I’ve driven by the Little La Crosse countless times over the years, always on my way somewhere else. But a couple of days ago my wife Bette mentioned that someone she knows said that he has caught some bigger trout there, so I thought I’d give it a go on an afternoon off. This creek flows north from Cashton, WI towards Sparta, and was improved by the DNR a half dozen years or so ago. It’s very nice water, with lots of fish, some of them of the larger variety.
I caught lots of fish today, but they were all less than a foot long. There was a nice tiny Blue Winged Olive hatch on, and countless fish were porpoising on the surface as they chased the tiny bugs as they flew an inch or two above the water. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to stand in a pool with large fish coming out of the water so close you can count spots, but you can’t catch them.
It took me two hours to figure out what the fish were eating, and another hour, many different flies, and a yard or two of tippet material before I found the right size 20 Blue Winged Olive. And, it only worked if I tied it onto a 7x tippet. And even then, the only way I could induce a strike was to move it across the surface at just the right speed. Finally, I was able to hook up, but only with some smaller fish. And the bigger browns kept coming out of the water all around me, apparently confident that I posed no threat to them.
It was cold and windy, too, so it was a day of highs and lows. Beautiful water, colorful fish, wildflowers, beaver signs, eagles, but a challenging day with some frustration.
I’ll be back for those larger fish. Hopefully they’ll be eating something bigger than size 20’s!