Driftless Trout Anglers

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badger3101  
#1 Posted : Friday, March 15, 2019 7:51:57 PM(UTC)
badger3101
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Hey Guys,

I have a few elementary questions for you. My only experience chasing trout is wet wading tiny creeks as a youngster around my hometown of Eau Claire. I live in Dane county now and intend to explore as many trout creeks as I'm able to this year. I plan to primarily use a fly rod, but am not opposed to spinning gear either. My questions for you revolve around how to fish the water in the surrounding area. Do most of you fish from the creek banks? Do you wet wade the entire length of stream that your fishing? Some combination of the two? Do you primarily seek out holes, or fish the water in between holes?

I'm also curious about which direction you chose to fish. I've always wet waded/fished upstream, but not sure if that strategy changes when fly fishing, or if you have experienced success working downstream?

I know these are super basic, but hoping you can chime in and help out a beginner. I know there's no substitute for time on the water and hope to get out as much as I can this year; just curious to hear how you approach your time on the water.

Tight lines.
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vmthtr in Green Bay  
#2 Posted : Friday, March 15, 2019 9:37:33 PM(UTC)
vmthtr in Green Bay
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I always fish upstream. Most people I know do also. I fish a combo of both bank and stream, but mostly in the stream. I also mostly fly fish.
Gurth  
#3 Posted : Friday, March 15, 2019 10:23:54 PM(UTC)
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All of the above. You'll see when you get out there more, but you have to adapt to the situation.

Most people fish upstream but there are times when it's a good idea to turn around.

This would be a really good read for you:


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“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
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stan b on 3/17/2019(UTC)
William Schlafer  
#4 Posted : Friday, March 15, 2019 11:22:38 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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For small streams, I primarily fish from the banks. It's pretty easy in a small creek to spook Trout to your presence. There are times when wading will put you in a better position to make your cast, but I generally stay out of the water as much as possible.

Same theory goes for which direction to fish. Fishing upstream generally puts you behind a Trouts field of view and minimizes your presence. You can methodically work your casts from the bottom of holding spots towards the top. The prime feeding position for big Trout are typically at the top of pool or run. If you fish downstream you're fully exposing yourself to their field of view. Of course, if the water has stain, it's much easier to mask your approach. But on a sunny day with clear water, you'll need every advantage to keep from spooking the fish.

Also, gauge your approach based on the suns position. On clear water, Trout are easily spooked by moving shadows on the water. They can detect this from many feet away, even when it's outside their field of view. Your profile against a bright sky while standing on a bank is sure to cause Trout to bolt. Keep low, use cover (like brush, rocks and weeds) to shield yourself and be aware of where your shadows are landing.

Bigger streams and rivers allow for much more variance to your approach. It's also much easier to blend into the surroundings. On small streams you have to be more tactical and cover the water that's in front of you. Fish every inch of water on a small stream. There's fewer deep holes for Trout to hide in and they will often take up residency in some unlikely looking places due to competition for space.

And I'll second that book Gurth recommended. There's also some videos on the net that are helpful.


Good luck!
-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
weiliwen  
#5 Posted : Saturday, March 16, 2019 3:16:32 PM(UTC)
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If possible I stay out of the stream at all times. Often, the only time I'll be in a stream is when I'm crossing it because of some obstruction on the side I'm on, or perhaps to be on the inside of a bend. Driftless streams are just not so big that you need to wade in to get a fly across the stream; you might need to step into the water to get the right angle on a lie, but that's about it.

I work upstream; If the stream is wide enough that I didn't already scare the bejeezus out of fish I've passed on the way up, I'll swing wets or soft hackles on the way downstream. If it is a smaller stream, I'll still fish it, but use a different method - if I went up stream using dries, I'll nymph on the way down, or more precisely, put a nymph in places I didn't on the way up - marginal water, deeper holes that I might have missed or fished too high on the way up. On those smaller streams, my luck going downstream is seldom as good as on the way upstream, but I can usually pick up some fish.

Stealth is, I have come to understand with experience, a big deal on Driftless streams. They are usually slowly meandering, and clear as well. Keeping you, your shadow, and even your rod out of the fish's sight is a good idea. I tend to dress in drab, camouflage-y clothes these days, and try to keep flashy stuff (chrome zingers Orvis H3 rods) hidden. I stop short of actually wearing camouflage; I just don't like it.
Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
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William Schlafer on 3/16/2019(UTC)
William Schlafer  
#6 Posted : Saturday, March 16, 2019 4:38:58 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Originally Posted by: weiliwen Go to Quoted Post


Stealth is, I have come to understand with experience, a big deal on Driftless streams. They are usually slowly meandering, and clear as well. Keeping you, your shadow, and even your rod out of the fish's sight is a good idea. I tend to dress in drab, camouflage-y clothes these days, and try to keep flashy stuff (chrome zingers Orvis H3 rods) hidden.



