As I write this I’m sitting in a plunge pool. Yea I know, technology? A screen on a creek? Well…I’ve often wanted to take a couple minutes to just sit while I’m out and enjoy the water and I guess that’s what I’m doing here. I don’t think it’ll become a routine.

It was 96degrees when I parked the car, didn’t expect much from the late afternoon. Figured the trout would be hunkered down in the colder deep stuff for a while. It feels too early for bigger dry/dropper combos and I’m right. It’s hot enough out today but the hoppers are a ways off yet. I started with a dry/dropper just to see, managed one small trout on the dropper. Tried a #10 Stimulator trailed by a #16 Sparkle Larva (a fly I tie and haven’t fished in a long time). Under the right conditions this combination is awesome. Seems like lately I’ve been revisiting my early years. Admittedly I’ve spent a lot of time chucking streamers abandoning the nymphs and dries that started me fly fishing in the first place. My recent hunt for food, helping Ryan learn the ropes and a general desire to get that feeling of when it all began for me has prompted a couple things. 1. I’m typing this as I sit in a place I spent many hours during this exact time of the year learning to toss nymphs and dries. The waters changed a bit, the pristine appearance of habitat improvement has left its mark here but the fish are the same. 

Swapped the dry/dropper for a #12 Hairball and took three nice sized fish immediately. Fished it on the swing like a streamer. Missed a couple fishing it like a large nymph dead drifted in a deeper run. The clouds just started to roll in and the fish seemed to shut down, no one is touching anything. Not sure if that’s a barometric pressure thing or if I’m maybe less concerned with catching them and more interested in sitting here with my feet in cold clear water. Wife is at home making dinner, probably should head that way.

P.S. Creek weeds are almost head high, it’s the grass that’s knee high as I reported yesterday. The Wild Parsnip here is almost shoulder high on me and the yellow flowers are out so be mindful of direct contact followed by sunshine exposure. 


  1. Greetings Winona Fly Factory,
    I greatly enjoy your website, and have a couple of questions. You mention above the use of a #12 Hairball. Can I ask what that is? Also, what weight rod do you use when you use streamers? I have a 3 weight with 4 weight line and whenever I use anything besides a small nymph or a dry fly, it feels like I’m over weighted. I’m headed up to Viroqua this Thurs. and Winona for the weekend. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thank you

    avatar john oconnell
    1. John, below is a link to a video I made a couple years back showing how I tie a Hairball, super effective nymph/mini-streamer pattern. I tie it in a #8 all the way down to a #16. As for fishing streamers, I use an 8’6″ 3wt rod over weighted with 4wt line. I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at tying my streamers with just enough weight to get them down but still able to roll cast them with this rod/set-up. I understand the overweighted feeling on the rod but I can’t justify fishing anything more than a 3wt around here for myself, others fish a 4wt regularly but I love my 3wt and wouldn’t change it for anything. I hope this helps, fishing should be great this weekend with terrestrials starting to really heat up mid-day. Water will be in good shape and you shouldn’t have a problem enjoying yourself. Take care.

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