2020 Driftless Pictures And Reports

FlymanSJB

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Happy New Year!

I got out with Itchmesir today and it was a beautiful day on the river. The catching was slow and looking on Facebook seeing friends reports just getting one fish today was about the extent of peoples catch.

Started out on a native brook trout river and Itchy came up with a nice one, Maybe he'll post a couple pics, I lost one and that was about it. I seen a couple hundred brook trout today but they were very spooky and even swinging and stripping through the deepest holes either spooked the fish or lockjaw. I did`nt see any attempts to take the fly.



Beautiful little brook trout stream and very challenging to fly fish.




People were fishing down river and it was slow so we went to a larger river for wild browns and nice stocker rainbows.
Three swings in I hook up and hook a dandy Rainbow and I saw it and it self released in front of me. Perfect I didn't have to get my hands wet.

Working down swinging flies, all I did today. 3wt 7` glass and my sage clicker for the reel. I brought the 2 the 3 and 4 weight with but just fished the 3wt.




It was good to get out with a friend and a forum friend at that, We`ve fished every catch and release opener for years now, since it became legal to do so.

Water was cold, fish were not hungry, no hatches, saw one 2" trout jump. It was awesome, A great day!
 
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FlymanSJB

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Thank you gentlemen, The Wisconsin opener is Saturday, I will be out at some point over the weekend. So much water so little time!



You may have read about all the flooding last year and the most water we ever have received in a year, from epic snow to monsoons, that being said, seeing a couple hundred heritage strain native brook trout just warms my heart. I did want to meet at least a few up close but that's ok, amazing that they survived all that warm run off water.

Since I hooked but didn't land a brook trout, I`ll share a pic that Itchy took of me on another opener on the same creek, and I did spy some dandy brook trout in there on New Years day.

 
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Ard

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It's gotta be warming down there because the cold air has finally discovered my part of Alaska. Currently -8, I was going to leave for the cabin early today but had an issue with a snowmachine that kept me working on it until late last night. Got a bit of frostbite on my left thumb while having all that fun. No fishing on the near horizon here so keep the pictures coming Steve.

I may stay home Saturday too because it promises to be in the -25 zone along the rivers tomorrow. I try not to be a Girlieman about this but 75 miles on a Skidoo at 35 to 40 mph while it's -25 or more isn't really that much fun for me. All good so long as the snowmachine doesn't break down......
 

FlymanSJB

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It's gotta be warming down there because the cold air has finally discovered my part of Alaska. Currently -8, I was going to leave for the cabin early today but had an issue with a snowmachine that kept me working on it until late last night. Got a bit of frostbite on my left thumb while having all that fun. No fishing on the near horizon here so keep the pictures coming Steve.

I may stay home Saturday too because it promises to be in the -25 zone along the rivers tomorrow. I try not to be a Girlieman about this but 75 miles on a Skidoo at 35 to 40 mph while it's -25 or more isn't really that much fun for me. All good so long as the snowmachine doesn't break down......
Yep we are the exact opposite of Alaska, You get warm we get 40 below, You get cold, we get 40 above. Its warm out there for this time of year, teens in the morning to 35 degrees during the day, NICE. We got two or three weeks of slightly cold weather I think I had 16 below at the house for most of the week. but still that's not bad at all, I`d fish it.
 
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FlymanSJB

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Got out today with a guy that I have known for a while but never fished with before and it was fun. It was cold, there was wind gusts up to 40 mph. Needless to say no dry fly action today, No risers and the water temperature in the afternoon was 37 degrees. It was above freezing but it didn't feel like it and no sun until the end of the day, but that was enough to do it, bring on some bugs and a bite for me for one hour. It did not warm up on the opener, and there was no bite. There was action I lost a few, one caught air and spit the hook and I started putting a good bend in the Livingston 5wt.

