Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The West Fork of the
Kickapoo River, Wisconsin
The West Fork of the Kickapoo is a part of the Driftless
Region that takes in four states and over 600 spring
creeks. This stream has a tremendous amount of work
that has been done by people willing to spend time and
money for the stream's restoration. It contains some
very nice brown trout. Trout over twelve inches are
common and those going up to eighteen inches are not
The Little town of Avalanche lies in the middle of a nine
mile long section of "catch and release only" water. Its
population of trout has been greatly improved with the
rules set forth. Other areas of the stream also have a
very good population of trout.
Much of the stream lies in open pasture land that's
directly exposed to the sun. There are some undercut
banks and some areas with tree cover. Because it is fed
from limestone springs, the creeks ideal pH level
provides an perfect habitat for many species of aquatic
insects that the trout can fed on year-round. The
constant water temperature keeps the streams from
freezing over in the coldest winter days and cool during
the hot summer.
Most of the small river flows at a fairly steady rate of flow
but heavy rain can create high water levels. It can also
dingy the water and at times. There are a few areas of
slow to moderate riffles and runs but the stream consist
mostly of smooth, slow to moderate flowing water.
West Fork, Kickapoo
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
A general season and early catch and
Spring is great provided the water levels are
Fly Fishing Guide to the West Fork of the
The West Fork requires good presentations and a
stealthy approach. It is best to fish from the banks
wherever it is possible to reach the area of water you
need to get your fly to. Wading just adds to your
chances of spooking the trout, although it may be
necessary just to get the fly to many places the brown
trout may be hiding or feeding.
There are a few rainbow and a few brook trout but most
all of the trout are brown trout. Brown trout are not
prone to be out in open water unless it is very overcast
or cloudy. They stay hidden most of the day and you
must get your fly in just the right spot or you want be
Knowing when and what is hatching, and how to go
about imitating it the right way, is going to greatly
increase you odds. Just as important as the actual
hatch is the insects that are about to hatch. That is
when mayflies, caddisflies and midges are most
exposed to the trout. They cannot stay hidden and
hatch. Fishing a mayfly nymph, or imitation of a caddis
or midge larva at the right time prior to a hatch often
brings success. The hatches section will provide the
information on the hatches and most plentiful insects in
Stealth is of utmost importance. You cannot catch a
large brown trout if it is aware of your presence unless
maybe it is protecting its redd. Brown trout spawn in the
fall and become much easier to catch. You should alway
stay low (keep a low profile) and conceal yourself as
best you can by dressing in clothing that's the same
color of the background.
Long, light leaders and tippets should be used. Heavy
leaders and tippets will alert the trout in any of the
smoother sections of water. It also helps to have more
realistic flies. Attractor flies may work every once in a
while in the riffles but not in the smooth water. Our
Perfect Flies are perfect for catching spring creek trout.
West Fork Kickapoo River Hatches
and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and nymphs,
not guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all the
insects in the West Fork of the Kickapoo
River and in all stages of life that are
applicable to fishing. If you want to fish better,
more realistic trout flies, have a much higher
degree of success, give us a call. We not
only will help you with selections, you will learn
why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92% of the
thousands of our customers will use nothing
The relatively high pH and excellent water
chemistry for aquatic insects insures the trout
grow and stay healthy and also that anglers
who can imitate the insects well enough can
catch plenty of trout.
The first insects to hatch are the Blue-winged
Olives. The start in April and hatch through
the first week or two of June. They hatch
again in late August through September.
These consist of several different species
ranging from baetis species that's a hook size
16 or 18 down to small BWOs size 20.
Hendricksons and Red Quills hatch in April
and May but are not very plentiful This is
strictly a hit or miss hatch. From about the
middle of May through July you will find plenty
of Sulphurs. These are a hook size 16 and
one of the better hatches. From late May all
the way through June, wherever you find
some faster moving water you'll likely find
American March Browns. These are around a
hook size 12.
From about the middle of July through the
month of September is Trico time. These
are very plentiful and in all the slow to
There's several species of caddisflies but
the most plentiful are as follows. Little
Black Caddis or the Brachycentrus
species called American Grannoms hatch
starting in April and last for about a month
depending on the location.
