Hopper season has arrived in the Driftless

Had an awesome couple hours on the water last Monday afternoon. The cloud cover was good. Air wasn’t too warm. And a breeze made for good upper conditions. It isn’t at its peak, but hopper season has well begun here in the Wisconsin Driftless.

@hotdishnflyfish

We saw plenty of fish. Only a few rising.

Throwing a hopper/dropper combination we caught fish on top and bottom. They aren’t quiet into their fall feeding frenzy, but it is coming.

The trout are starting to put on their fall colors.

I tried to get a shot of Hot Dish setting the hook on a rise. I got the set, but not the rise 🙂

This was an ambitious trout with big eyes for a big meal.

We did manage a few 14-15 inch fish. Gorgeous.

The love/hate relationship with the Driftless in July

The rush of spring is over now. The fervor with which we hit the streams has settled. There is new water to explore, but this is often when folks start to stay off the streams. Maybe its the heat, but I think it is the height of the brush. The weeds start reaching their peak around this time.

It is not uncommon to be head high searching for the stream. This leads to slow trekking and the potential for falls into muskrat dens, slips down muddy banks and trips over logs.

It also leads to great less pressure on the fish, great terrestrial action, and good cover to sneak up on the honey holes.

Of course you can wet wade as the temperatures usually allow and walk through the stream to avoid the wild parsnip and nettle.

One thing is for sure, a year fishing the driftless will either break you or hone your casting. You’ll be high sticking, roll casting, bow and arrows and side casting to tight spots from even tighter cover.

I suppose July is like winter in that way. The extremes of the conditions keep a lot of folk off the water. Once fall comes and the weeds start dropping (after the awesome August/Sept hopper action), the streams get hit hard again.

For those willing to do the work, hungry trout await.

Bugs were everywhere last satruday morning, but the big rain events kept the water stained enough that few trout were rising. I’ve been seeing Hex around more often lately but have yet to see one actually on the water and not on the sidewalks. This little mayfly rode back home with me on the bill of my hat.