Two Days in the Driftless

I normally spend winters in the UK and summers in the USA living between MN and WI. This year is different! In early March with the Covid-19 crisis just getting underway, it became obvious I had to make a decision where I would be fishing for most of the year. My wife was already at our place in Northern MN so it quickly became obvious I had better fly NOW. Three days later I flew from Leeds, my local airport to Dublin and on to Chicago to say it was chaotic would be an understatement and how I didn’t contract the virus I have no idea.

Fast forward to August we put our house in MN up for sale and sold it to one of Judy’s cousins. So now we are living in our Condo in Sheboygan, WI. Now instead of the 7 hour drive the nearest WI Driftless creek is only 3+ hours away so 4:30 Sunday morning I left and was fishing before 08:00. The first creek produced 2 brown trout and 7 creek chubs. On to the second a creek which has had a fair amount of improvements in the last 3 years and although I caught fish it wasn’t a lot of fun. My final creek/river was very productive but radically changed by the flood from a couple of years ago. All three creeks are tributaries of the Kickapoo River.

I then drove to Beaver Valley Creek State Park in Minnesota for 2 nights of camping. The creek in the park has wild brown trout but being a State Park is very popular with all disciplines of anglers. However, much of the upper creek is pocket water and great for Tenkara style fishing. I fished for an hour in the evening and hooked 5 trout and landed 2 of them which is pretty good for that Creek.

Monday morning I met with my mate Dave Noll and we fished a creek Dave had fished the week previously and completely new to me. Dave fished his current favourite fly I switched around a bit and used some more traditional western nymphs until we saw a rise. I switched to a dry for 30 minutes before going back to a nymph. To say we had a good time would definitely be an understatement! perfect conditions, total overcast, a slight stain to the water and tons of fish. Not just tons of fish but almost exclusively trout of a decent size. Everywhere there should have been trout, there were trout and at every pool or ripple we both hooked into trout. We agreed it had to be one of the best morning’s fishing if not the best.

I went back to the campsite took a nap and fished the Creek this time all the way up to the spring head, more fish to hand than my 3 other camping trips in the Park so Monday was a great day to be a Tenkara angler.

Tuesday morning was my last morning to fish so the temptation to go back to the creek Dave and I fished was extremely strong but not wishing to spoil the memory of that day I fished another MN Driftless Creek. What a difference a day makes! The conditions couldn’t have been more different, bright sun, crystal clear water and because of the streamside vegetation it was only possible to fish it by wading up the stream. Needless to say I spooked about 30 fish for everyone I caught.

All in all a great couple of days and I can’t wait to go back and fish the Driftless, so many creeks still to explore.