Great point.

I can't find it now, but there used to be a video out there that showed what a Trout might see from underwater. Little things like a shiny reflective button on your shirt is enough to send Trout flying for cover. Many predators eyes are reflective and Trout have evolved to react quickly to bright shiny eyes looking down on them. If you don't believe me, just take something reflective with you the next time you fish and try flashing some light towards a pool of fish, and watch what happens.

Clothing colors may be less important as Trout mostly see in contrasts. But I always wear muted colors that help me blend into the vegetation and background around the stream. I would leave the hot pink, bright green, optic yellow stuff you see in those fishing catalogs at home, mostly cause I think it just looks stupid.

RollEyes


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
billybigbilly  
#7 Posted : Sunday, March 17, 2019 10:50:11 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: William Schlafer Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: weiliwen Go to Quoted Post


Stealth is, I have come to understand with experience, a big deal on Driftless streams. They are usually slowly meandering, and clear as well. Keeping you, your shadow, and even your rod out of the fish's sight is a good idea. I tend to dress in drab, camouflage-y clothes these days, and try to keep flashy stuff (chrome zingers Orvis H3 rods) hidden.



Great point.

I can't find it now, but there used to be a video out there that showed what a Trout might see from underwater. Little things like a shiny reflective button on your shirt is enough to send Trout flying for cover. Many predators eyes are reflective and Trout have evolved to react quickly to bright shiny eyes looking down on them. If you don't believe me, just take something reflective with you the next time you fish and try flashing some light towards a pool of fish, and watch what happens.

Clothing colors may be less important as Trout mostly see in contrasts. But I always wear muted colors that help me blend into the vegetation and background around the stream. I would leave the hot pink, bright green, optic yellow stuff you see in those fishing catalogs at home, mostly cause I think it just looks stupid.

RollEyes


-Bill

Here is a nice video about how trout see underwater, there are three parts buy it is an interesting watch and has lots of good info.

Edited by user Tuesday, March 19, 2019 8:18:09 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

NBrevitz  
#8 Posted : Sunday, March 17, 2019 11:57:16 PM(UTC)
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I spin fish and generally fish from bridge to bridge through non-eased sections, so I stay in the water, but if I’m fishing eased properties and have a fly rod in my hand, I will quietly walk to where I’m just left or right of the head of a pool or run, then methodically swing a nymph through it. It’s very similar to drifting for Salmon or Steelhead if you’ve never done that before.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
badger3101  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, March 19, 2019 5:46:17 PM(UTC)
badger3101
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Joined: 3/7/2019(UTC)
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Location: Fitchburg

Thanks, everyone! Really helpful information. Gurth - appreciate the book recommendation, I'll definitely check it out. I'm excited to put all of this advice to use.
madguy30  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, March 19, 2019 11:29:20 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: billybigbilly Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: William Schlafer Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: weiliwen Go to Quoted Post


Stealth is, I have come to understand with experience, a big deal on Driftless streams. They are usually slowly meandering, and clear as well. Keeping you, your shadow, and even your rod out of the fish's sight is a good idea. I tend to dress in drab, camouflage-y clothes these days, and try to keep flashy stuff (chrome zingers Orvis H3 rods) hidden.



Great point.

I can't find it now, but there used to be a video out there that showed what a Trout might see from underwater. Little things like a shiny reflective button on your shirt is enough to send Trout flying for cover. Many predators eyes are reflective and Trout have evolved to react quickly to bright shiny eyes looking down on them. If you don't believe me, just take something reflective with you the next time you fish and try flashing some light towards a pool of fish, and watch what happens.

Clothing colors may be less important as Trout mostly see in contrasts. But I always wear muted colors that help me blend into the vegetation and background around the stream. I would leave the hot pink, bright green, optic yellow stuff you see in those fishing catalogs at home, mostly cause I think it just looks stupid.

RollEyes


-Bill

Here is a nice video about how trout see underwater, there are three parts buy it is an interesting watch and has lots of good info.



That's a very cool video. Could see random insects coming through at times. Interesting.
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