Thursday, October 25, 2012

Defecting To The Iowan Driftless

Bear Creek, downstream from the convergence of South and North Bear Creek
If you're a Wisconsin resident, the inland trout season is over. Maybe you're reading blogs or looking back at pictures from last season. Or maybe you're just trying to drink the sorrow away. Put the bottle and gun down. There are options. Devil's Lake State Park for instance has nearly year-round trout fishing.

However, if lake fishing ain't your bag, spring creeks amongst the coulees can be had just one state to the west, in Iowa.  The IDNR website has some decent mapping tools though I picked up a great printed map at the General Store in Highlandville.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Backpack Fly Fishing Colorado in a High Altitude Nutshell. Part IV

Lizard-like, heating myself back to life in the sun.
I woke up to my 4th day in the Flat Tops in the middle of the night freezing. This would be the norm most nights especially with a leaky sleeping pad. When the sky began to show light, I hiked into the valley to try and find a place to stand in the sunlight as soon as it became available. In a desperate move last night, I tried to wear some damp clothing, bad idea. Now I needed the sun.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thus Concludes The 2012 Wisconsin Inland Trout Season

Early trout. Note the dirty fingers and spinning rod
The 2012 season has just ended. My first full season of fly fishing for trout in the Driftless Area. I started around May of '11, dunking worms with spinning gear and slowing being introduced to this beautiful area by friends. I think the first trout I pulled out of the Driftless was from a canoe on the Kickapoo River with my friend Mike, a couple of years before that.

In June of '11, I purchased a fly rod and waders. On June 4th, I caught my first trout on a fly (a 10" brown trout from Camp Creek on a prince nymph). Fishing with the fly amplified my interest in fishing tenfold. Eventually, 2nd and 3rd rods were acquired, waders were replaced. Money got dumped into flies, leaders and all of the other gadgets and bobbles that would get stuffed into my chest pack, lost, broken and wedged into the crevices of my car.

First trout on a fly
My obsession snowballed such that by the time the 2012 season rolled around, I was as excited as a kid with a Nintendo 64 to start fishing again. Unlike in the past, the catch and release season would be enjoyed even without eating delicious trout. I managed to get out almost every weekend this season and often 2 to 3 times a week. Being only my second season, its not surprising that I broke many of my personal records. The most fish caught (didn't count but I'm sure of it), the biggest fish caught (19"), first tiger trout and the most time spent on the water. I fished several new streams this year but continue to feel overwhelmed by the many miles of streams and sections of streams left untouched. This is a good thing. There are streams I found last season that were excellent, but not returned to simply because I was too busy with closer streams. It's amazing to me that I've lived as long as I've had on the border of the Driftless Area but only just started exploring it within the last two years!