Summer is here as evidence by the thigh high burning nettles, the heat and the jungle growing fast around us. Ryan and I met up to fish a spot I’m well acquainted with. This place is hard to hike this time of year and certain sections almost demand wading the water which despite being more comfortable is sometimes not the best way to catch trout here on our smaller streams. We met up at about 11am and fished until 2pm, conditions were hot with the air temperature in the upper 80’s and climbing. The sun was out and thunderstorms had been passing through over the previous day or so causing some water to be stained while others were running pretty clear. We showed up and hiked downstream a good ways, crossed into a pasture and were met by a herd of cattle. Hiking down I spied the stain on the water, looked perfect and I was expecting good success with a streamer. Downstream of the cattle and the stream was chocolate milk, not what I was expecting. Looking back upstream I could see a good dozen cattle cooling off. Good reminder for summer locations, pastures are easy hiking when the forest is up and hot but if the cattle are hot you may find unfishable water.
We hiked back upstream of the cattle and the stain was much more manageable. Ryan locked into a nicer 14inch on a Blue and White #6 Dirty Mop while I was fishing a brown version. I don’t know if it was the stain on the water but I suspect Ryan’s color choice was more visible in the dirtier water, I didn’t catch a trout until I switched to that color pattern. Normally I fish black or dark colors in heavy stain and for some reason I went with brown…in brownish water… Anyway, trout were in hand, all browns ranging from 10-14inches. At about 12:30pm I got my second shower for the day when a torrential downpour hit us for about 15minutes. These random thunderstorms can drop a large amount of rain in an isolated area which makes finding clean water a crap shoot sometimes. Over the next few hours the stain increased and I considered calling it but I wanted to see new water.
We fished upstream until we were in uncharted territory, the bottom quickly became super sandy and the structure seemed to disappear. Wading became more difficult and the heat was on big time now. We pushed on despite less than stellar results but I figured I wanted to see a bit of new water, you never know until you round that corner and view it first hand. Not much was going on and rather than push on we opted to split for the day. This is the reality of summer in the driftless area, it gets hot and what was once an easy hike through the woods is quickly turning into bushwhacking. I’ll be posting some summer wet-wading tips and other information soon, take care out there.