Mike Warren – Driftless Region, of WI/MN/IA.

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Mike guides the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. Some stream names of note are Timber Coulee Creek, The West Fork of the Kickapoo and the Bad Axe River to name three well known waterways. Depending on conditions Mike usually fishes the many tributaries to these. The fishing is about 95% brown and brook trout that measure between 7 and 12” with some reaching upwards of 15-18”. Nearly all the streams he fishes with clients are 100% natural reproduction streams, are naturally spring fed and have water temperatures in mid summer of under 60-63 degrees. The PRIME season is April 15th through Fathers Day and Labor Day to closing on October 15th. But, understanding there are some warm days fishing can be excellent in July and August with some amazing hopper action!

July 1, 2016

Mike Warren is a tenkara guide in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.

From Mike:


I have been using Tenkara USA products since 2012 and integrated tenkara into my guided offering in 2014. I’ve seen this wave from the beginning, and people genuinely enjoy the relaxed simplicity of Tenkara. Our curvy, short-run Driftless region streams are a perfect match for the accuracy, stealth, and direct connect theory of tenakra.
I was initially introduced to tenkara via some YouTube videos and saw it as an alternative to western fishing in our cold winter months. The following Spring, I was hooked and continued to use my tenkara equipment more and more, finding it a fantastic way to catch more fish and improve my skills. Today, I use tenkara equipment about 60% of the time when fishing myself and more and more when guiding.


I started guiding in the Driftless area in 2009 after noticing so many visitors fished only the most heavily fished locations with easy access points. I enjoy sharing our beautiful region, know a ton of water, and love helping people catch some fish, so a small business opportunity was born. Initially, thinking about 20 days a year would be fun; now, a dozen-plus years later, I’ve guided well over 500 clients. I have retired from my other career and will guide about 100-110 days during our busy season, stretching from April 15 to October 15.

I realized long ago that the day needs to be fun for clients and me, so I try to avoid the “cookie cutter” days by making every Driftless experience unique by matching streams to a client’s desires, physical abilities, and fishing background. I also try to make your day a complete experience. I offer up a little Driftless history, provide more upscale meals, can provide a wide variety of rental equipment (Including an assortment of Tenkara USA rods and Orvis waders/boots.), and always pick clients up in a clean, well-equipped vehicle.

It’s a great retirement gig, a fun way to make a few dollars and as one of my clients said while we stood knee-deep in a beautiful Driftless trout stream, “Mike, I gotta say — I love your office.”

Mike Warren and Daniel Galhardo tenkara in the Driftless regiontroutbuddy_LG

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7 Responses to Mike Warren – Driftless Region, of WI/MN/IA.

  1. Alex Mendez says:

    Mike Let’s try to get a date on the books in September…..I’d love to hire you to take me fishing!! Call me this week at Butterfield CC.


  2. Dave Noll says:

    I have been out with Mike twice and can say that he really knows the Driftless Area of SW Wisconsin. He is a really good teacher and a day with Mike includes a really good lunch. We will definitely hook up again.

  3. Eric says:

    I followed Mike’s recommendation and signed on for the Dusk and Dawn package. After a few basic questions about my fishing abilities and the gear I was planning on using, he had a plan crafted as to where to take me fishing, complete with fallback options should access points be occupied. I had a really fun evening of fishing, catching a bunch of browns and a nice big and feisty brookie. Mike was really patient and encouraging, and readily shared his knowledge about Tenkara casting techniques, reading the stream, approach angles, fish vision, and so forth. I learned a ton. Based on our discussions during the evening session, and after assessing my casting ability and making recommendations on how to tweak my gear, he changed the plan for the dawn session and brought me to a stream with a bit more of an approach, which I appreciated. Again I learned a great deal about casting technique, structure identification, current reading, fish holding spot identification, fly selection, and plans of attack based on efficiency and effectiveness. I hooked into more fish than ever before, including two browns which were the biggest I’d ever caught. Such a great time. When not fishing, Mike is a font of knowledge about the Driftless region in general. He’s also very professional and sticks to the agreed upon schedule. I highly recommend Mike as a guide, and am already looking into scheduling another session or two with him before the season closes.

  4. Dan Van Buskirk says:

    I am the co -founder of Guitars 4 Vets and i live to fish!! I work with mostly combat vets. For my own therapy i need to become very good at Tenkara because i love the concept of Samarae to mtn fisherman. The simplicity movement and connection of Tenkara really appeals to me. Can you teach me the art and the driftless area? I also have a 10 foot european nymph rod along with two Tenkara rods. I want to fish for brookies and browns big water and small water. I will also take my canoe, and labrador Retriever Folger out with me for nature and smallie fishin (with a heavier rod than stream) closer to home here in wauwatosa.

  5. Dan Van Buskirk says:

    I will be going to Rocky Moutain National Park near the end of May to hang out with friends and hopefully to get away briefly and Tenkara fish! When i come back i have the whole summer to learn Tenkara here at homebrookies

  6. Steve DeMars says:

    I am interested in trying this intriguing type of fishing. Please let me know if you have any available date early this year. I have not purchased any equipment yet as I would like to understand this process before I take the bait ( fishing joke).

    Steve DeMars

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