Cinnamon Caddis of several species are
most plentiful and hatch from May
through September. Spotted Sedges are
also present and hatch from the first of
June through July.
There's a few Little Yellow Stoneflies,
hook size 14. They are found mostly in
the faster water. They start hatching in
May and extend through about half of the
month of June.
The Kickapoo River has tons of terrestrial
insects. Beetles, Ants and hoppers are
plentiful. We recommend using imitations
of them starting in mid June through
September. July and August are best for
The river also has a population of scuds.
Don't overlook them. Also, there's plenty
of baitfish, minnows and sculpin. We
suggest streamers anytime there's low
light or off colored water.
Summer fishing is usually very good.
Fall may be the best time for fly fishing the
Kickapoo River for its large brown trout.
West Fork Kickapoo River Fly Fishing
04/29/14 The fishing season opens this
coming Saturday. Expect high water levels. Be
sure to let us hear from your fishing trips.
Streamers recommended when stream levels
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Fishing Report Updated 09/20/18
(Bottom Of Page)
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
05/06/14 No reports from anyone fishing
this past week. The river has been high
but dropping back down to good levels.
05/13/14 We can't get a reading on the
USGS station (must be brokien) but
chances are good the levels are high. No
reports from anyone fishing this past
05/20/14 There rain forecast for today but
clear for the next week. It will also be much
warmer and conditions should improve.
06/03/14 Stream levels were getting in
good shape a couple of days ago and
then rose high again. Conditions should
be great soon. Keep a check on the
05/27/14 Stream levels are falling and
getting much warmer. Expect several
hatches to begin soon. Blue-winged
Olives, Blue Quills, Little Black Caddis
and of course, sculpin streamers.
06/10/14 Stream levels are still high. Keep
a close check on them. It is possible to fish
with streamers but that is about it right
06/17/14 Fishing has been good this
past week but the stream levels has shot
back up high. Hopefully, they will improve
as the week goes by.
06/25/14 Stream levels are still high and
hampering the fishing opportunities. It
should be dropping soon and getting
better. Streamers should work now.
07/08/14 Stream levels are still high but
gradually improving. A few trout are
being caught, mostly on streamers.
Conditions should improve this week.
07/22/14 Customers reporting stream
levels are down, lots of hatches are taking
place and plenty of trout being caught.
07/29/14 More good fishing reports came
in from customers ordering more flies this
past week. Lots of trout are being caught.
Terrestrial insects are plentiful along the
banks and imitations of them should begin
to work good.
08/12/14 Stream levels are perfect and
customers are reporting plenty of trout
being caught. Terrestrials are being to work
but Light Cahills and Little Yellow stoneflies
are still the top flies.
09/02/14 Two customers reporting great
fishing until the stream levels rose from
heavy rain three or four days ago. They are
back down near normal. Terrestrials are
working good. Japanese Beetles and
09/16/14 Stream levels are normal and
the water much cooler. Anglers are
continuing to catch trout using terrestrials.
Two good reports from this past week.
09/23/14 No reports from this past week.
There have been water level problems but
that has improved and conditions are much
10/07/14 Anglers reporting some nice browns
being caught. Water levels are in good shape
and browns in the pre-spawn mode. Our
Brown Sculpin is the top fly at this time.
10/14/14 Stream levels are a little high
and on the way up more. Conditions will
be much better near the weekend.
10/21/14 Stream levels are back in good
shape and conditions for catching some nice
browns are good. No reports from last week.
10/28/14 Keep in mind that only the catch and
release section is open. Still no reports from
last week probably due to high water levels.
01/05/15 Season will begin the first weekend
of March 2015.
04/13/15 The water levels are down near
normal and warming up fast. Small BWO
nymphs and midges work best now but llook
for Little Black Caddis and Blue quills soon.
04/20/15 The stream is still down but headed
up. Watch the levels. Rain is forecast.
04/27/15 Stream levels are in good shape
and water warming up fast. Let us hear from
05/04/15 The water temps are rising but so is
the water but that should be temporary. Two
anglers reported catching trout this past week.
