My New Fly Shop: The Driftless Angler

One of the exciting things about moving to any new area, is getting to know your local waters. I’m fortunate to have moved to central portion of the driftless area. What is even better, is that I am lucky enough to have a fly shop in my backyard. Not literally in my backyard, but about 30 to 40 minutes away.

The Driftless Angler is a shop owned by a husband and wife duo who not only run the shop, but take turns guiding anglers throughout the region. In the three counties that surround the fly shop, there are over 250 miles of trout streams to explore. As a newbie to the Wisconsin Driftless Area, any help I can get it I’ll take.

The shop is located in Viroqua, Wisconsin. A very cute, small, granola, organic farming town. The shop itself is also very well done. They have a great selection of clothing and equipment. They have a wall full of flies and a women’s flyfishing section which I’ve never seen rivaled. 
I’m very thankful for the regularly updated online and on the wall fishing reports.
And I must say that I’m a little jealous that they have to Derek DeYoung paintings adorning their walls. 
One of the popular nymph patterns here in the driftless area is the pink squirrel. It seems this has become the mascot of the shop.
I first learned about the Driftless Angler Fly Shop through the movie “Heart of the Driftless” which I believe made an appearance on the fly fishing film festival. 

So all in all, it is great to have a neat shop nearby that I can lean on for intel and good equipment when needed. 

If you ever are driving through western Wisconsin, try and add this to your list of places to stop. 

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Fly Fishing British Columbia and Alberta

Most of the time, going fishing means the morning on the water or possibly a day trip. Either way, it is usually a short affair fit between other activities and obligations. Occasionally, we have the opportunity to do something a little bigger. Travel little further. Explore new territory.

My four years in Virginia Led to a lot of shotgun day trips with my buddy Kevin who goes by the name coastal explorer and has the blog sweeetandsalt.blogspot.com 

For a while we have been talking about doing a bigger trip. And if we’re going to do something big, we want to be really big.
After lots of planning and a few changes here there, we decided on five days of fishing in the Kootenays in British Columbia and southwest Alberta. 

The native fish in this area are whitefish, westslope cutthroat and bull trout. Some streams hold brookies and others bug rainbows (like the crowsnest but it was blown out while we were there). 

These are big bug fisheries. Golden stones, large mayflies, and frequent hatches. That’s what feeds these big fish.

There are lots of great fly shops and guide shop options throughout the region.  Fernie has two guide shops (we used Elk river guide company – our guide Darcy was great). There are also a couple nice shops with different feels in Alberta. The Coleman fly shop and cafe is a nice place to get coffee and breakfast before hitting the stream. 
Oh, and if you are looking for a place to stay in Cranbrook where you can get a cozy room and awesome breakfasts, the Singing Pines Inn was phenomenal. It is basically a bed and breakfast which is a treat when on a trip where you are doing lots of walk and wading.

This was one of those trips that goes down in the books. Camping at the Fernie provincial park, getting up early for coffee and breakfast, all day on the stream, a late night meal ( hit up The Curry Bowl!!) then back to the tent. Over and over. It is fun when you get into a new rhythm and wake expecting to be on the stream. By the last day or so, we transitioned to that feeling. 

I returned refreshed and longing to see my family but thankful for a great trip. 
Enjoy the smattering of photos below. 
Expect a video in the following weeks!

Ha. The JOY on Kevin’s face in almost every pic does great justice to show how much fun we had. 

Bound for Fernie

Today I’m heading to British Columbia for a week of fishing! This is sure to be amazing. My Virginia buddy Kevin and I are flying in to Spokane and then driving north. Cutties, Bulls, and Bows await. I’ve scrambled to tie some stones, caddis and beetles. I’ll buy the PMDs and anything else specific that seems to be biting. If I can, I’ll share photos along the way. 

After a week at the cabin with my son, I’ll be missing him but technology is on our side with plenty of opportunity to FaceTime or call.