Driftless and Muddy
It's no secret that I like to try new things when it comes to fishing. I am always looking for a new species to chase, new gadgets to try out, or for new bodies of water. Since I started fly fishing last year all I kept hearing about was this magical place called the Driftless. Stories of beautiful ancient landscapes, small towns, and amazing trout streams seem to go hand in hand with this almost mythical area.
Recently I was invited to go out on a rather well known stream with a new friend. He was going to show me some access points and try to help this "Lake Fisherman" learn how to better read moving water. I packed up my St Croix rods, a small selection of flies, and a big thermos of coffee. Then drove across town to meet up with the man that would finally introduce me to the Driftless area.
When we arrived at the access point the first thing I noticed was how similar this place looked to the area of Iowa that I grew up in. Surrounded by dormant corn fields and the sound of song birds I felt a million miles away from the normal hustle and bustle of Madison. Hard to believe that we were only 15 minutes from the city. Soon we had on our gear and started wadding up a ridiculously small creek. "You sure trout live in here?" I asked as we battled through mud that tried to suck us under. "Yeah, the conditions are just a little muddy from the snow melt running into the creek." I asked what I should tie on the line and he said, "Streamers."
After digging around in my fly box for a bit, I tied on a crazy little streamer that I had bought the week before while wandering through Orvis of Madison. It had rubber legs, a bead, and a hook eye so big, that I could attach my line to it on the first try (I'm pretty spoiled by my 80lbs PowerPro). I made a few casts and true to form I was stuck in a tree. "It happens" he said, it's kind of a tight area for casting. I was trying, but with all the overhanging branches I was a mess. If I didn't hook a tree, I hooked my hat, or my waders, or my backpack. Soon however I got the hang of watching my back cast and was plopping that little streamer down on the edge of the riffles.
We had a wonderful morning even if the conditions were a little less than ideal. The stream was blown out and muddy as hell. My buddy explained to me, where to cast, what a lie was, and were I would normally find the trout once the creek cleared up in a few weeks. All things considered, I had a great time on the water. Even though we didn't catch anything, we were outside on a beautiful spring day in the middle of a legendary area, and that was more than enough for me.