Fly-fishing for trout on a western Wisconsin river in mid-March.

Fishing guide Andy Roth over at Gray Goat Fly Fishing posted a brief report about a trout fishing outing yesterday on a western Wisconsin river. He also has a photo of what is considered a good-sized trout in this neck of the woods. Fishing was slow all day, but he stuck around until dusk and was rewarded.

“The first few hours were slow with a fish touched here and there but the deep pools were not as active as I thought they might be. I changed flies 12 times, adjusted weight and depth every 5 casts and generally went about my normal business.”

I got out for the first time of the season on Wednesday and I too found the fish finicky. I had a 10-incher I have to believe had been stocked in the river not two weeks before take my first drift when I switched over to a dry, and another hit my bright pink hunk of strike indicator putty later on. The nymph trailing underneath went unmolested.

It was, as always, great to be back out there. Unbelievable weather, though you could sense that it will–or at least should–be a while yet before the trees burst forth and everything starts to get green. And, like Roth, I had a really nice conversation with some other anglers at the bridge as I got ready to fish.

After a lot of snowmelt last weekend and a bit of rain, and then a couple days of dry, sunny weather, the river was plenty clear for fishing, but had a beautiful blue-green tint to it that put it in sharp contrast with the drab landscape of mid-March. What was most noticeably absent was bird song. It is still the season of the solitary crow, the early pair of goose.

Bare branches, brown grass
Cold river cuts through the land
Dead deer in the weeds

Don’t get me wrong, it couldn’t have been more beautiful. With the sun shining down with real intensity, all the snow gone, the White Pines’ subtle but strong color scattered along the bluffs, and that beautiful river flowing every steady right through all of it, I was in heaven.

It would have been nice to catch a couple more fish, but it was a good reminder that the fish don’t bite on your schedule. I headed home with the sun still pretty high in the sky, and didn’t stick around through the twilight hours, like fishing guide Roth.

Geese honk and crows caw
What’s without is what’s within
River flows, fish swim

2 replies on “Fishseasonrivertime”

Hi Greg: I was on the Rush the same day, talked to Andy in the parking of the Ellsworth Gun Club. I caught a few smaller browns on a soft hackle brassie and that’s the only fly that did anything for me. Going back again tomorrow (Wed) to see if the black stones are active yet. Enjoy your comments. Sandy

Sandy – thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Pretty funny how busy the Rush was on St. Patrick’s Day. Like one of the guys I talked to at the bridge while I got ready to fish said when he pulled up: “What? There’s not supposed to be anybody else here!” I can only imagine what the weekends have been like during this beautiful weather. Glad to hear you had a bit more success than I did that day; I tried a couple soft hackles as I had some theories about emergers, but no dice. Let me know how your fishing went today! – Greg

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