July 19, 2018

Hidden Gem

This morning before the sun breached the hills of Southern Wisconsin I was in my happy place.  I was on a driftless trout stream.  I invited my friend Sam Delventhal to come with me.

This time of year it is typically too hot to fish for trout.  Hot equals too warm of outdoor temperatures which equates to too warm of stream temperatures. Too warm of water does not have enough dissolved oxygen in it for a trout to properly revive after a prolonged battle when released.

The blast furnace weather broke two days ago.  Last night the air temperature was sixty-two degrees as a high.  This meant the streams cooled down.  I had not trout fished in three weeks and was going through withdrawals.

The first thing I did on stream this morning was take the stream temps.  If they are anywhere near seventy degrees you should not chase trout.  The stream we were fishing was about sixty degrees. This gave us the green light to fish.

I have caught many big trout in my over half of century of traipsing through the hills and valleys in search of the next trout.  These days I am more selective of when and where I go.  My wife likes me to take another angler with me due to my knee problems and back.  Sam was the obvious pick.  He is a like minded angler and is quite good at trout fishing.

Before I went this morning I did some reconnaissance .  This time of year the weeds are over your head in some places.  Mixing fishing and aerobics is not my idea of fun.  I needed an area that was somewhat easy walking.

I looked through my log books and a place jumped out at me from years past for this time of the year.  The notation in the corner of the page said: "Cows not bulls in pasture. Well manicured."

I drove to the farmer's house yesterday and reacquired permission and asked about bulls and there were none.  The farmer still had his black lab from many years ago when I asked the first time.  The lab had a grey muzzle and was a little wider than I remembered. 

 The farmer was astounded I remembered his old girl's name.  "Snickers" still loved petting and riding with her master on his four wheeled mule everywhere.  I like asking landowners if they wanted a couple trout if we had any luck.  The husband and wife put in an order for two if we caught any.

The farmer's wife told me the cows might comes to see what I was doing.  They were all bottle fed as calves and were very friendly.  They might even need a little petting.

Lots of folks scratch their heads when I talk about my love for trout fishing.  Trout fishing is the total package for me.  I can be in nature having fun.  At times I enjoy watching my fishing partner catch trout more than catching them myself..

I have become a photo nut over the years.  I typically take a few glory shots of the trout and anglers and stream photos with the angler fishing.  This morning was very enjoyable.  Between Sam and I we caught 30 nice trout.  The average sizes were way above average.

As we started this morning the sun peered over the Ocooch Mountains and the sunlight on the stream as Sam fished was breathtaking.  I snapped a couple photos of the perfect morning.  We had a ball and only fished for 3 hours.  We dropped off two trout to the landowners as we left.  Sam even cleaned them for the couple.  We thanked them for allowing us to fish.  I gave Snickers a couple pets and we were on our way.

When I get home I usually review my photos and do a log entry.  My photo I took of the sunrise breaking over the hills was quite a disappointment.  I tried tweaking the photo.  No luck.  I made the photo black and white with a vignette frame and low and below the hidden gem popped out at me.  The sun breaking the hills was just amazing.  It captured exactly why I love trout fishing.


  1. Len
    What a wonderful post, I hope to fish the Driftless one day before I hand up the fly rod. Beautiful photos, what type camera do you use? Thanks for sharing

  2. an Olympus point and shoot..TF2