Brookies, Browns, Muskies, and Steelhead, Oh My!
I left early morning and headed southeast to Vernon county to close out the inland trout season. There was much uncertainty the night before at the Fly Angler trying to decide where to go since so many rivers have been impacted with all the rain, but I rolled my dice to see what I would find. I rolled into Viroqua, WI and headed straight to the Driftless Angler fly shop for some local intel. The guy at the shop was way helpful with where to go, where to avoid, and what the hot flies were. Turns out the rivers North of town were cloudy to blown-out and the rivers south of town were clearing up really well.
At the end of the day, I set up camp and then went to town for a great German beer at Chilito Lindo, the local Mexican restaurant, run by a frazzled Asian girl. I know, odd three-way combination, but it all seemed to work out okay. Especially since my order was messed up the least by the cooks. They must have been new. I returned to camp shortly after and fell asleep to the sound of the Amish horse and buggy traffic driving through town near the campground.
Anyway, I found and paid the nice lady for using the campground and for my new membership to the West Fork Sportsman's Club. After shooting the breeze with her for a bit I headed fifteen minutes West to fish, where I caught a really beautiful fall brookie that made my trip that measured twelve inches in a very hard place to fish with crystal clear water on a pink squirrel.
St. Paul Fly Tier's meeting at Schroeder's Bar & Grill and reported the great fishing I had enjoyed to some buddies.
After a less then satisfying day at work, I headed up to Peters cabin in Northern Wisconsin
met up within ten minutes of his arrival, we settled in, set up our fly tying vises and cocktails and tied Steelhead flies until late while catching up and swapping stories.
Peter made a great fisherman's breakfast with the added bonus of some good tea that I brewed up. We were out the door an hour later to our meeting point with Wendy from the Hayward Fly Fishing Company for a day on the Flambeau River chasing muskies.
We moved on back to the cabin and with a little inspiration from our celebrating, some "interesting" flies were tied and then we talked ourselves into retiring for the evening so that we would be ready for more fishing the next day. And maybe spend some time dreaming of the Muskie that I caught.
With the fading smell of the muskie slime on my hands from my first muskie, we packed our stuff up and closed the cabin down as we were not returning. We arrived in Brule, WI where we stopped first to look at a potential fishing cabin in town that was listed at an attractive enough price for me to actually think about it seriously. It could pass for a nice fishing cabin, but it is in the middle of town, which could be both good and not so good. After a quick inspection we headed to the river to try our luck fishing.
The morning started out slow, but it was beautiful. We had seen a ton of turkeys everywhere we drove over the past two days and the fall colors were putting on a show for us. It was perfect fall weather in Wisconsin. We decided to drive to a different location which proved to be the right thing to do. Peter landed a 22" chrome Steelhead mid morning on a caddis nymph and I had missed my first take of the season, which made me confident that I was doing something right and that they were in there.
The very few people we ran into said they hadn't had any luck, which wasn't encouraging, but
in the last hour of light of the day on the third stretch of the Brule further down river, I "got on the dance floor" as Peter put it. I briefly caught and fought a Steelhead long enough for it to launch clear out of the river and spit my fly back at me. I am pretty sure he stuck up his middle fin at me too while laughing at me. And that was pretty much the end of the action for the day. We changed out of our waders at the local gas station and headed for home very happy with ourselves.