Time: 8:00AM – 12:30PM
Location: Viola Park area
Saturday was expected to be even hotter than Friday, so I departed nice and early from the Westby House Inn. I completed the thirty minute drive through Viroqua and then east through the tiny town of Viola, where I reached the Viola Park. The parking lot was devoid of any cars, and I was quite pleased with this development after my difficulties finding fishing space on Timber Coulee on Friday. I experienced a fine day on Camp Creek during 2014, and since it was a weekend day, I was concerned about fishing competition. At 8AM in the morning I concluded that I had the stream to myself, at least for some period of time.
As expected the air temperature was already at seventy degrees, as I pulled on my waders and assembled my Orvis Access four weight in the early morning. Starting early was a smart decision as the thermometer peaked above the ninety degree line in the late afternoon, when I was no longer fishing. I fished nearly the same segment of the small limestone creek that appealed to me in 2014; however, I began farther downstream where a dirt road crossed Camp Creek. In 2014 I hiked downstream from the bridge on the paved road that leads from Viola to the park. Similar to Friday the stream appeared to be nearly ideal with average flows and perfect clarity.
I began my early morning search for Driftless trout with a size 10 Chernobyl ant and a beadhead hares ear nymph, and on the third cast I shot a cast to a position just below an angled dead tree that spanned the narrow waterway. Wham, the Chernobyl dipped, and I set the hook and landed a chunky nine inch brown trout. It was an auspicious start to my day on Camp Creek.
While I was netting the first trout of the day, I spotted a single rise just above the angled tree, so I carefully circled around the root ball and dropped a cast above the scene of the rise. Again on the third drift the foam surface fly paused, and I lifted my rod tip and felt the weight of brown trout number two. My expectations were now sky high for the remainder of the day, but not surprisingly my catch rate slowed measurably.
I resumed my upstream migration and covered the remainder of the segment between the bridges with no additional fish putting a sag in my net. I did manage a hook up with what felt like a larger fish, but it escaped prematurely. I also made a poor decision when I attempted a roll cast beneath a tree and hooked a live branch. After several attempts to dislodge the Chernobyl and hares ear, I surrendered and broke off the pair of flies. In place of the Chernobyl ant I tied a yellow fat Albert to my line, and then I added a new hares ear. I continued my quest for additional trout, and after I passed under the bridge I added a beadhead pheasant tail as a third fly. I was dissatisfied with the long dry spell and searched for a means to break the slump.
Although the pace of action never matched my remembrance of 2014, it did accelerate. Before quitting at 12:15 I registered twelve landed trout, and all were of the brown trout variety. The beadhead pheasant tail did indeed prove to be popular with the Camp Creek residents, as numbers three through ten succumbed to the size 18 rust brown nymph imitation, and the intervals between catches shrank significantly.
Near the end of my morning I encountered a very attractive wide deep pool. A large submerged log divided the pool, and a five foot lane rushed between the bank and the log. I lofted the flies to the top of the run, and just as they approached the lip, a fish flashed to the left of the visible Chernobyl. I guessed that this signaled a take of the nymph, so I executed a swift hook set and felt decent weight and saw the side of a brown trout. Unfortunately that was the extent of my success, as another nice spring creek trout evaded the hook and escaped.
After this bit of excitement two more small browns grabbed the hares ear, and then I reeled in and hiked along the fence until I reached the park and my car at 12:15. The gnats at Camp Creek were were even more annoying than what I experienced at Timber Coulee. I attempted to thwart their attacks with a double application of DEET and a special concoction that Jane and I purchased at the Driftless Angler, but the effectiveness of these deterrents was questionable.
As was the case on Friday the riffles and runs at the top of each pool produced the best action. I suspect that this resulted from the the faster water masking the plunk of the dry/dropper, and it also allowed me to execute a closer approach. The accelerated current velocity also forced the fish to react quickly to passing food possibilities. For some reason I never tested the five small terrestrial patterns that I purchased at the Driftless Angler, although I probably should have experimented with them on the smooth pools of the small limestone spring creek. On Saturday the wind was a significant factor, and it created numerous menacing tangles. Tall grass and strong wind are generally strong leading indicators of hot terrestrial fishing.
In summary I enjoyed another fine day on Camp Creek. I was the only fisherman on the stream, and this allowed me to move freely. I love prospecting with a dry/dropper without interference from other fishermen, and that describes my day on Saturday, June 10.
Fish Landed: 12