Driftless Trout Anglers

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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Friday, August 16, 2019 1:59:12 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
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Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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At 4:30AM this morning the sun was just starting to light the sky in the east. To the west a large, orange Sturgeon Moon lit my way towards the fishing grounds beyond Madison. My crappy point and shoot camera couldn’t capture a decent shot, so I downloaded this image off the net to give you an idea what it looked like. It was nice to watch this for part of the trip before it slipped below the horizon.
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I arrived at my stream happy to find it with clearer water for a change. My last three visits found it high, muddy and unfishable. Today the water had a perfect stain. There was little wind and comfortable air temps in the upper 60s to mid 70s. Heavy fog hung in the valleys helped keep it cool until the sun could burn its way though.
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I picked up a couple modest Browns with the ol reliable Pink Squirrel while I waited for the fog to burn off and the hoppers to hit the water in enough number to get the Trout looking up.
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Saw dozens of these massive webs with scary looking yellow spiders the size of a golf ball! Not sure what they are or if they bite or not, but I made a point to steer well clear of them.
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Around 10:00AM the hopper switch turned on and Trout started hammering anything that hit the water with a splat.
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I tie my hoppers in size 10 & 12 with wide gap heavy scud hooks. Purple foam bellies have out-fished any other color 2-1 for the last two seasons, for some reason. Same story with Hippie Stompers. Purple has turned into my go-to color.
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3X tippet and leaders along with the heavy wire hook allows you to rip the fly out of the weeds without fear of snapping the line. The heavy hook helps ensure that the fly will land right side up on the water. I keep my leader and tippet short (7 feet or less) to provide for better casting accuracy and control. Most casts in these conditions are short point blank affairs slapping the bug down through the overhanging grass and weeds, so a long leader and tippet is not needed. Big advantage of the high floating hopper is that you can fish over the top of and around snag filled water that you can't fish with sub-surface flies.

Prime hopper water. Pulled four from the weed edge on the right. The Trout huddle under the overhanging grass and dart out to grab the hopper as it hits the water. Making the hopper land with a splat arouses the larger Trout and brings aggressive splashy strikes.
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A wise man once said: “Trout relate to timber”. And he is correct. This fat bad boy came out from under a sunken tree branch along the bank. 17 inches on the nose. Fortunately his first run after feeling the hook was downstream into deeper water, instead of back under the tree branch. The heavier leader and tippet make it easier to dictate the fight and pull bigger fish away from potential hazards.
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Brookies came to the party too. Nothing real big, but so much fun to catch. Not many misses or refusals today. The strikes often come within moments of the hopper hitting the water. Several times I had more than one Brookie try to take the fly at once. So cool.
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Set a personal best record today with six Trout caught on six consecutive casts. Of course, no one there to witness it, but still pretty neat. I love hopper fishing!

Just a perfect weather day. On the walk out I decided to sit down under a shade tree and just soak it in for awhile. So peaceful here in farm country compared to the noise and hassle of the city.
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The hopper bite should continue right through the end of the season. Looking forward to my next outing.



-Bill

Edited by user Friday, August 16, 2019 2:03:19 AM(UTC)  | Reason: damned typos!

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
thanks 2 users thanked William Schlafer for this useful post.
Gurth on 8/16/2019(UTC), mmalyuk on 8/18/2019(UTC)
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Smis  
#2 Posted : Friday, August 16, 2019 11:29:35 AM(UTC)
Smis
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Nice report! Got me excited to get into some quality hopper fishing next week.

- Steve
Gurth  
#3 Posted : Friday, August 16, 2019 11:39:58 AM(UTC)
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I believe that I'm fishing with/guiding the wife tomorrow and likely on those two streams.

Maybe I'll give the Tenkara a shot with a hopper - I have a few.

It's high time I got my first trout on a fly.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
weiliwen  
#4 Posted : Friday, August 16, 2019 3:00:52 PM(UTC)
weiliwen
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin during the week and Lincolnshire, Illinois on weekends.

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Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
Gurth  
#5 Posted : Friday, August 16, 2019 3:04:48 PM(UTC)
Gurth
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Ha...

I already have a tenkara and 2 5wt fly rods that sit idle.


Really think that I might take the tenkara out tomorrow.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
SquareEgg  
#6 Posted : Friday, August 16, 2019 8:02:47 PM(UTC)
SquareEgg
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This post has me jonesin' real bad. Now currently at work browsing maps and contemplating a Monday "sick" day... at the very least I think a Sunday day trip will be in order.

KruddyTFB  
#7 Posted : Monday, August 19, 2019 4:41:59 AM(UTC)
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Beautiful! By the way, those are black and yellow garden spiders. Very intimidating, but completely harmless. A bite from one of them is less painful than a sting from a yellow jacket.
thanks 1 user thanked KruddyTFB for this useful post.
Pete on 8/20/2019(UTC)
Pete  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, August 20, 2019 2:40:18 PM(UTC)
Pete
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Originally Posted by: KruddyTFB Go to Quoted Post
Beautiful! By the way, those are black and yellow garden spiders. Very intimidating, but completely harmless. A bite from one of them is less painful than a sting from a yellow jacket.



I've seen a boatload of those spiders over the years in the Driftless, but never knew what they were. Thanks.
KruddyTFB  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, August 20, 2019 4:37:01 PM(UTC)
KruddyTFB
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Originally Posted by: Pete Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: KruddyTFB Go to Quoted Post
Beautiful! By the way, those are black and yellow garden spiders. Very intimidating, but completely harmless. A bite from one of them is less painful than a sting from a yellow jacket.



I've seen a boatload of those spiders over the years in the Driftless, but never knew what they were. Thanks.


Growing up, I spent many a summer afternoon picking wild dewberries, blackberries, and black raspberries on my grandparents land. I came across more of those spiders than I could count, often putting my hand right through their web. They will bite, if provoked, and the bite is painful, but not debilitating. In my experience, after a few minutes it just felt like a larger mosquito bite.
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