Sunday, June 21, 2015

Driftless 3.0

We started off with a bit of good news/bad news this year. Sasquatch, the man who swore he would never reproduce, ended up eating his words. That is the Good news. Tadpole (the wee ones name) showed up a couple months before our 2015 fishing trip trip, so Sasquatch decided to stay home and give momma a hand. That was the bad news. Another bit of Good news…Tadpole is a beautiful baby that takes after her momma. Good thing too. Imagine if she would have come out with a goat beard and dreadlocks. Hmmmm.

So to fill Sasquatch’s spot Q-ball, Stinkbug and I looked high and low for a replacement. In the end it was mostly the low places that we found the most suitable candidates of our fishing group. This is where we found “Floppy” Thompson. Now, Floppy it turned out was eerily similar to Q-ball and Stinkbug. First off he was a Navy SeaBee, secondly, he is an old guy and thirdly, he cannot hear shit without his hearing aids in. Boy, did he fit right in with our group. Oh, I forgot to mention that he has a plethora of really bad jokes that he can call up on demand from the neither reaches of his mind. So the group was set. It was me and the geriatric three amigos.We are hoping that Sasquatch will be able to join us next year, but I am not sure the state of Minnesota could handle five of us at one time. LOL

Stinkbug, Floppy, Q-Ball and Boot
Driftless Brown
Why Floppy?
Most of the members of the group have a nickname based on a physical characteristic they possess. Q-Ball is as bald as a baby’s ass, Sasquatch is as hairy as…well Sasquatch, and Stinkbug is not so much named for a characteristic that he possesses, but rather one that he is able to produce, seemingly at will and with varying degrees of lethalness.

I struggled at first coming up with Floppy’s nickname. At first I thought of “Old Dude”, but then I found out he was the youngest of the geriatric three I had with me at the spry age of 67 years old. The next thought I had was for a nickname was “earplug” because he couldn’t hear anything, but I hated giving someone a nickname based on his dis-ability, unlike Stinkbug who is actually named after his ability.

As we sat down on the first day to put on our waders and go fishing…BOOM! Out comes this hat. What it really reminded me of was “KARL” the Grounds Keeper. You remember Bill Murray’s character KARL the Grounds Keeper from the movie “CADDYSHACK” and his obsession with getting that evil gopher. The funny looking floppy hat that Karl wore in the movie had been transcended to Minnesota and was now resting on Floppy Thompson’s head. So thus we dubbed him “FLOPPY” and his name has been set. 

Floppy Thompson - That hat says it all!

Driftless 3.0 Fishing Report
So how was the fishing you ask? In a word…Great. This was our third year to head into the Driftless area to fly fish and it was the best yet. Two years ago we came to Minnesota after a historic flood that had scoured everything and took most of the aquatic life with it. The fishing was good and we had a great time, but the fish were a bit on the small size. Last year we took off to Viroqua and fished the Kickapoo and Coulee’s in SE Wisconsin. The fishing was good, but the camping accommodations did lack a little bit and you had to drive a half hour one way to get to the stream. The fishing this year in Minnesota topped them all. First, we hit great weather, which always helps. Secondly, the trout were hungry. We had a great time fishing dry flies such as Hendrickson, Caddis and Sulphurs in the late mornings and early evenings. During the warmer and sunnier parts of the day we had success on small nymphs and stripping leeches. And finally, the state of Minnesota installed a slot limit a few years ago on the Root River, which protects trout between 12 and 16 inches. This seems to have really made a different. We landed several 13-16 inch fish this year. In 2013, I landed only one fish over 12 inches. I would say their plan worked and the fishing has improved drastically. 

Another Driftless Brown Trout

Wasn't hard to figure out what they were rising to. These Hendrickson's were everywhere

I told you these guys were old. Naps were quite commons.

We have to say thanks you Ms. Laura for keeping us well fed.
Have to thank MOM also. She knows my favorite
No camp is complete without several rousing games of FARKLE dice. I am sure they heard us hooting and hollering all over the campground

Fly Shop review of the Driftless Fly Fishing Company
The Driftless Fly Fishing Company is an ORVIS flyshop located in Preston, Minnesota only a half block off of the town square. It is a small fly shop, which has only been open for about a year, but they seem to be moving forward. They have fairly odd hours during the week (7:00 to 9:00 pm), but they are open all day Saturday and most of the day on Sunday.  Their stock seems to be limited and they don’t have everything, but what can you expect from a small shop. They have a small selection of the standard of flies from the area and the prices seeme din line with any other flyshop. They also have the necessities to handle any emergency such as waders, boots, and the like. I only noticed about a dozen fly rods in the shop. I didn’t really look at the prices, but they are an Orvis shop so I would imagine you could expect the Orvis prices. 

Floppy landing a fish he hooked on a dry fly

I believe in shopping the local fly shops when I go into any new area. Between the four of us we spend about $100 on a couple dozen flies, hats and T-shirts for those back home. The owner is friendly and willing to give some general information, tips and pointers for fishing in the area. The information given was something that any experienced flyfishermen could figure with time, but talking with the local flyshop usually speeds up the process. That being said, they do run a guide service out of the shop so I am sure they hold information close to their vest and part it out to their own clients. I don’t blame them a bit, that is just business. They currently don’t have their Minnesota fishing license so if you need a fishing tag or trout stamp you will need to go somewhere else. I personally recommend the Quick shop in downtown Wykoff. It is close to the campground and they are super friendly.  The Driftless Fly Fishing Company is a nice little shop that I am sure will get better with time.
In closing. Went up there and fished for the week only to find out that humans are not allowed to fish. Seems only the fish can go fishing. Who knew?


  1. Nobody will believe THAT fish story!!!!

  2. I am looking forward to joining in again. The tadpole will be joining her mother in Arkansas to visit family. We will have to teach those old guys a few new tricks.