Cold start to Wisconsin's early trout season - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Cold start to Wisconsin's early trout season

VIROQUA, Wis. (WXOW) - It may read March on the calendar, but for the start of the early trout season in Wisconsin, it will feel more like December. In Alaska.

Not that the weather will stop diehard trout anglers from wading streams around the Coulee Region looking to drift a fly through a riffle or eddy in the hope of a strike on the end.

Mat Wagner, owner of the Driftless Angler in Viroqua, said the streams are in good shape heading into the season which runs March 1 through midnight on April 27.  Sections of streams closer to the springs feeding them are clear of ice and open.  Wagner said you can tell these areas because of the steam that's rising from the water due to the differences between the air temperature and water temperature.

Trout are looking for hatches of midges and stoneflies on the surface, with midge and scud patterns working subsurface.  Anglers should be using smaller flies in sizes 16-18 in black in those patterns.
Wagner also suggests investing in a thermometer for measuring water temperature.  If the stream temperatures are rising from the low to the mid 40's, trout will be more active.  The best time for that is from roughly 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. when the sunlight warms the water.

It's the fisherman keeping warm that will be the trick during this cold snap. Wagner recommends taking frequent breaks to go back to the vehicle and get warm. Staying hydrated, too, with warm beverages, will also help. He adds that having a pair of snowshoes can also help anglers from breaking a sweat, which leads to getting colder faster, by not having to trudge through deep snow to get to a spot on a stream.

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