Discovery Driftless

It’s easy to keep running it back. You head to the same stream, the same beat, you’re dialed in. You know where the fish are, you know how to catch them, it’s fun. And then one morning there is a car at your spot. Someone beat you to your water. “What the $%&#!” you say, “Where the hell am I going to fish now?” Instinctively, you pull out the Delorme and search for another spot as the sun rises higher in the sky. And then you start driving. Sometimes you drive straight to another beat marked on your map, another tried and true, another place where you are comfortable, where you know where the fish are and how to catch them. But this time you stop at an access you have never fished before, a stream you have never seen. You don’t know where the fish are, you aren’t sure how to catch them but it’s fun, exciting, unknown. Sometimes it’s a bust, the fish are non-existant, or non-coopertive. But sometimes you stumble upon a gem, one of those streams where you feel like the trout have never seen a fly before. You blow a cast, they still eat your bug. Big trout eating caddis in a riffle, not hiding under the biggest log in the deepest run. Fish fighting over your fly the moment it hits the water. Finding that water is almost better than catching the fish in it; the discovery in itself is the prize. And that, for me, is the biggest draw of the Driftless. The exploration, the discovery, that is where the excitement lies. With so many hundreds of miles of cold water snaking through the hills and valleys and fields, the opportunities are limitless. It would take a lifetime and more to even step foot in all the streams, but with that amount of water available and accessible, we’d be remiss not to see what we can find.

 

A few more photos from last weekend:

Waiting for the bugs

Predatory tactics

Last fish of the day

Morning frost

Chowing caddis

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