Kurtis and Friend

Last week my friend Kurtis and I(see snake video on video page) spent 2 days exploring the Big Green River, west of Fennimore and north of Werley, Wisconsin. We base camped about 28 miles away in Iowa, just over the border from Prairie Du Chein, Wisconsin. This location, at Marquette/ Macgregor, provided us with a free spot to park the mobile home. A small River Boat Casino called the Lady Luck (not true) was attached to the parking lot where we were allowed to park for free. The casino, along with the friendliest Iowans, provided an incredible breakfast buffet for $6.00 as well as dinner Buffet for $10.50. We were well fed to say the least, and slept like babies despite the frog swamp that the motor home was backed up to. The frogs were as loud as a rock concert and provided for a loud but soothing entry into deep sleep.


My drive took me along HWY 61 on the Minnesota side to the crossover at Wisconsin 35, La Crosse. This is an incredibly scenic drive and provides a wealth of history about the Mississippi and of the Native American/early settlement interaction and conflict. There are some great points of interest if you stop and read the Historical markers.  I try always to stop in Viroqua and visit my friend Matt Wagner at the Driftless Angler. He has built a top notch Fly Shop and has the best information on the surrounding trout streams. His staff of guides including my friend Pete Cozad will provide for all of your needs. The ticket last week was Caddis, and I bought some of the most innovative fly patterns, both dry and pupa that produced fish throughout my stay. Their fly selection is the best!


The Big Green was a delight to fish. Described in Humphrey’s and Shogren’s book, I could not have worded it better. “All pasture, a lot of deep runs, you couldn’t find an easier stream in the whole wide world to fish.”  The pasture setting made for easy casting. The waters character was a combination of high gradient plunges and deepish runs with pools 5-8 feet deep. The stream was not wide by any means and reminded me of the upper Kinni but with much deeper water and higher gradient. The deep water and rocky edges made places for big fish to hide. A note: If you fish this river, get used to fishing with both beef and dairy cows. They can be curious, but they do not bite(as far as I know)! The pasture setting includes the cows, and they will randomly cross the river and send cow pies down stream. Twice, I had to side step poop bombs that threatened to soil my waders.

Stocking Truck


The location of the Big Green is a destination for anglers from both the Madison, Wisconsin area as well as Chicago anglers. Although we fished Wednesday through Friday, there was still a fair amount of angler traffic. All the folks we talked to were courteous and friendly and the number of river miles made it easy to find water to fish.


Some fish in the 16-20 inch range were caught and released. Kurtis fished dries and myself wets. Both of us caught fish. The biggest fish were sitting at the front lips of the plunges and drops that are abundant on this river. After comparing notes, we both decided that moving flies as opposed to dead drifting produced more fish.

At the end of the day I would recommend this river to any angler, beginner or experienced. The ease of fishing, the numbers of fish, the beauty and history, all make fishing this river a pleasurable experience……to experience.