Saturday, April 6, 2013

My First Driftless Trip

I made my way to a couple of driftless streams on Wisconsin's western edge today.  My first stop was Mills Creek.  It was cold and windy, and the water was rather clouded.  I looked around and cast to some likely cover, but no results.

Back in the car to drive twelve or so more miles to Reads Creek.  I pulled off the road, assembled my rod, and walked down from the overpass to the bluest, clearest water I have ever seen, and watch fifty or so trout scatter in every direction.  I couldn't believe the number of fish in this stream!  I found a pool just downstream of the bridge that had a lot of trout in it, and one trout that looked to be between 15-18 inches.  I spent too much time trying to catch that Boss Fight of a fish, and he eventually took off.

I went downstream a little more, there was a tree down in the creek with a pool behind it, full of trout that wouldn't bite a thing.

Back up to the bridge, I made a couple casts with a wet fly, and finally had a hit.  A beautiful brook trout fell for it.

Now I'm feeling confident.  After I landed the brook trout, I had hit after hit, with every trout shaking the hook.  I ventured upstream a little more.  The creek came tumbling over some rapids, and in the pool below, trout were rising and dimpling the surface.  I couldn't see the bugs, I assume they were tiny little midges.  I really wanted to try out one of my hand tied Elk Hair Caddis though.  I chose the best looking one from my box, greased it up, and cast one of the longest, most perfect casts of my life.  The fly landed so gracefully upstream.  I slowly stripped the line back and let the fly drift for what seemed like five minutes, and then, the rise came.  I was dumbfounded, I almost forgot what to do, it had been so long since I caught a trout on a dry.  Eventually, I remembered to set the hook and reel in the fish.  A decent sized brown took the Caddis.

After that, I had many more rises to the caddis, but missed each one of them.  I could have fished for hours and never tired, but I had a long drive ahead of me.  I only fished about a thousand feet of the stream.  Next time I'll know long perfect casts are what these fish rise to more than any particular pattern.  Thanks, Damien for sharing these locations with me, I can't wait to get back.

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