I was in no hurry to get on a trout stream in the early morning last Sunday. I was crossing foggy streams in the morning instead of arriving on one, but I was hoping for a good caddis hatch. My experience has been the fishing doesn’t start to get good until you feel the warm sun on your face and it’s gang busters if the hatch materializes. On this day, the hatch emerged around 11AM. I tied on a simple olive ice dubbed caddis in size 16, and started putting up some serious numbers with my new 7′ 3wt fiberglass build. I can’t believe how long I went without a short fiberglass rod in the Driftless. I was able to make very accurate casts at short distances and was able to avoid low hanging obstacles that normally drive me mad. Not to mention even 6″ trout were putting a healthy bend in my rod. The fish were feeding at the heads of pools for the most part. In larger pools, there would also be fish rolling on nymphs in the middle of the pool, but I wasn’t really interested in them. Just to prove a point to myself, I tied on a caddis nymph in one of these pools and landed a few trout for good measure on my 4wt. You really couldn’t lose.
As I approached the end of the easement I was lucky enough to run into the land owner. We exchanged pleasantries and he gave me permission to keep fishing past the easement anytime I’m in the area. The day continued to unfold beautifully. There were some really nice trout in the 18″ – 20″ in range on his land and the fish were even more eager. The icing on the proverbial cake was landing a beautiful brookie for my last fish of the day. I didn’t stop fishing until around 4:30PM and things were still happening when I stopped. I had a banner day and put up around 40 trout and I probably caught the first 30 on the same fly before finally losing it. I lost it to the only large trout rise I had all day and my 5x was snapped before I even knew what happened. Probably should have had on 4x since I was dealing with eager fish. On the walk back I saw a few garter snakes as I walked the ditch, a hawk made a meal of what was probably a mouse, and a Tom Turkey crossed my path as I rounded the corner back to my car. The Driftless did not stop delivering the most quality spring creek fishing experience from the moment I parked to the moment I left. It was a perfect day in the Driftless.