West Fork Kickapoo River Fishing Report near Viroqua, Wisconsin
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Fishing Tips for the West Fork of the Kickapoo River
by Nathan F
on December 19th
What is better than little, gentle creeks in a picturesque setting that contains tons of trout? Let me know if you think of anything because I am stumped. I guess the average size of the fish here could be a little better (there are lots of big ones here though) but can you really complain when at the head of a small pool you see a dozen 9-12 inch brown trout rising to the surface with a 16 incher mixed in? An added bonus to fishing the west fork of the Kickapoo River is that casting is easy and the DNR has obtained easements along most of the stream so all you have to do is close the gate behind you. As far as the state of the fishery above the Highway 82 bridge is class one which means it has enough natural reproduction that is can sustain its self. Below that bridge it turns into a class 2 which means stocking is necessary but lots of adults hold over. In 1996 lots of regional Trout Unlimited chapters as well as many other agencies started the Kickapoo Watershed Project with the aim to improve the habit enough that the native brook trout will flourish again as well as create a model for other streams around the country. I don't know what happened with the model but I do know that the habit restoration is working and the brook trout are getting better and better every year. In most places the west branch flows through grasslands but in other places it flows through thick brush. Shade blockers installed with the Watershed Project block the sun in the areas where no natural cover exists. If you like catching 16 inch browns I would try to fish the catch and release area from the State Route 82 Bridge upstream to the bridge in Blooming Dale. For the most part the West branch can be easily waded but the fish are easily spooked so you might want to try casting from shore. As for fishing tips try fishing March Browns in May. Sulphers are best in June. Light Cahills, Yellow Sallies, and Elkhair Caddis work throughout the year. From July on Ants, hoppers, beetles, or crickets casted right next to the bank can draw strikes on even the slowest days. If you want big fish try fishing Muskrats, Gray Woolly Buggers, and Muddlers at dusk. If you find that there are more anglers on the main branch then you would like to contend with try fishing the inlets which are in and of themselves really good fisheries. Good luck fishing!
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