Early season fly fishing in the Driftless, a.k.a. my love affair with pink polka dots

I love fly fishing early trout season. Yeah, it’s cold. And sometimes snowy, sometimes rainy. On last year’s trip, we fished all day in the ice-cold pouring rain. Bundling up is a necessity… but after a long winter inside, it feels good to breathe some fresh air and splash around.

I often head down to the driftless, here in Southwestern Wisconsin. It’s hilly, and there are tons of little creeks full of beautiful trout.

Viroqua is usually my first stop.

 Matt and Geri, a couple friends that I met through Trout Unlimited, own the fly shop down there- The Driftless Angler. It’s right on the main drag. Look for the fish sign!   

 They have a beautiful shop and even better guides! and I have had lots of fabulous days of adventure that started  here.

 Meet Pete and Teak. He’s a friend of mine, a super busy guide, and she is the best fishing dog I’ve ever met.

 Let the games begin!

He took me out to several unnamed locations. It was snowing, and windy, and definitely a challenge! The high temp was in the low 40s. I love hiring guides, even though I’m an independent angler, because they always teach me something new- either a new type of fly, or a casting technique, or they take me to new places and show me how to read different water.

Plus, when my fingers are frozen, they tie on for me. 🙂  Pete can demonstrate any kind of cast that I want to see. I love fishing with and learning from talented fly anglers- they make everything look effortless and they are just plain fun to watch. There are a couple distinguishing features of the driftless region– it’s only a couple hours from my house, in the Central Sands, but I never see geography like this…  The driftless area is called such because it escaped glaciation. The sediment in glaciers is called drift, thus… drift-less. Of course, when I think of sediment, I think of silt and and sand, though drift can contain boulders, and large rocks. The driftless region has carved river valleys for miles- there are hundreds of trout streams!

Before I knew it, I was laying into gently hooking some beauties. Pictures of me fishing, courtesy of Pete. He’s a photographer, too!

  I’m in love. My first fish on a fly rod was a brook trout, and I’ve been head-over-heels for those pink polka dots ever since.

Seriously.

I. Love. Brook. Trout.

I handle them with care and always put them back. 🙂         I took a break to warm up in the shelter of Pete’s van (curly hair, don’t care)…

…then headed out for more. Trout are my favorite, but they weren’t the only fish out there…


 As always, it was a fabulous trip. I hung out with Pete and Teak at their fabulous wooden fishing cabin, warmed up, dried off, studied the tools of the trade… …drank a good Wisconsin beer, and eventually made my way back home.

 I use this barn to mark my “halfway point” between Viroqua and my warm cozy bed.
 Thanks for the stream adventures, Pete! I’ll be back soon.

I lead a charmed life. Until next time… ❤️

Miles this year: 264

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