Monday, January 20, 2014

fall fly fishing in review

In a blink of an eye, Wisconsin's fall fly fishing season for Great Lakes salmon and trout came and went. In recent years we had experienced a great variance in the severity of Midwestern winters, some mild and some not so mild. Just a few years back we rang in New Years by throwing streamers to big brown trout in flowing water. Conversely, this fall, it was just Thanksgiving when rivers started to frost over.

fall river scenery
 The kings ran thick this year and there was no shortage of them in most of the rivers we frequent. I have no interest to photograph rusty looking kings so the first real fish pictures from the fall came when the coho started moving into the rivers. The coho run this year was also particularly robust. I have always been a disbeliever of reports on local forums of people having success throwing dry flies at coho salmon. This is something I have to seriously reconsider after watching a fish rise on my indicator and giving it a most aggressive smack. Not having any dry flies in my fall salmon box I didn't get to test it on a second drift but did tie on a pink egg which that fish moved 5 feet to hit. Here is a couple of nice coho from the fall.

the fish that proves coho will rise on surface flies

neal with a nice wisconsin coho
The steelhead were a bit more elusive then the brownies early on. Even in the midst of the crowded pools of salmon, a watchful angler could see gluttonous brownies zipping in and out to sip on salmon eggs. This brown trout was sight fished off the back of salmon spawning gravel. The key here was to throw the fly up the salmon's ass and letting it drift back to the trout waiting behind. If you threw the fly to the head of the pool, you would never make it through the group of salmon to the trout without snagging one of those donkeys.

brown trout from in the midst of all the salmon
 I finished my fall in my favorite fashion, stripping streamers through bridge pools for big trout. This could be one of the best bites of the entire year, I was sad that it ended so quickly. I find this method works awesome from when the salmon die off until the river frosts over.

bridge pools = big winter trout
a nice winter brown hit a meaty fly on an aggressive strip
I wish this bite would have lasted even a few more weeks but sadly winter came early. Here is a shot from my last trip before things really started to lock up on the river. All in all, it was a short but productive fall for us. 

flowing slush and ice shelves, the end is near
Looking forward to a great spring run and once again holding a fly rod in my hand. Until then, it's all about the ice fishing.


  1. Hola.

    La primera fotografía con un rio en colores otoñales me ha encantado. Las de tan hermosas capturas igualmente.

    Te felicito por tan bonita entrada.


    1. gracias por visitar, me gusta esa foto también. caer aquí por lo general lleva a cabo los mejores colores

  2. Awesome pics! Makes me want to travel to Illinois/Wisconsin to go fly fishing next fall.

  3. Even the thought of catching a "rusty king" gets my blood pumping. Even if the season was short it looks like you caught some dandy fish... beautiful scenic river as well.

    1. yeah, i admit that id love to catch even a "rusty" king right now. kinda getting the winter blues.

  4. Nice pics and even nicer fish. Great to see you back at it! Spring Steel Run can't come soon enough.

    1. thanks, not bad for all iphone pics, got some stamina to continue forward

  5. Blake
    I would kill over if I landed trout like that--unreal!!!