Report by Craig Amacker
Cool Fall weather is finally arriving hopefully to stay, and it’s the last 8 days of the 2017 Inland Trout Season in Wisconsin - closes October 15. If you haven’t trout fished yet this fall, this is your last opportunity to do so without traveling to neighboring states. The fish are putting on the feed bag in preparation for the spawn and winter, and are feisty, and colorful. The weather is perfect for comfortably enjoying a day a-stream, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and fish!
Craig’s Quote of the Week: “Nobody wishes they worked an extra day, everybody wishes they fished an extra day”
A variety of tactics are still working well for trout. On cooler mornings, nymph fishing is the way to go as fish are slow to get going from a cool overnight low. Definitely have streamers in the quiver now because trout are looking for big food and starting to defend their territory for spawning. Mid-day terrestrials are still effective during warm, sunny, and windy afternoons - we haven’t had a frost yet so hoppers are still in play along with ants and beetles. Fall is also blue wing olive time; overcast days from late morning-late afternoon/early evening are best for consistent dry fly action. Nymphing is also still good.
The king salmon run is in full swing on the on the Lake Michigan Tributaries and lake-run browns are feeding behind the kings in preparation for spawning. Coho salmon are also moving into the river adding to the mix of fish. With recent rains in the past couple days, the river has gone up a lot which will bring even more fish into the system - 2 days after a recent rain gives you the best shot at fresh and aggressive fish. Best flies will be streamers in pink and purple or white, egg patterns in chartreuse, orange, and pink, and olive/tan colored streamers are good for the browns because they imitate gobies and sculpins they’re used to eating in the lake and stream. As always while sight fishing don’t make random casts, don’t snag spawning fish (it’s illegal), and present your fly to the most aggressive fish (it’s most likely to strike your fly). Better yet you can fish the dark water and deep holes below the spawning beds to target browns in a more sporting manner.
Northern pike and musky are becoming more active on the Madison Lakes and lower Wisconsin River as the temps start to cool down-have wire leaders to avoid bite offs and big flies to get their attention. When fishing from a boat concentrate on the weed lines(lakes), points, and drop-offs, and other structure. If wade or shore fishing concentrate on points, drop-offs, rock piles, wood, and deep edges. There’s still opportunities to get panfish, walleyes, and even some bass in the Madison Lakes keep in mind that as the water and air temperatures get colder, the bass go deeper and become more lethargic .On the Lower Wisconsin River concentrate on the back eddies, drop-offs below islands, wood, deep holes in the side channels, and where a trout stream flows into the river
Streamers: Rubber Leg crystal Bugger #6-8 Olive and Black, Leechinator #4, Craig’s Spring creek Leech #8 Olive, Fishstress Sculpin #6, Woolly Bugger #6.
Dries: Parachute Adams #18-20, Baetis Saprkle Dun #18-20,
Terrestrials: Dave’s Hopper #10-12, Morrish Hopper Tan #12, Bionic Ant, 2 Tone Para Ant, Hi-Viz Foam Beetle.
Nymphs: Craig’s Spring creek Scud Tan and Gray, Tungsten Flashback Pheasant Tail #16-18, Hot belly Pheasant Tail Pink, Tungsten Zebra Midge Olive/Copper #18.
Sheboygan Bunny Purple/Pink and White, Fishstress Sheboygan Special and Sculpin #4, Egg Sucking Leech Black/Chart, Brown Rubber Legs #8, Glo Bug Chartreuse, Pink, Orange.
Clouser Deep Minnow #2-6 Chart/White and Chart/Yellow, Rubber Leg Crystal Bugger Olive #6, craig’s Bluegill Buster Chartreuse, Black, White.
PMS Streamer Black/Orange, Black/Pink, Fire Tiger; Bill’s Figure 8 Sucker Olive/Chartruese/Orange, and Olive/White.
Don’t forget about our end of season specials in our fly fishing department that include Simms G3 Guide Waders, G3 Guide Boots, Freestone Boots, select rods from SAGE, SAGE 4200 Series Reels, Ross Evolution Reels, and St. Croix Imperial Rods.
New cold weather clothing has arrived from Simms - this is solid product that will help you withstand the elements, and make even the worst weather day a pleasant one. Always remember some of the best days for fishing musky, steelhead, and lake-run browns are some of the worst days to be outside - proper clothing and layering gives you longer staying power, solitude, and helps you catch more and bigger fish.