Winter trout season in Wisconsin

Winter trout season in the driftless area is always an exciting experience for me. It’s so much different than the warmer weather seasons. The water can be crystal clear and the streams can be wide-open or the next day you can have ice shelves covering long stretches of water making casting and exercise in Precision and accuracy.

And the honest truth is that getting out fishing again after a break reminds me that I’m really not that great of a flyfisherman. I’ve read enough blogs and fished in enough different locations that I’ve collected some skills that make me at least moderate I would say. However, when it comes right down to it, my nymphing seems to be mediocre at best and I often find myself spoking pools and I never seem to land as many fish as those around me.

Maybe it is social media making the appearance that everybody else is catching bigger fish more fish than me. Maybe it really is true, I just don’t catch as much as everyone else. I would like to think I’m a knowledgeable angler. I would like to think I can catch fish most days on the water even when conditions are really tough. But the truth is I’m just another average fisherman. What’s wonderful is that it doesn’t mean I don’t love it any less.

I’ve been out twice so far this year in Wisconsin. I wasn’t able to make the Minnesota fishing opener but the -10° weather makes me think that was OK. Both outings in Wisconsin we’re short. Two hours on the water each. They were familiar streams so I thought I’d be able to find some fish, but alas, both trips left me empty handed.

What is it funny that instead of being discouraged and thinking I’m wasting my time and should hold off on fishing until warmer weather, two outings with no fish has left me with fewer flies and a greater desire to get back out. Fly fishing is so addictive for me. That’s for sure.

So I’m still looking for my first fish of 2018. Heck, after well over 15 years of trout fishing or closer to 20 I’m still looking for my first 20 inch fish. Maybe 2018 is the year. Or maybe this is just the year of humility. If it is, I’m OK with that. Because, what is that we all say when we don’t catch fish? Oh yeah, “you know, it’s just so great getting out.”

Ice fishing before trout opener

A New Year’s Eve, I had the opportunity to brave the subzero temperatures with a new buddy in the area who is not only an experience flyfisherman but a well-equipped ice fishermen. My icefishing experience is limited and are usually only had out one or two times here with lackluster results. This time I was headed out with the pro who knows the water in our area The Mississippi River joins with several other river systems in the area of La Crosse Wisconsin providing a great opportunity for backwater fishing. The diversity of freshwater species in the area is great and there’s always the potential that at some big fish are swimming right beneath your feet.

We jigged and used rosies (I’d never seen these before). They are like albino crappie Minnows I think.

We didn’t come up huge. We did get very cold. But that was mostly when we left the ice house. And we did manage a couple nice perch that were worth frying up. A gorgeous flakey fish with a delicate flavor.

Trout season is now open in Minnesota and it opens this weekend in Wisconsin. I wanted to get out by now but it just hasn’t happened. But the time is coming and I can’t wait.