rapids terminal. Oh the suffering! I have to practice casting at work! That’s my new Aetos 9’5wt and Battenkill reel. Love them. Truly, much of why I love em is they aren’t any great burden.
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Unknownflyman

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I was out fishing and adventuring for smallmouth on the upper St. Croix Minnesota side, but the reports Ive seen from friends are very good from my end of the driftless. The bugs are insane. Nice brown!
 

dennyk

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I was out fishing and adventuring for smallmouth on the upper St. Croix Minnesota side, but the reports Ive seen from friends are very good from my end of the driftless. The bugs are insane. Nice brown!
Not to turn this into a smallmouth thread, but in your adventures targeting smallmouth bass, if you don't have some of these already you may want to add them to your arsenal. These have outfished streamers and poppers by far in the waters I fish. Fish them SLOWLY especially in slack water.

Foam cut to shape, silicone legs, sparkle chenille body in various colors. Small amount of Zap A Gap on the wraps to hold everything in place.



Good Luck!

Denny
 

smoke33

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Also made it to the Driftless Angler. It was much smaller than I anticipated but was cool to visit and spend some money.



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ia_trouter

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Here is a Driftless report of sorts....

Sorry but no pictures. Life has been real busy with flood fighting and my part time job that morphed into full-time + OT every week. When I had a half day off all I could do was access the southern most streams of the region. A blown out muddy mess, much like 2018. I'm weary of it. Honestly I had put trout fishing on the back burner and just made the best of it chasing a few crappie on the lake now and then. I can only get so excited throwing black buggers and such so that's all there really was.

Steve "The unknownflyman" has invited me up to fish the farthest reaches of the northern Driftless over the years. I accepted the invitation and we fished today. I knew I would be rusty and I was for sure. Sadly, I haven't cast a fly rod since last fall. First time I have dry fly fished a trout river. I've caught exactly zero trout on dry flies ever. Hatches on my local water are about non-existent. Not impossible, but it's a low percentage play.

2019 got better today. Thanks for being such a good host today Steve. I had little spare time to even properly prepare for a fishing day, and you filled in the important shortcomings. I don't get to fish for wild browns or brookies often. Catching some on dries today was a first. I can't tell you how much I appreciated the hospitality. I have been on enough Driftless adventures to know that we get overly concerned when our forum guests struggle. I surely did at first. The grass is getting tall already lol. Our concern is a compliment to all of us I suppose, but we are friends, not paid guides. Thanks for sharing a successful day on your water. I know good water when I see it. I also know a skilled fly fisherman and teacher when I spend the day with one.

Thank you very much.

Dewayne
 

Unknownflyman

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Dewayne and I was out fly fishing the northern driftless. Nice weather, Cloudy looked like it could storm and it was cool 66 degrees. Trout were rising lots of little guys with nice fish and big fish coming up occasionally. Water clarity was slightly stained up river and stained downriver, to unfishable below the feeder creeks down river. We stayed to the upper reaches as I knew they got some storms the night before.

We seen and caught most year classes and I enjoyed seeing so many young of the year browns in the shallows, with all the major flooding this spring the river is fishing well and it was great to see so many new and young trout.

While we picked up some sulphers, march browns and blue wing dries at the shop I just fished caddis and I think Dewayne tried a few other patterns. The little guys were furiously feeding on the sulphers and blue wings, the larger ones were feeding on larger caddis and I wish I would of picked out larger march browns, the ones I saw were big and the largest trout were sporadically feeding on those flies.

I tie my CDC caddis with longer CDC, why? because it can also double as mayflies as the CDC looks like a mayfly tail. I also wake and skate those flies on the end of a drift. In the evening at the end of legal I had one of the largest browns of the day crush it at the start of the swing, nice 17-18" fish and chunky.

Many different flies hatching, and I sight fished to a number of nice browns that I witnessed completely refusing my pattern, probably feeding on sulphers. I also seen a number of different kinds of refusals which were pattern and drift related. it is fun to watch them come up and sometimes follow and refuse, it tells me a lot.

Instead of changing flies and getting the fish, I just kept moving looking for larger fish that would accept my offering.

Dewayne showed up with major style points with glass rods, we both fished 5wt glass today, and it was a good choice, smooth casting and on some of the larger fish who thought they were atlantic salmon the shock absorption was needed. I did break off on a few larger fish and had some bent hooks, the last of those are gone.

Many fish caught and released successfully and a beautiful day on the river with a friend. ON TO THE PICS!

Dewayne working his magic on the upper stretch.



A couple of fish pics from that section.




