We had another great trip to the driftless last week. While the weather was less than ideal, and clear water a little tougher to find, we still managed to catch an inordinate amount of fish. Bad weather, yet lots of fish has been a regular theme for us on these trips. One day I’d like to see just how good the fishing can be with “perfect conditions”!
As you can imagine, sub-surface was the name of the game. Top flies were Pink Squirrels, Bead Head PT’s, and Woolly Buggers. We hit a few fish on the surface on caddis and BWO’s, but not many. We did more exploring than usual on this trip, searching for clear unoccupied waters…which was tougher to find than the fish! We fished Grant, Iowa, Vernon and Richland Counties…finding willing fish in each of them. We caught dozens like this one:
The other one was most likely the largest trout I have ever caught. We stopped by <><>> Creek on Friday afternoon on our way back down from Vernon County. The stream was empty, and a little “murkier” than the other water we’d been fishing. Given this, I grabbed the spinning rod for the one and only time on the trip and followed behind my dad upstream who was fishing a dry/dropper rig.
We were 100-150 yards north of P%^&%$ %^&* Rd when the Brown Trout Rooster Tail I was working through a run was attacked by a cinder block. I could see the bright pink side almost immediately and hollered for my dad to come down by me and get his phone out for pictures. The fish didn’t fight aggressively, he more “leaned on” the line as I worked him downstream.
As he got close to me, I realized just how big he was. My dad was getting ready for the photo shoot when I raised the rod to bring him up over the net. That’s when the spinner popped out. I took one swipe at him as he laid there dazed for a brief moment…and missed. I was already calculating the replica costs in my head, and just like that, he was gone. I believe he was all of two feet long. If you’re able to get in there and put your hands on him sometime this summer, I’d love to see the photo.