2021 Driftless Pictures and Reports

FIB in WI

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Nice to see you guys are still on 'em! I'm curious, if anyone knows, how bad the rains were in Vernon county and La Crosse county earlier this month? I recall seeing a picture of the WFSC under water again and a picture of a familiar cabin on a hillside that looked like the yard had turned to a giant mudslide. Been busy as heck but the thought crossed my mind today.
 

dpnoll48

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Yesterday I met two friends and we fished two streams in SE Mn. We started fishing at about 9:30 and fished for about 2 hours. The water levels were good, temps at 60 deg and slightly colored. We landed over 30 fish on a variety of nymphs and dries. Quite often the person with the dry would go first and the second person would nymph with both catching fish. I managed a trifecta. After lunch one guy headed home and two of us checked out another stream. The creek was low, clear and the water was at 62/63 degrees with a really good crop of tall weeds. We fished for about 1 ½ hours and both got into double figures. P1020165.JPGP1020164.JPG
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With the rain in the upcoming forecasts I'm not sure when I'll get out again.
 

driftless22

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Nice to see you guys are still on 'em! I'm curious, if anyone knows, how bad the rains were in Vernon county and La Crosse county earlier this month? I recall seeing a picture of the WFSC under water again and a picture of a familiar cabin on a hillside that looked like the yard had turned to a giant mudslide. Been busy as heck but the thought crossed my mind today.
The flooding in northern Vernon County was severe, including the West Fork and Timber Coulee. For the most part, the creeks south of Viroqua were not affected. I haven't been up to the West Fork or Timber Coulee recently, but I've been told that things are pretty much back to normal.
 

Meuniere

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Please pardon my interruption, but although I would kill to be able to be there, I can't, just yet. Can anyone give me some indication as to how fishing/conditions may be, generally speaking, in the Fall (I'm thinking of 2022)? I love that area and have fished there (about 40 or so years ago) with my dad and uncle, but haven't had the wherewithal to get back. Hope to do so soon. Thanks to everyone for your posts-
 

FIB in WI

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Please pardon my interruption, but although I would kill to be able to be there, I can't, just yet. Can anyone give me some indication as to how fishing/conditions may be, generally speaking, in the Fall (I'm thinking of 2022)? I love that area and have fished there (about 40 or so years ago) with my dad and uncle, but haven't had the wherewithal to get back. Hope to do so soon. Thanks to everyone for your posts-
I fished the last week before the season closes in WI last year(season closes 10/15). Crazy BWO hatches. Nymphed until they started hatching once it warmed up. I plan on going again this fall for the season closer and hope I run into something similar. 35 degree mornings were nice too, haha.
 

Tony Blundetto

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Anybody been out recently? I haven’t been down in about a month but I’m gonna get after it one more time this weekend before hunting season gets going.
 

dpnoll48

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I went out to a stream in SE Mn North of I 90 today and fished from 10:30 until 12:30. The sky was very overcast. The water was colored and 58 degrees. I caught a combination of brook and brown trout. If I told you how many I caught you wouldn't believe me. Let's just say it was easily my best day ever. Most of the browns were in the 9"-11" range. I caught every thing on a red neck pheasant tungsten nymph.23E34311-165D-4E79-A905-5CBC8FCD9D57_1_201_a.jpegAC50E89D-40F7-4D89-9EBC-3D01193FD2D5_1_201_a.jpeg
 
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dpnoll48

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And now, the rest of the story. Wednesday I went out to the same stream to check it out in bright sunshine. The air temp was 55 degrees and the water was at 50 degrees when I made my first cast. The only difference in my setup was that I went to a longer tippet. (54") When I finished at noon the water was at aprx 56/57 degrees and the air temp was at 70 degrees. The fishing was a little slower but I still landed 40+ fish with one being a brookie. Then today I went back to the same creek but started way upstream hoping to find more brook trout. Today almost everything I caught was in deeper holes. Once again I fished from 9 -noon but this time because they were deeper I mostly used a Pink Squirrel 2.0. I landed 22 browns and 4 brookies. I think the browns are pushing the brook trout farther upstream. I'll explore further upstream the next time.77F52AE5-5180-4D82-8517-EF2E845AA649_1_201_a.jpegFC1503B3-EF20-42B5-9F0B-C36043471C54_1_201_a.jpeg161B289A-A290-413F-AA46-32FD10AFBC42_1_201_a.jpeg67AB9EBF-9AC3-49BC-993D-B80470FA0AA8.jpeg0C3F8F51-6BC4-4F6E-8671-3DB4B7D5B483_1_201_a.jpeg
 

Unknownflyman

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Well Oct 1st was the season closer for many years, now we get two more innings. I hope to get out once more but I'm working day and night now.
 

dpnoll48

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Yesterday I went fishing with Bob Trevis (Fly Fishing for Trout in SE Mn). We have been trying to hook up for two years but life always interfered. Bob is 78 and a little gimpy so I picked a stream that had brookies, browns and fairly easy access. I had a great time chatting with Bob. The man is a walking encyclopedia on trout fishing in the Driftless. We had a very nice day and landed well over 30 trout with about half being very pretty brook trout. They were in full fall color and were open for business. As the day ended we were already discussing getting together next season.


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ontheflymn

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I met Bob almost 20 years ago and fished with him once - good guy.

I fished last weekend with a good friend, hit 7-8 streams in three days:

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I don't know if I'll get out much the rest of the fall. Low water and 30 plus guide trips has piqued my interest to archery season at this point.