05/18/15 Good conditions and lots of hatches
starting up, including Quill Gordons, Blue
Quills, BWOs, Am. March Browns, Little Black
caddis, Little Brown stoneflies
05/25/15 Stream levels are up and more rain
forecast, so watch the levels. Streamers
should be effective.
06/08/15 Stream levels in good shape and
lots of hatches taking place. Several good
reports from customers.
06/15/15 Stream levels have been high but
falling out fast. March Browns, Cinnamon
Caddis, Green Sedges and others hatching.
06/29/15 Stream levels are back in good
shape with lots of hatches taking place. This is
as good as it will get.
07/06/15 Light Cahills, Cinnamon caddis and
several other hatches taking place. Great
07/13/15 Excellent stream levels and lots of
hatching. Customers are catching lots of trout.
07/20/15 Sulphurs have started to hatch and
more good reports coming in.
08/03/15 Good stream levels, hatches taking
place and customers are catching plenty of
08/10/15 Nor reports from anglers but excellent
stream levels and hatches taking place.
08/17/15 Lots of tricos and hopper heaven.
Lots of trout being caught.
08/31/15 Customer reported catching a 18
inch brown this past week on the Brown
Sculpin. Good stream levels and conditions.
09/07/15 Conditions are fine but changing
fast. I would stick with little BWO nymphs and
duns when they hatch and sculpin streamers.
09/21/15 Great stream levels, good hatches
of BWOs, Mahogany Duns, Slate Drakes
and great fall like weather.
09/28/15 This is the last week of the regular
10/26/15 Trout fishing season opens again
Jan. 1, 2016. New regulations haven't come
out yet, so be sure and check back with us.
02/29/16 Just to check in and let you know it is
never too early to plan that next fly fishing trip.
We can help you do that. Send us and email
and any questions you have. Address above.
03/14/16 The stream levels are down near
normal and much of the snow and ice melted
thanks to the recent warm weather. The water
is up to 42 degrees and midges are hatching
good. Fish from Avalanche campground
03/28/16 Stream levels are up too high to
safely wade most places but falling.
04/11/16 The stream is a little high, too high to
safely wade most places, and the water around
43 degrees. Midges, winter stoneflies and little
BWO nymphs are the flies you need to use.
04/25/16 The stream level is in good shape
and the water slowly warming up. Blue Quills, ,
and Little Black Caddis should start hatching
05/09/16 The creek levels are fine with warming
water and Blue-winged olives, Blue Quills, little
Black Caddis and other insects hatching.
05/16/16 Two good reports from recent
outings. Customers are catching good
numbers of trout. Hatches and scuds are
working. Sculpin streamers are working good.
05/30/16 Stream levels are just a little above
normal with lots of insects hatching. A. March
Browns, Light Cahills, BWOs and others. Shoot
us an email and we will provide you a list.
06/06/16 The stream levels are in good shape
and at a good level for wading right now. Our
customers are reporting some nice catches.
06/20/16 Stream levels are back down in good
shape. Lots of insects hatching and our
customers reported good results yesterday.
07/04/16 Excellent condition with a lot of trout
being caught. Lots of hatching insects. The last
two hours of the day, with egg laying caddis
and spinner falls, has been fantastic.
07/25/16 Rain has the creek up and in good
shape, with some stain making it easier. Tricos
are hatching good. Terrestrials are working.
08/15/16 There are Slate drakes, Tricos, little
BWOs, and lots of Cinnamon Caddisflies
hatching. Terrestrials are also working good.
08/29/16 Stream levels are staying a little high
making wading difficult and not safe in most
sections. There are lots of hatching insects.
You have to fish from the banks.
09/12/16 Good BWO hatches are taking place
but stream levels are high again making wading
tough to not safe. Two good reports from last
weekend with customers fishing Sculpin
10/15/16 A reminder that the season closes on
11/14/16 The Catch and Release season is
going good, with warmer than normal weather
and good water conditions. Blue-winged olives
and Cream midges are working best.
01/15/17 The early season "Catch and Release"
season is underway. We didn't receive any
report from the past week. Let us hear from you.
01/30/17 We still are waiting on a report. The
weather was warm a week ago but back chilly.
Midges, Creams and Reds, and Winter
stoneflies are hatching.
