It’s always a bittersweet time as we approach the last few days of the Wisconsin Inland Trout Season because we want to get in that last outing and make it a good one. The weather and fronts/pressure changes however don’t know when trout season closes, and this year the last 2 days had high winds and strong cold fronts. This put the trout in a bit of a funk especially on October 15 with overnight lows in the upper 30’s, morning temps in the mid 40’s, and finally an afternoon high of 55 but the high winds made it feel colder.
Because of the hand we were dealt, we needed to focus on the special things like seeing 2 low flying bald eagles chasing each other while driving between streams, and brown, brook, and if we’re lucky a tiger trout in fall spawning colors. It’s these vivid colors that are the true season ending artistry that make these last outings memorable especially if you’re lucky enough to catch a tiger trout.
It all started for me on Tuesday October 13 after 7 days of the Sheboygan River “Salmon Rodeo” guiding clients to king salmon. I wanted to return to fly fishing normalcy so I went to one of my favorite southwest Wisconsin spring creeks in search of brookies and browns on hoppers. Only problem was the fish weren’t looking at hoppers, so I fished a small streamer and caught some browns and brookies some colorful some not. In the last hour of my fishing session I caught a beautiful 13” male brookie in fall spawning colors, and after photos I decided that was the perfect fish to end my personal season with. On October 15, I had one of my best angling clients and friends on stream and we had to work hard for the fish due to a strong cold front and pressure change. Back on the brook trout stream we fish streamers because 2 days earlier when it was warmer fish didn’t even look at hoppers. After sparse action, we switched to hoppers, I encouraged him to try another spot, and he caught a beautiful tiger trout in full spawning color. A tiger trout is a male brook trout/female brown trout hybrid that occurs by chance in nature making it a rare treasure and special fish. This fish was the highlight of the trip and the perfect fish for my friend to end the season with. Take what Mother Nature and the river give you, be persistent and optimistic, and you’ll be rewarded with a good fishing outing.
Last of all, I want to extend a huge heartfelt thank you to all clients both regular and new for their outpouring of support this season. The season started out with the deck stacked heavily against us due to COVID-19. But it turns out that fly fishing is the perfect social distancing hobby to enjoy outside with friends. I can’t thank you all enough for your generous and loyal support because this endeavor couldn’t happen without all of you. Lastly, I want to welcome all the new first-time fly fishers to fly fishing they all bring diversity, new energy, and a different prospective to the sport.