Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

In order to pay for fly fishing, I play bass in a band called The Soapbox Project. Sadly, this means I can't fish every moment of my free time and I could only dedicate Sunday and Monday to Driftless exploration. The band's fun though, so it's a pretty good situation overall.

I did my best to rise from sleeping after two days of shows and crashing Sunday morning at 4:00ish AM. I'm proud to report that I made it to Brown Beard's house not forgetting anything except the GoPro camera (sorry, no hot POV action in this post). We made it to our first stop, Melancthon Creek, before noon, first trying a bridge that had previously provided us some good trout. The heat and humidity was stifling. Unsurprisingly, the fishing was slow in the middle of the day. We caught 1 trout at the bridge and worked our way downstream to some rock walls where I'd lost a nice trout on a previous trip. The trout would not reappear for us and few others did.

Melancthon Creek
Melancthon
Melancthon. Lovely place.
Feeling beat down by the heat we went to secure our campsite near Viroqua. The sun needed to back off before we'd venture out again.

During the last couple of hours of daylight, we parked at a bridge on Spring Coulee Creek. We would hook into a few more fish here though nothing noteworthy. I used a large attractor fly with a pink squirrel dropper. Only the wet fly would catch any fish for either of us.

We went back to camp and got up the next morning at about 5 to get on Rullands Coulee Creek early. The temperature was much more comfortable at this time in the morning. We worked our way upstream catching a small brown trout here and there until reaching a point were the creek exited a wooded area. It's a hole I've fished before with success and this time it allowed me the best trout of the weekend, a 14 or 15 inch brown. Probably 14. Anyway it was a joy and a relief to catch a nice fish at that moment and a very good looking fish. It took the pink squirrel.
Fish of the weekend
Upstream, the creek is wooded and guarded by a stiff barbwire fence with a little electrical wire added in for style. Brown Beard got shocked a couple of times (netting conducts electricity it seems) but we made it through. It was still morning and fog still hung in this dimly lit wooded area.

Into the trees
It took some work getting through parts, but some pools were there and I caught a few fish including a couple of nice looking brookies, again on the pink squirrel dropper.

Woods brookie

Woods brown
We continued to venture into the woods, passing a couple of corn fields on alternating sides of the water, eventually arriving at what looked like a backyard. This part of the creek featured water plunging through a narrow concrete slot into a deep looking pool. Brown flung a bugger through it and I tried a clouser minnow for a few casts before losing it to a snag. We found the road after that and broke camp.
Brown Beard at the end of the line
Bizarre cult graffiti made from sacrificed plants found in the picnic shelter at the campground
While eating lunch at the campground, it started to rain which continued intermittently for the rest of the day. We stopped at Willow Creek on the way home and got rained on while fishing its murky labyrinthine waters. In the course of a couple of hours, I caught two 7-8" browns about 1 hour from each other. Not a spectacular way to end the weekend, but I'll take 2 puny trout over getting skunked any day.
Willow Creek. You're either in it or on the bank.

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