Entry: February 2019
With the Polar Vortex behind us, we can finally get out and experience some winter trout fishing in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. As it gets further along in February, the air and water temperatures get warmer and the days get longer increasing the feeding activity and movement of trout. It’s still a game of fishing low and slow with tandem bead head nymphs and split shot or heavy streamers-the slow deep pools are where the fish will be this time of the year. You don’t have to get out super early, the best fishing time will be between 9 A.M. and 2:30 P.M., and if it’s a warm sunny day the snow melt will end things by 1:30ish due to a sudden drop in water temperature and an increase in water turbidity. There can be some surface activity with midges on warm days and at the end of this month/beginning of March, start looking for blue wing olive hatches.
Westside Store Closing Sale:
Since the Westside Fontana location is closing, everything is on sale at 30% off the lowest marked prices. That means 30-75% off all in-stock products. I have some good deals left on SAGE fly rods, Rio and SA lines, Simms waders, boots, and jackets; and flies, leaders, and tippet.
Fly fishing in southern Wisconsin and the state, in general, has gone through lots of changes in the past 2 ½ decades with two world-class fisheries - the Driftless Area Spring Creeks for Trout and the Lower Wisconsin River for smallmouth bass being two major ones. I am proud to have been in on the developmental stage of these two fisheries that have made visiting anglers view Wisconsin as a destination rather than Fly Over Land. There were also other fisheries that have developed over the years such as Muskies and carp on a fly. Who knew the “fish of 10,000 casts” would be a viable fly rod target or that rough fish would become the “Golden Bonefish” of freshwater.
Lastly, with the most consistent thing being change and the Westside location closing, I too will be moving on to guiding, fly casting instruction, hosting destination trips, and giving seminars with my own business Madison Fly Fishing Company after March 31. I immensely enjoyed teaching many of you how to fly cast, fish, sharing fly fishing advice, and taking you from your first cast to first fish. I wish to thank all my long-time loyal customers for their 26 years of business, support, and friendship; it will always be treasured and never forgotten.
If you want to book a Guided Fly Fishing Trip, improve your casting, or go on a destination trip I host here is my contact information:
I personally want to thank all of our loyal customers, Trout Unlimited, Badger Fly Fishers and friends for all the wonderful conversation we have had at the store and on the stream. Your support over the years has been amazing. We have tried to have what you needed on hand so you could buy locally.
I will be dropping out of the fly fishing industry and spending more time fishing the Driftless and salt scene! Keep in touch and look for my black Subaru on the stream. It will be there a lot this year! You never know where I will turn up! For now, it is off to the Big Horn in May for some dry fly action. Be well, my friends.
John B. Hutchinson
Nymphs: Spring Creek Scud in Tan and Gray, bead head Hare’s Ear size 12-16, bead head Flashback Pheasant Tail size 16-18, Zebra Midge size 18, Big Green Baetis size 16-18.
Streamers; bead head Rubber Leg Crystal Bugger Olive and Black size 6-8, Leechinator size 4, Wooly Bugger size 6-10.
Dries: Matts Midge size 22, Griffith’s Gnat size 20-22, Sproat Midge Gray and Black size 22, Craig’s CDC Baetis Sparkle Dun size 20, Baetis Sparkle Dun size 18-20.
Fly Fishing Film Tour 2019:
Fly Fishing Film Tour-F3T is coming to the Barrymore Theater in Madison on Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 P.M. This is a fun event to gather the fly fishing tribe and get everybody stoked for the coming fishing season. It also makes a good date night by combining some cool fly fishing films with the diverse dining options and experiences in Madison’s East Isthmus and Williamson Street neighborhoods. Tickets are available for $15 cash at both Fontana Sports locations.