Driftless Trout Report
What a great year to have an extended early season! I don’t think any of us have the right to complain about the winter thus far. Despite a few short cold streaks, it has been downright mild. This has presented the perfect opportunity to do some Driftless trout fishing. Tight Lines manager, Charlie Piette, just had his first few guide trips of the season. Here’s what he had to say about the fishing:
“Honestly, conditions in Vernon County were great for January. Shelf ice varied from creek to creek, but there is plenty of open water to be found. The afternoon bite was well worth putting on the layers for! Indicator fishing with a scud and a lot midge dropper was deadly when the fish turned on. It was pretty easy to tell that the trout are enjoying the mild weather, too. The vast majority of fish brought to hand were fat and fought well for the water temp. The long and short is that there will be a good bite window on most days in the winter, and particularly on the warmer days. It’s definitely worth the effort. The scenery is spectacular and the snow isn’t too tough to walk through. Get out there and wet a line. You will not be disappointed!”
Charlie’s Tips for Winter Trout
* Dress for success- Layering is key. It’s nice to have a backpack to add or subtract a jacket as needed. Spare gloves are great, too. The more prepared you are in the clothing department, the more time you will spend on the water
* Focus on the best time of day- Bite windows vary tremendously in the winter. On cold days, fish may only be active for an hour, or two. Conversely, the window may be several hours long on warmer days. Check the weather carefully and focus you efforts accordingly.
* Fish the right holding water- This usually means slower current speed with depth. Trout do not want to expend a bunch of energy holding in fast water during the winter. That said, they can slide into quicker water for limited periods of time to feed. If covering deep, slow pools with a heavy leech isn’t working, try indicator fishing seams where fast water meets slow water. One of these two methods will be effective.
For those looking to embark on a winter trout adventure in the Driftless Area, contact Charlie at the shop. He will be available for guided trips most Sundays and Mondays, weather permitting.