I kicked off my soft water season this past weekend in by hitting a small Western WI stream in search of the wily trout.
I’ve been thinking about giving it a try for several years reading Len H’s awesome trout fishing posts so when I moved to the South metro last year, with closer access to many trout streams, I made it a point to finally get out. Reading through several IDO posts and a few PMs later I had put together a plan to meet up with a fellow IDO member from my area, Kendall (aka KWP), in pursuit of my first WI stream trout.
We planned to avoid bright sunny days and last Saturday were greeted by overcast skies and slightly stained water due to recent run off which would also hopefully play into our favor for fishing small, shallow water. For gear we were using medium-light fast action St Croix spinning rods and 6-8# 100% Fluoro. Kendall started with a small Rapala Husky Jerk 08 in Blue Chrome with and Orange Belly and I went with a Blue Fox #2 Vibrax in-line spinner in gold color because of the stained water. It didn’t take long and Kendall had our 1st Brown of the day in hand while I missed several short strikes and decided to switch up the color. After changing to a blue/red Vibrax I was also on the board in short order.
Several fish and multiple lure changes later we had put together a pretty solid pattern casting floating Rapalas into current upstream of likely trout holding areas and letting them float almost into cover before pulling them away at the last second, frequently with a trout close behind. Blue turned out to be our best color for the day but we also caught fish many other flavors. Original Floating Rapalas sized 05/07, 08 Husky Jerks, and both Vibrax or Panther Martin in-line spinners in gold/blue/red all worked well. Also, in talking with a few other fishermen, they were having their best luck on Fire Tiger which of course happened to be one of the colors we had neglected to bring.
Once again the knowledge and willingness of IDO members never ceases to amaze me. Thanks again Kendall for the great company and the invaluable advice you passed on by taking this greenhorn under your wing.
Tight lines and welcome to Spring!
A few more pics from the trip. Pic 1 shows our big fish for the day at just under 17″. Pic 2 shows some of the Vibrax in-line spinners I was having luck on. Pic 4 shows what the log jams that were holding fish look like… Original floating Rapalas worked best for these areas. Pic 6 is one of a few Brook trout that we managed to pick up, all on spinners.
Love light tackle trout…
Last time for me as the 8 ‘ s
I recognize a few photos from that section of stream. On the fly side I tried to cash in on the Blue Wing Olive hatch but with the way the snow melt happened this spring I think I missed it. One thing that works from the fly end that should work from the spinning side is some kind of hair jig or grub fished near the bottom. Even better if you give it some rubber legs. It could represent a sculpin, stone fly nymph, crayfish or whatever. I’ve done well in the past dead drifting with lifts, twitches and pauses. I’ve seen it where you give it a lift and the trout dart out and grab it when it’s just hanging there.
Nice job. Did the brook come out of the feeder below the snowmobile bridge.
The Brook Trout came out of the main river itself. Always a sign of a healthy river when you catch a Brook Trout.
True. But to be honest I wish it wasn’t as healthy as it is. Too many fish and the size has went down from what it used to be. I used to get a twenty plus on that stretch you did most times out. Now a 18 is a nice fish. Bigs are there but not like it used to be.
Nice job Will! I’ve always wanted to try for some trout but we don’t have any in my area.
I 100% agree that something similar to a streamer, perhaps a light hair jig, would be deadly pitching into holes and around log jams. I know Kendall had said his friend did very well and managed some bigger trout on streamers the weekend before.
Just under 17″ was the biggest for us. I did see a 20+ fish that I spooked out of a hole when I had to retrieve a snagged lure so I know there are still a few around. Having never been there prior to this Spring I’m not too familiar, but allowing a few more of the smaller fish should be harvested would keep the numbers down a bit and bring up the average size?
Great report Will! That stretch seems to fish much like the trout streams I fish back home. Bigger floating raps left to drift right against cover….man that’s fun stuff. Thanks for sharing, and thanks to Kendall for sharing as well!