02/20/17 The weather is very warm with
temperatures up to sixty degrees but still lots of
ice and stained water due to melting snow.
03/13/17 It is back to the normal cold of winter.
Midges, Creams and Reds, are hatching. Fish
the larva and pupa rigged in tandem.
03/28/17 The stream levels is up a little high,
too high to wade but only slightly stained.
Customers have been catching good
numbers of trout around the Avalanche area.
04/24/17 The regular season opens in less
than a week. The water is a little high but warm
and some hatches are already underway.
05/01/17 The regular season is open. Hatches
are Quill gordons, blue quills, little brown
stoneflies, little black caddis, and Blue-winged
olives. The stream levels are high.
05/15/17 The stream levels are still a little too
high for safe wading but falling fast. Lots of
hatches are taking place. You can fish much of
the stream from the banks.
05/22/17 Stream levels are still high but
otherwise, conditions are good.
06/06/17 Stream levels are down but still a
little high. It can be waded with caution in
places and is dropping. Lots of hatches are
06/26/17 High water levels have been a
problem lately but it is dropping and parts of it
are okay to wade with caution. Lots of
hatches are taking place and conditions
should continue to improve fast.
07/10/17 Stream levels are still very high. We
think they will be falling out this week and in
good shape soon. There are lots of hatches
07/17/17 Stream levels are down a lot and the
stream is turning out trout for our customers.
Sulphurs, Light cahills, Little Yellow stones,
Cinnamon caddis, and others. Send us an email.
07/24/17 Two more good reports from the past
week. Terrestrials are starting to work good.
07/31/17 Stream levels are high, to high to
wade safely in most places, but falling.
Hopefully, it will be down very soon.
08/14/17 Finally in good shape with trout being
caught. Lots of hatches still taking place. Shoot
us an email for a fly list.
09/04/17 The stream levels are a little high
and wading safe with caution in a few places,
too high in others. Streamers (Brown Sculpin)
are catching some nice trout. Still some good
hatches and terrestrials are also working good.
09/11/17 Good conditions continue. Stream
levels are still a little high but okay. We
received two good reports from customers.
09/18/17 We received two more good reports
of trout being caught. Conditions are good.
10/02/17 The stream is high and can only be
waded in a few places with caution. There are
lots of Mahogany duns, Great Autumn Brown
sedges and Blue-winged olives hatching.
10/16/17 The special catch and release season
and section of the river is in effect. The regular
trout season closed the first of October.
04/03/18 There are some decent fly fishing
opportunities with cream and light green
midges. Fish the larva and pupa imitations
rigged in tandem. The water is near 40
degrees clear of slush ice.
04/19/18 Stream levels are in good shape
and the water should start getting warmer.
Midges, scuds and aquatic worms are working.
05/03/18 The river is very high, or blown out.
It is too high to fish. Check back with us. We
will keep you informed.
05/10/18 Stream levels are down a lot but still
too high to wade. You can fish it from the banks.
05/24/18 Stream levels are a little high, too
high to wade in places, okay in
others.Blue-winged Olives, Blue Quills, Little
Black Caddis and sculpin streamers.
06/21/18 The stream is a little high but okay to
wade with caution. There are lots of hatches
taking place and trout being caught.
06/28/19 The stream levels are down and in
good shape and lots of hatches continue.
This coming week should be a good one.
07/05/18 Condtions are very good and lots
of trout are being caught. There ar multiple
hatches going on . Send us an email for a
list of recommended flies.
07/19/18 The stream is in good shape with
good levels and lots of insects hathing. Send
us an email for a fly list:
07/26/18 Rain showers and Thunderstorms
often help the fishing conditions - stain the
water and make the fish more active. Good
reports are coming in.
08/02/18 Stream levels are just a little above
normal and falling. Lots of hatches and trout
08/16/18 The stream levels are on the way
up and the stream high but should fall back
soon. Conditions have been very good.
09/06/18 Trout were being caught in good
numbers before the high water. It is very high
and stained but should drop back down fast.
09/20/18 The stream is at 911 cfs at 6.43 ft,
or very high, too high to wade. It can only be
fished from the banks until it drops.