Fly Fishing the Midwest's Driftless Area

Tilted beds of the Middle Precambrian Thompson...

Image via Wikipedia

In The New York Times, Gustave Axelson follows cow trails through one of the U.S.’s least-accessed but most promising trout fisheries, the Driftless region straddling the borders of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. “The word ‘driftless’ refers to the lack of gravelly drift in the region from the last glaciation 12,000 years ago. The Wisconsonian glacier that plowed under much of the upper Midwest missed this pocket of more than 600 spring-fed creeks, and so the Driftless endures as 500-million-year-old karst country, where steep forested valleys descend into shadowed coulees.”

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  • Brian Larson

    That is not a picture of the driftless area. We have few pines and mostly limestone. That looks like a stream headed into Superior.

  • Cathy Ransier

    There was a wonderful book on this region done by Midnight Paper Sales-
    About Mayflies of this region. It is a collector title and if you have any interest in this area and it’s insects, I recommend this highly. Very unique. Fascinating area of the US due to it’s “lack of drift”and the resulting evolution of insects.

  • Dan Hutjens

    This photo is of the St. Louis River in MN. However, the St. Louis river is NOT in the Driftless Area.

  • fishcopper

    Looks like a real nice area. Have never fish this area, would like to try it sometime. I usually stay in the Rockies. The sad part is they allow spinners and taking.