After a winter spent on the computer searching and researching the Driftless Area of WI, I officially started my 2016 fly fishing journey this week with a day of fishing on the creeks of Vernon County Wisconsin.
I called the Driftless Angler, a fly shop in Viroqua, WI, few weeks back and the owner Matt, paired me up with one of the shops guides - Jim Gitter. I met Jim at the shop (I arrived about an hour early - just a little excited to get started!) and off we went. It was a windy, cold, cloudy, misty mid-spring day. Fishing was tough in the morning, but I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with the way Jim worked at getting me on fish. Jim never fished; he scouted, packed equipment, rigged nymphs and dry flies all day. He provide instruction when needed and provide encouragement always. He let me know earlier in the day that his waders were leaking (I saw the hole at the end of the day) so I know he was cold but he kept after it. We fished a few miles of stream with various types of runs but no luck. The man worked his ass off for me! By the afternoon, just before the winds really started to pick up, the browns started rising. Jim noticed the olive leeches were hatching and obviously the fish were raising to feed on them. Jim re-rigged our rods with olive dry flies and “Let the Games Begin! While I didn’t catch many, (my fault for not setting the hook correctly - Jim could only do so much) there was plenty of action that filled the rest of the afternoon.
I had only booked Jim for the morning, but by lunch, he told me had nothing on his schedule for the rest of the day, so we fished as “friends”.
If your looking to learn to fly fish the Driftless Area of WI then you need to call the Driftless Angler and book Jim. If you can stay awhile, Jim and his wife own and operate The Newton Ridge Lodge. A small two bedroom lodge with a beautiful view of Newton Valley and the North Fork of the Bad Axe River. Tell them “Fish Face” sent ya!