May 12, 2018

The Best Brook Trout Stream In The Driftless



It was nothing to catch 80-100 brook trout in half a day.  They were not all guppies either.




upstream....I could not move my feet and catch 30 here






Fast forward a dozen years the same hole as top photo.  The stream has warmed 4 degrees and browns have moved in.


The stream is pastured heavily these days and you can't buy 10 brookies in a day. No gill lice as of yet.

May 11, 2018

An Unwritten Story


I have heard it hundreds of times in my life.  That question that so many ask and expect a simple response.  There is no answer for the non-believers.  I have tried to explain it so many times and the answer never quite satisfies the inquisitive. 

I guess you just need to have grown up on the streams of southwestern Wisconsin to understand.  You need to have lost numerous giant trout to understand.  You need to have landed many giant trout to understand.

It is not just one thing.  It is a combination of nature, anticipation, adrenalin, and curiosity. Some parts of it resemble a chess match.  The reading of the water and trying to guess where that next giant might be hiding..

The seasons change and the puzzle differs due to the water temperatures and where he might be laying.  There are the trees and bushes to hinder your casting.  If it was easy you would not be so infatuated with it.

The puzzle changes daily with the wind, rain and many other factors.  The blind potential of what lies beneath in every cast is your lure to these beautiful places. Those beautiful places that take your breath away are the reason.

If you haven't figured out the question by now the explanation will not sink in. The question is:  "Why do you trout fish?"  Then there is typically the follow up question of:  "What is so special about it?"

There are no deadlines.  Time is not a factor. You can stop and listen to the birds and the wind.  There are no horns honking and no internet.

When I am on stream I am constantly looking upstream and evaluating the next 10-20 yards of stream.  There are special days when you round a bend and the music starts to play in your head and you become giddy like that 10 year old version of you did in the long ago past.  You are that 10 year old again.


The unwritten story that is trout fishing is the answer to the question.

May 10, 2018

Water quality celebration

Water quality celebration


The group’s first event will take place on Saturday, June 2 at Bruce Ristow’s farm, 50324 County Road B, in rural Soldiers Grove. The farmers of the Tainter Creek Watershed are proud of the watershed’s excellent quality, which has allowed it to be designated as a Class One trout stream since 2003. The farmers invite the general public to a Celebration of Tainter Creek’s Water Quality.

Saturday at 9 AM - 2 PM


The event is designed to coincide with the DNR’s ‘Free Fishing Day,’ which is a day when no fishing license or trout stamp are required in order to fish.


There will be multiple education stations and fishing demonstrations for participants to enjoy, as well as food and beverages. Participants will be able to learn about the fish of Tainter Creek from Wisconsin DNR Fish Biologist Kirk Olson. There will be several fish shocking events, which will allow participants to see all of the different fish that are present in the stretch of water at the event site.


Insects from the creek will be discussed by DNR Ecologist Mike Miller and Dr. Jason Freund of UW-La Crosse. Fly and spin rods will be available, and casting lessons will be provided by members the Coulee Region Trout Unlimited and by noted local outdoor author Jay Ford Thurston. There will be casting games and fly-tying for kids as well.


The Mississippi Valley Conservancy will be on hand to discuss land protection and restoration efforts across the region, and TUDARE will discuss their work to protect the coldwater watersheds in the Driftless Region, and their plans for work in the summer of 2018 in the Tainter Creek Watershed. Valley Stewardship Network will explain and demonstrate their citizen water monitoring program and techniques. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will also provide a rainfall simulator, which demonstrates what happens with soil and runoff during small, moderate and catastrophic rain events.


Tainter Creek runs through Ristow’s property, and the Ristows have been longtime participants with Valley Stewardship’s ‘Water Action Volunteer’ program, which conducts water quality sampling in the Driftless Region. Ristow has also been active in supporting the activities of Trout Unlimited Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TUDARE) activities in the watershed.




Bruce Ristow



To RSVP for the event, contact Sarah McDowell with the Vernon County Land Conservation Department at 608-637-5480.


Reporter - Crawford County Independent indreporter@mwt.net

May 06, 2018

Up Before The Birds

Been up for an hour.  Not a clue why.  Some photos for a Sunday morning before the butt crack of dawn.