Fly Fishing Upper Wisconsin in October


What is it they say…”The best laid plans of mice and men”; for over 6 months I had been planning a trip to do some fly fishing in upper (northern) Wisconsin over my fall break from school. Down to the minutia I made sure that camper, vehicle, rods, reels, lines, flies, etc…were all lined up, planned out and ready to go. Seems like I forgot one item…I didn’t communicate with Mother Nature! The week before arriving the Hayward area received 8 inches of rain; in fact we drove in on the tail end of those 8 inches. Sunday, our first day to fish, well, it was beautiful. Yep, a high pressure area followed the torrential rains and left us with a double whammy of rain and high pressure. If all of this sounds like I am leading up to an excuse, well, maybe, probably….nah, not really.

The fishing wasn’t awful. It wasn’t like we fished all week and didn’t catch any fish (as you will see by watching the video)…but I was disappointed. The rivers and streams were all up and the flow was heavy. If you have ever tried much fishing for toothy critters like pike and musky then you know that these conditions made an already tough task, even tougher. At one point we talked to a group of guys from Iowa, nine of them. They had been on Moose Lake for 3 days and in total had caught just 3 fish!

So, as you watch the video….keep the weatherman in mind as we were not fighting a fair fight. Ah, but quit isn’t in my DNA and through the week I managed to catch a few very nice largemouth bass, a few browns, one gorgeous brookie and several pike. As I said, the weather was perfect for sightseeing….just not for fly fishing for a 50 inch musky. We persisted and in fact did fish all three sections of the upper Namekagon River; from the outflow at Namakagon Lake all the way to the confluence of the river with the St. Croix. We also fished a number of small to large lakes.

In the end…it was an enjoyable and very educational week. I know more now than I did before the week began. That is how you get better…you learn from mistakes and tweak those along the way. For sure…can’t do anything about the weather.

One more note; if heading north to Hayward…don’t pass GO and don’t collect your $200 dollars until you go and visit Larry at The Hayward Fly Fishing Company. Not only is he (and his wife Wendy) just a really nice guy; but he is for sure ‘The Man’ when it comes to northern Wisconsin. He can point you in the many directions you need to go and probably save you some time and money along the way. Each time I visit I enjoy his company more and more and wish I were a few hours closer.

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