If you love the Driftless, I have one request: pray for an absolute deluge of rain and snow before things get cooking in '22. We need it. All of it.
 

dpnoll48

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This report covers the 3rd, 6th, 7th and today in the MN Driftless. On the 3rd I went to a mile long easement that was hit hard by heavy wind three years ago. It has always held a nice mix of brook and brown trout. Well, it is now a hell hole. I did catch some nice fish but it was impassable in many areas. If I go back it probably won't be alone.
On the 6th I went out with my sister Barb and she landed 34 fish, a combo of brookies and browns. By the end of the session she was tired, hangry and had a blister on her casting hand.
On the 7th I went out with a friend who had knee surgery a while back so we went to a stream that had easy access and in stream wading. Nothing big but quite a few fish.
Today I went out with another of my fishing buddies and his wife. The number of fish we landed was uncountable with probably 60% being brookies. They really have their fall colors going.
Next week I'm going to meet some friends near Viroqua for a couple of days camping and fishing.
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Unknownflyman

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The original poster of the thread this year Itchmesir and I got out for our season closer and it was a good one despite the warm temperatures at 78 degrees air temperature I was almost over come by heat exhaustion at one point, and yet looking back at the end of 2019 it was snowing and cold.

Good to see Eric, he wanted to come north and fish which was great.

Because of my lack of time due to work and the hottest weather and drought in awhile literally every driftless fishing trip this year is on this thread. It isn't much, hoping to change that in 2022 and looking forward to seeing friends at the Great Waters Expo but anyway, I had to fish a dry fly, it didnt make any sense, there was two caddis spotted and spare blue wings and not much rising, But that's what I fished a elk hair caddis in a number of different ways.

Two casts in I had a refuser and another and another but hey they are at least interested with the lower gin clear water, not easy conditions at all and sun, water was cold with a feeder creek slowly dumping water and two inch smolts hanging out by the mouth in numbers in one area.

Then it happened, I waded up the boulders to the head of the white water and was fishing pocket water and structure all the way up to the head, I saw a cove out of the flow knee deep with an outside seam and a small log jam, I made the cast and a line flip and another and I saw the wake, not a small wake, if you've ever seen this I will describe this as water displacement in a small area, and I saw him in the gin clear water, coming up to my fly almost underneath it, and he moved my fly, This it IT! here he comes, look at the size of him! and he stopped coming up and made a turn back to the cover, a huge boil on the surface with his big magnificent tail and he was gone.

My knees shook in the current with my adrenaline level on peak output. "It was the finest fish I never caught."

At times I was disappointed, please understand I spent many years on this river and I knew it well, many beats like the back of my hand, I knew and enjoyed how to fish certain runs, which log, the perfect way I could cast and drift around a boulder to the lair of a nice brown trout. It was all gone, the floods moved rocks the size of Volkswagen bugs, the river is wider and shallower, while there is numbers of smaller wild trout, its a whole new river, at times was shocked and lamenting the past before the floods. Trying to remain positive and fish well but the areas were not the same.

If there is one thing for sure in life besides death, its change and in a way it was a fly fish down memory lane, which was pronounced this day and yet seems natural and bittersweet at times.

The fish weathered the storm the onslaught of heat and drought, floods and fishermen, they reproduce and swim today and that thought was enough, the perseverance of what is. I smiled to no one and basked in appreciation and gratitude of another season on the river.



Eric and the tree.




After a number of refusals, I finally presented a non hatching bug well enough for a small brown to take my fly. I caught and released a number of fish nothing over 12" today and I loved every second of it.



Sun coming up through the fog, looking down river to see what Eric is up to after landing my fish.



After a hike I slipped into the river in a old spot, and I see a couple fish rising one really nice brown and I get the take and see this little one and it
warmed my heart. Proof that one wild native still swims and what a stunner!





What Eric up to down there? fish?



I love white pines and the sound in the wind.



Deep river filled cave, something big lurks in there, nothing today, maybe next time.




See you again in January!
 
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FIB in WI

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Got out last weekend into early this week in SW WI. Sparse olives around, few taking off, few bobbing up and down over riffles in the evening. Pods of fish were not feeding recklessly, perhaps due to it not being a heavy hatch, but were rising to take duns. Observed them eating emergers high in the water column on a few occasions too. Decent rains came through so I got a chance to fish streamers in off color water. Ended up with my personal best Driftless brown at 18.5" which was great. Awesome take. Fish shot out of a undercut bank in a pool as I swung the streamer across the head. Flashed on it and then positioned to eat the whole streamer tail first.





















Two springs coming from the base of the trees







 

dpnoll48

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Well Darn. The trout season ended in Minnesota and Wisconsin Friday. I ended up at a Vrbo (https://www.vrbo.com/689740) near Westby, Wisc with my wife Mary on T, W and Th nights. I can heartily recommend it for scenery, location and nearby fishing. She had surgery on her right hand Monday at the Mayo Clinic so I didn't fish on Tuesday and only for an hour on Wednesday but two good friends, Zoan and Paul, showed up for breakfast Thursday morning. After a hearty breakfast of toast, sausage and eggs we headed out to a nearby stream. The fishing was decent as we all landed fish and I was very pleased with a small but gorgeous brookie caught in a feeder stream. After checking in on Mary we headed south to some private land where we usually catch both browns and brook trout. Zoan went with a hopper, I used a lightweight nymph and Paul dredged the bottom with a heavy nymph. Once again we all landed fish but for some reason less brookies than normal. On returning to the cars we chatted with John, the landowner, for quite awhile and then headed out. Good scenery, good friends and decent fishing made for a great finish to the season. Thursday evening Mary and I went into Viroqua for a great meal at the Driftless Cafe. (https://driftlesscafe.com/) From now until the beginning of January I'll probably head down to Iowa fairly frequently
 

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