Monday, June 13, 2011

dane county trout report

Summer is quickly locking a lot of the streams up tight with a neck high wall of weeds and brush making access hard (but not impossible). As the temperatures rise, my enthusiasm for crawling through the brush diminishes. The long drive trout excursions will be saved for some of the milder, cooler, or overcast days. With the storms that rolled through end of last week, we dropped almost twenty degrees. They sure left a lot of the water stained and muddy but with the cooler temps I decided to check out some upstream holes and headwater areas of a couple Dane county streams.

a naturally reproducing dane county trout stream
Conditions were worse then I expected (muddy) when I first arrived but the marsh land did its job and filtered the rain water quickly. An hour and a half later, there was just a light stain on the water. No fish were rising and no hatches seemed to be coming off so I opted for a nymph. A pink squirrel seemed a logical choice for the cloudy water and went to work nymphing some pools and lunker structures. As the time passed, the fishing seemed to get better. I took a dozen fish between 8:00am and 10:00am starting with the pink squirrel and as conditions improved switching to grey scuds and a hares ear with a big brown marabou tail. After a lull in the action, I decided to try to find some hatches coming off on a nearby stream. On the way out I bumped into a nice angler who was visiting from Minnesota. He was pleasant and was happy to exchange some information about his day. I think he must have been visiting somebody he knew cause he drove past some of the best water in the state to get here.

a hares ear brown trout
a naturally reproducing wisconsin brown trout
The head waters were flowing clear at the second creek and found fish rising on my third stop. This section of water was shallower then most of the pool water I look for but the slurps and splashes were a sure sign that fish were hiding down under the weeds. I missed 2 strikes and had a couple nice fish turn back on my elk hair caddis. Switched to a parachute adams which got even less attention then the caddis? Fished this pool till I got the call. Homeward bound

I’ve been fishing stream trout for just 13 months now and have made some dramatic improvements this summer over last. My trips have been more consistent when it comes to catching fish and have done a whole lot more exploring since the beginning. I’ve mastered about a dozen basic nymph patterns, a few necessary streamers, and finally started to dive into the overwhelming world of dry flies. So far this year I have yet to land a fish on a store bought fly. I haven’t taken any really big fish since beginning my endeavor into the world of trout but since the addition of a three weight rod even landing a twelve inch fish feels like a monster. The fight on my ultra light fly rod is where its at and I can ask for nothing more. If size really was what I considered important I would be fishing the down stream areas with Damien who been throwing jerk baits and spinners and streamers. He has kicked ass catching some big browns down low. As the temps start to push consistently into the 80’s and 90’s and water temps start to rise into the 70’s I’m sure a lot of those fish will be forced up into the spring fed tributaries. Fly fishing for Wisconsin trout has got me and I'm forever in search of the next perfect drift.


  1. Love the challenge of small stream fishing. Hope to get up to the driftless region soon maybe this fall or next spring.

  2. Glad to hear you were still able to find some fish in this jungle up here in Wisconsin. It seems like the tall weeds popped up over night. Thank goodness the heat subsided for now. Nice looking browns. Tight Lines.

  3. That is an awesome report and great summary of where you stand with fishing. It's reports like this that makes fly fishing so fun. I'm a fan of light rods as well, and my mental debate about the longer rod(10') vs. shorter rod (6') is always on going. This year the Greys 10' 3wt has become my go to rod for most situations. It's an all around good rod that is also great for nymphing.

    Thanks for a great report.

  4. Fly Waters Edge- The driftless is really something out of this world!

    Trout Magee- It's funny, I see some other guys in Wisconsin fishing in some areas with not much "jungle". I think I need to follow them around some!

    Gone Fishin- My new 3 weight rod has brought stream trout fishing to the top of my favorites list. The 5 weight loomis I was using before was over kill. I think that the 5 weight has now been made into the carp or big river trout rod?