I met up with a friend for the day and was looking forward to some good dry fly fishing. I hadn't been on the water since early April when olives and midges were hatching, so I was hoping to see some caddis. It took a lot of driving to find a stretch of water that was both clear and free of other fly fishermen. I knew the Driftless had been hit hard by flooding in June, but I didn't expect the streams to be in such bad shape. Most of the water we drove along was overly muddy, and we saw many sections of washed out roads and eroded banks. The stream we ended up fishing looked very different from what I had seen last season. I've fished this stream many times---it was one of the first I ever fished---and it was a little sad to see it now. A lot of work went into restoring this body of water and now there's only a handful of lunkers and other structural improvements left. At one point during the day, I noticed high water marks in a tree well above my head. There must have been massive amounts of water moving through this coulee at some point. It's just another example of how powerful nature can be.
I saw zero risers throughout the day and nothing hatching, but I did see my first hopper of the season.
It was no surprise that I couldn't get a fish to take a fly on top, but they did take a dropper. Only a handful of fish were caught, but the ones I got were nice and healthy
I think I'll be letting the Driftless waters recover a bit before I make my next outing. Once the sediment settles hopefully things will return to a new normal. When that time comes, I hope my waders still fit.