Wisconsin's Wet Feet Law

Discussion in 'Fly Tying, Trout Fishing' started by spinner, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

    The "monster" female could be wintering in many different holes on this stretch. This is a likely holding area.

    I did some scouting in Winter of 2010. I typically go fishing a lot with Andy Kurth. Andy is a seasoned angler and he is good at keeping secrets. My quest was rewarded with some new permission to fish a long stretch. I talked to two adjoining land owners and one gave me permission and one in the middle told me "No." I decided the Wisconsin Wet Feet Law was in order for the stretch I had not received permission. Getting permission is always the best method but, when you can not get permission, there is the "Wet Feet Law."

    Wet Feet Law:

    • Navigability determines whether a waterway is public or
    private. Navigable lakes and streams are public waterways.
    • A waterway is navigable if it has a bed and banks and it is
    possible to float a canoe or other small craft at sometime
    of the year—even if only during spring floods.
    • Because they are public, you may use navigable waters for
    fishing, boating, swimming or other recreational activities,
    provided public access is available, or you have permission
    of the land owner to cross their property to reach the
    waterway. Once on a navigable waterway, AS LONG AS

    The only way you are allowed to exit a stream that you are wading on is if there is an obstruction in the waterway. Obstruction is left vague in the regulations on purpose. Some common obstructions are: fences, too deep of water to wade, and trees. When you exit the stream you must take the most direct route around the obstruction. You are not allowed to fish while negotiating the obstruction. You may resume fishing when you are around the obstruction and have re-entered the water.

    All above information was taken directly from the Trout Regulations.

    Bridges are good public access. There is a 33 feet easement on each side of a public bridge to gain entry in to the water. Bridges are also good places to leave the stream on a non-permission waterway.

    Back to trout fishing. Andy was there with bells on opening morning. We were excited to fish the new permissioned area. Andy and I fished the entire stretch. The fishing was amazing. We fished from 9:30am until 5pm. I lost track of the numbers and sizes of trout we caught.

    The best part of the stretch was the part we had to wade. Andy landed his biggest small stream brown to date and lost an absolute monster in the same hole. Andy measured his trout with his fly rod. He took a photo of the fish laying by the rod and we later measured the fly rod.

    Andy measured his rod after he let the trout go. It was 23 inches long. Andy said this trout felt little compared to the "monster."

    I returned after Andy's monster 50 times in 2011 and never was rewarded. Two of my friends donned their waders and waded with me to the hole. Both friends hooked the trout. I got to actually see the wily monster the last day of the season 2011. I am not exaggerating at all. This fish hit right at shore and I got a really good view of it. It hit on a size six panther martin. My other fishing buddy was 11 years old, and the trout nearly pulled the rod out of his hand and one head shake later it was off. The young angler had it on with a night crawler. I estimate the trout at a 31 inch long female. She is long and skinny with many small close together dark colored spots.

    This is Andy's secret fly. He calls it a "UV Stone." It will be on the end of his line on March 02 but the line will be much stronger.

    Andy and I returned numerous times in 2012 to this stretch and no monsters were to be found . Andy and I have a date with her again on 2013 opener. This trout has haunted my dreams for 2 years now. When Andy lost the trout he said it broke the line like it was horse hair. It was so powerful he was over matched. March 02, 2013 Andy and I are going after her again. Andy is sizing up his line and I am going to quit being courteous and fish some of the holes first.
  2. Steve

    Steve Staff Member

    Beautiful pictures and colors as always.