For me the bite was from 2:30 To 3:30 and that was it, like shutting off the light switch, my friend got into a few in the morning. We ended up with a dozen nice browns between us and we both broke off on a big one. I tested the water temperature at 3:30 before I climbed out and walked back to my truck and it had raised one degree to 38 degrees.

Saw one other fly fisherman he said he got nothing and left.

Swung streamers for most of the day, no fish on those. I`m glad that the wind was at my back, I could cast some serious line today LOL. A size #20 zebra caught all the fish.

All in all a good interesting day on the river, the sun was sporadic and storm clouds would come through and it would get dusky which near the end of the bite I caught my largest trout.



















The Unknownflyman in his natural habitat captured on film again! I must be on the lookout from now on.





 
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pickadrake

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I debated getting out this weekend, now after seeing these pic's I'm wishing I had. Thanks for sharing. Winter fishing is really peaceful and you can see it in your pictures.
 

nuchamps5

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Got out for a few hours for Wisconsin's opener on Saturday. No pictures, but did well in the morning with the cloud cover. Fish were in the deeper runs and heads of pools, happy to eat a frenchie (or my yarn indicator a couple times!).

As soon as the sun hit, everything shut off. Didn't even see a fish to spook, but a nice couple hours anyway.

-Phil
 

FlymanSJB

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Winter storm with high winds this weekend, blizzard conditions made the national news where I grew up. Word on the street is zebras and princes under an indicator is taking all the fish which is good news in that they are looking at something bigger than a midge size these days, more options to the south and east I bet. Water is really cold on my end of the driftless and so is the air. Still there are fish to be had if you really need a hook up on something.

Someone found a dead brown in the 20 plus class with a dead 12" brown stuck in its mouth. No streamer too large, remember that tying today.
 

FlymanSJB

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Itchy came up north and we got out, very slow, cold water 33-34 degrees, we swung streamers and wet flies or bust today. Few fish rising we did see one big head, soft hackles were no go, Itchy lost a few I had one hammer my black nose dace and almost ripped the rod out of my hands, broke me off faster than lighting, heavy fish.

I landed my first fish of 2020 on the swing after 5 hours, a wild brown trout of approximately 8" on a cone head size #10 black bugger. It was a great day beautiful, relaxing and peaceful, we swung some river today kept it moving.

I was taking a break and snapped a pic of Itchy casting his magic.

 

Bent Undergrowth

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Made my first 2020 driftless foray yesterday. I don't often fish in the snow, but I was travelling back from MN and I couldn't help myself.

I ended up in a tributary to a popular WI river and it was absolutely beautiful. I didn't catch any fish, which I probably can attribute to some extent to my wandering around observing the wildlife. I listened to a great horned owl for some time but couldn't spot him.

Also, the water was crystal clear and I, with my tall darkly adorned figure, am the opposite of stealthy, despite Tom Rosenbauer's voice in my head telling me to slow down and sneak up on the fish.

I did get to wondering, though, about stream selection. Are there specific qualities that make a stream more productive during the cold months? I'm not talking about conditions, flow, etc. but rather the inherent size, depth, and location of the stream itself.

Cheers.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

FlymanSJB

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Okaloosa, I knew a number of good browns were in the area, ive seen them last fall, just took me by surprise and it all happened so fast. I was sleep casting, too comfortable and really not thinking I`d catch anything in that spot and then BOOM.


This is what I can offer, it may be good intel or maybe not on your favorite river or stream. Normally as it warms up the trout are interspersed in the river with more fish in good deep runs and holes, Winter on my home river the fish are stacked up post spawn and are not interspersed at all. Water is really clear and they spook easily and since they are grouped up if you spook one you spook them all, and they leave and travel a good distance to the next deep run or hole.

So its easy to herd trout up and down the river. It will get better more light and rising river temps with increase feeding.

I think the fly fishing is better with shelf ice, it just hasn't been all that cold to build up all that shelf ice, swinging flies and having them hang down under shelf ice is a magical thing.

4 hours south of me they are getting midge dry fly action, not up here yet, very few risers in my spots.
 
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