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Driftless Killer Bugs

by Shawn

My friend and I just returned from fishing the driftless area of SW Wisconsin. Most of my trout were caught on Killer Bugs that I tied using the Tenkara Bum Killer Bug tying kit.

This was my first chance to use the Killer Bug on trout. The trout seemed to ignore my traditional beadheads but readily hit the Killer Bugs. My partner watched me really enjoying myself as I caught most of my trout using my Nissin Pro Spec instead of western style.

I predict that he will have a tenkara rod in his arsenal in the near very near future.

Comments for Driftless Killer Bugs

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Jun 29, 2014
Driftless gear/rigs?
by: Clyde Olson(Savannah,GA

Hi Shawn, your comments piqued my interest. My wife grew up in Viroqua, WI, the epicenter of WI Driftless Trout Water, and each year I get about 3-4 days of trouting while she visits old friends---wonderful tradeoff. I've not used tenkara there over the years, but after getting geared up and doing quite a bit of trout fishing in western NC with tenkara the last couple of years, I plan this year to go pure tenkara in WI as I thought that'd be perfect water for the style.

I'd really appreciate a heads up on gear/rigs that worked for you: rod and leader length esp.; did you need to enter the water?, nymphs or drys(or D/D?). I've got the Shimotsuke 3.6, Nissin's ProSpec 7:3 36/31 and the Daiwa Kiyose 43MF. I'm guessing the longer rod might allow for effective bank fishing. I will be there mid-Sept and am guessing hoppers will be very effective. Many thanks. ClydeO

Jun 29, 2014
by: Shawn

Hi Clyde,

This was my first time to WI. We stayed in Viroqua. I fished my Nissin Pro Spec 2-Way. I used 12' of 3.5 level line with about three feet of 5X tippet. The Killer bugs did the trick although I did catch a few on small brown woolly buggers also. A net comes in handy too. I almost never needed to get in the water. On these particular creeks you might enter the water to cross to the other side, but all of my fishing was done from the bank. (just watch where you step as these creeks all run through cow pastures) The creeks are very narrow. The 12' length allowed me to fish several feet from the bank. I tried to fish in Wildcat Mountain State park but the river was blown out. Tried to fish Tainters creek but I found it to be near jungle like and not conducive to flyfishingI bought a Flyfisher's Guide to WI and IA at my local Orvis store for about $28 and found it very helpful with maps and info on the different watersheds. I bought my license at the local Walmart where I was able to pick up a publication from the DNR that shows all the trout streams and their classifications. I also picked up a "Southwestern Wisconsin Road Map" at a gas station in New Glarus for about $8. It is water resistant and covers all the county roads and shows all the creeks in the area you will be fishing. I found it to be very helpful. I am very anxious to go back. The scenery was beautiful and the people were friendly. Hope this helps.

Jun 29, 2014
Driftless water
by: Clyde Olson

Thanks Shawn, that will be helpful. There is a chunk of bass wood sitting on this desk in front of me left by an otter in Tainter Creek and dated "Tainter Creek WI 8/9/06"---it's bushy, but holds a lot of healthy brown trout. As to your anticipated return to Driftless waters . . . 1) The Driftless Fly Shop in Viroqua is a great place to find what's happening and owner Matt generous with his information. 2) The DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer,of WI of course, is a must have for any state you're thinking of fishing in. Next time you go e-mail me at and I'll give you some streams and with a copy of DeLorme/WI,you'll be kept busy for 4-5 days. Tight lines. ClydeO

Jun 29, 2014
by: Clyde Olson

P.S. After re-reading your post,Shawn,looks to me you already have all the maps you'll need! You just need to know where to go, and as said, I can help you with that. ClydeO

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