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GUIDED TROUT FLY-FISHING TRIPS

Guided Fly-Fishing Trips:

 

Experience a different approach to guiding as we share the joys of nature and the beauty of the Driftless spring creeks together while catching trout and learning the art of fly-fishing. My focus is not only on fishing, but also on transferring knowledge on reading water, presentation, casting, and the lore and history of fly-fishing. Fish hand-tied flies, swing a classic wet, match the hatch with dry flies, try a bamboo rod, and in the case of a memorable fish well earned, enjoy a sip of single malt from a hand made leather stream flask.

You will hear stories and wisdoms while the stream murmurs and the trout rise. I am a professional with many years of experience teaching fly-fishing to all levels. The many years I have dedicated to the fine art of fly-fishing in all its varied forms and mediums will benefit you on the stream. Call me anytime and we can chat about the fishing, tackle, art, or anything else!

 

I have an easy-going, open and comfortable way with people. You are in charge of what you want to do, and my job is to manage expectations and provide an unforgettable experience. I do not fish with my clients unless requested. It is all about you, and the joy of wild fish in a remarkable setting. At the end of the day I will ask you what you have learned. Come fish with me! All skill levels are welcome. I host women and children as well.

 

 

The Driftless Area and streams:

 

Our venue is a wonder of nature, and one of the most beautiful settings for fly-fishing in the world. The Driftless encompasses parts of Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin and is named because it was not touched by glaciers. Its geology features limestone cliffs and hills which collect and filter rainwater which is cooled and purified and emerges from rock as springs and instant trout streams. There are thousands of miles of listed and unlisted creeks as diverse as the imagination can handle, and the trout are mostly all wild.

 

Fishing the driftless will mean you may see bald eagles, songbirds, water foul such as wood ducks, wildflowers including orchids, and sample wild berries. The bucolic farm setting of the valleys drives the largest concentration of organic dairy production and hosts a very extensive cottage craft industry. We may encounter Amish horse drawn buggies while driving to the day’s fishing, and after, take a souvenir with you in the form of farm fresh eggs and butter, home made jams and preserves, hand crafted furniture, local apples and apple ciders all sold at farmer’s markets or right at the farm side. The fishing is what you will come for, but the wonders of nature and the beauty of the hills and valleys may steal your heart.

The Fishing:

 

The Driftless area consists of spring creeks. These are mostly small and intimate: true trout streams reminiscent of the English chalk streams. Trout are plentiful, and a mix of native brook trout (char), and brown trout. The fish of the Driftless have developed differences and characteristics in their coloration from one valley to another. The brown trout often remind one of Amish honey butter with raspberry sides sprinkled with a touch of wild blueberries. The brook trout can show colors that rival the proudest songbird. Varying from meandering pasture stream to cascading free-stoner, these gems of nature are ideal for hatching aquatic insects that use the alkaline water to grow prolifically. These insect populations keep the trout fat and healthy and feed the great hatches of blue-wing olives, caddis, sulphers, and other flies which in turn feed both the trout and our enjoyment as we ply the streams. We will practice catch and release.

 

The average size of trout in the Driftless is as would be expected of a spring creek. A ten inch fish is average, with lots of foot long fat and healthy fish as well. There is also a good population of larger fish to make the day, week, month, or the memory of a lifetime. 14-25 inch browns are wary but common. They did not get that big by being stupid. My job on the stream is to get the angler into fish. The most fish or biggest fish is up to you (with a lot of gentle coaching and smiles.)

 

Equipment for the spring creeks can include shorter fly rods of a lighter weight. 3-5 wt rods between six and nine feet are fine. It is also a great place to ply an old favorite cane rod. Casts are usually between 10 feet to fifty feet, with average length being 20-30 feet. Accuracy is important here. The errant cast will end up in the gorse bush or a clump of grass. Stream widths are between sidewalk and street size. We will be walking streamside and wading. Chest waders are preferred, but hip-boots will suffice just fine. Wet wading is comfortable in summer as long as one utilizes a stout pair of wading boots. Be prepared to walk on rocks, climb banks, kneel, and stand on uneven ground. A wading staff or walking stick is a great asset and is encouraged.

What is supplied:

 

I will supply fly rods set up for the fishing, flies, bug dope, and lunch and beverages as noted by option. If the angler wishes to use his or her own equipment, they should bring it along.

 

What to bring:

 

The angler should supply polarized sunglasses, loose fitting clothing of the quick dry variety, rain jacket, brimmed hat, and layering to allow adjustment to the weather and natures fickle ways. Be prepared to encounter hot sun, rain, wind, and anything else. Be prepared. Leave the cotton socks at home. Wool or synthetic dries faster and does not absorb sweat. Bring layers if it is cold. Avoid bright colors. Trout are spooky. Neutral colors are preferable. For wading, hip boots are fine, but a full set of waders and boots are preferable.

 

Rates:

 

One day 8 hours on the stream or more if the fishing is good. Lunch and beverages/snacks and equipment supplied. Single angler $325  2 anglers $425

 

½ day 4-5 hours snacks/beverages and equipment supplied. Single angler $225 2 anglers $325

 

Call to book or shoot me an email inquiry 414-331-9102 erik.helm1@gmail.com 

 

Communication:

 

Be honest about your skill level and what you want to do on the streams. Tell me ahead of time what you want from the experience. This makes for an enjoyable experience, and I can cater the trip to your desires. Please let me know if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. If you have any physical limitations which may effect walking and wading streams be sure to let me know. Booking a trip in advance (at least two weeks) makes it more likely that you can get an open date.

“If angling is the contemplative sport, as Mr. Walton would have us understand, that contemplation should not be on the final destination, but upon the path that led us there. Let that path not be the easy one nor the commonplace, but one of inner discovery and learning, for that much the better when the fish is finally brought to hand.” Erik Helm