I think I caught this guy before, Just smile for the camera and Steve will let you go.




We went down river after a sandwich, you can see the river is more stained but fish are rising, we caught some nice fish here.




One of Dewayne`s nice fish in the net. Pretty color




I caught a few with hardly any spots on them, this guy thought he was an Atlantic salmon, he ran and jumped four times catching feet of air before hitting the net on a 5wt I might add.



Releasing that fish I look down river, and see my fishing partner with the net out releasing a fish too.



Wonderful day on the river, Congratulations Dewayne and happy father's day, it was great to be there on your first dry fly fishing trip, Lets head out again soon.
 
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ia_trouter

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Thanks again. I'll definitely be back up. I know I only saw a small portion of the extreme northern Driftless area. Sometime I'll have to post some better pics of my water for you to view. I know you've seen plenty of pics or our famous Iowa creeks.

When I first saw your river, my initial reaction was "man I almost packed my 7WT just in case". That would have been some extreme over-packing lol. We don't have a lot of trout rivers in Iowa, but several of them are much larger. Much diversity throughout the D.A. for sure. I need to study the geology more and post up some questions and comments for discussion in this section.

And on a lighter note, (I think you'll get a kick out of this Steve)...... As I told you I am fairly familiar with the major roads around the Twin Cities. Buit in your neighborhood and even little Shakopee, MN it's pretty easy to drive a few blocks in the wrong direction. Anyway, on the way back from your house I reached for the CELL phone so I could check Google maps and swerved some. The lights come on and there I am trying to convince a young police officer where I've been, and where am I am going? Apparently you kept me out on the river too late and he was DEFINITELY not buying my fish story at 11 something PM Saturday night. "You sure you just got done fishing? :) He asked me if maybe I stopped by for "dinner" on the way home from fishing. No Sir, just straight home from fishing. We continue the license, registration, insurance drill. "Nope, I don't do drugs Sir". As you know Steve my blood alcohol content would have yielded Gatorade, cheese and pretzels lol. But my sore back after longish car rides isn't going to look good. It never does for at least a few minutes so I am thinking this is going to be a long "free DEWAYNE" project.

Long story short, he runs my DL, comes back from his squad car and asks "so how long have you lived in LeClaire"? I told him over 30 years, thinking perhaps he had seen American Pickers TV show? Yeah, but that's not it. He used to attend the school a mile from my house. In a major city 350+ miles from Podunk town and I get pulled over by my daughter's school mate. :) He pointed over the hill and said your hotel is on that road, be safe and have a good night. It really was my lucky day.
 
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spm

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Yeah, but that's not it. He used to attend the school a mile from my house. In a major city 350+ miles from Podunk town and I get pulled over by my daughter's school mate. :) He pointed over the hill and said your hotel is on that road, be safe and have a good night. It really was my lucky day.
Good story, DeWayne. I guess that really makes you feel your age. Have you noticed that all the LEO's are much younger than you remember from when you were younger? And they keep getting younger.

steve
 

ia_trouter

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Good story, DeWayne. I guess that really makes you feel your age. Have you noticed that all the LEO's are much younger than you remember from when you were younger? And they keep getting younger.

steve
They are for sure. This kid was 24 tops. Very respectful, and I was too, but I just know he thought I was lying and he let me off. Steve and I fished until the last moment of daylight, then a a ride to his house so I could get my car then 40 more minutes to my hotel. My story was not believable from a guy that just swerved hard. :)

I just don't want anybody to think we were fishing with headlamps. That's not how it was, but we did get our money's worth while the feeding was on.
 

ia_trouter

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Official invitation and "call out" to "Big Fish" k_e_v. We were supposed to go a few weeks ago. Are you afraid I'll school you in Southern Driftless muddy water tactics? You should be scared lol. :D

Seriously though, let's do this soon before it gets too hot. It's about the only true day trip I can arrange with your driving distance. Driftless Meet is going to be in the fall and I miss you. :)
 

smoke33

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If you are looking for a place to stay in the Viroqua are we stayed at a great place. One room for 2 was $75. Not sure I can post the name but feel free to pm me for more info.



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k_e_v

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Challenge accepted. Respond to your PM's old man



Official invitation and "call out" to "Big Fish" k_e_v. We were supposed to go a few weeks ago. Are you afraid I'll school you in Southern Driftless muddy water tactics? You should be scared lol. :D

Seriously though, let's do this soon before it gets too hot. It's about the only true day trip I can arrange with your driving distance. Driftless Meet is going to be in the fall and I miss you. :)
 
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