Sunday, April 22, 2018

Trip Report: Beatin' Runoff

A buddy and I planned to fish out of his drift boat today but all of the larger streams in the area are blown out. He decided to stay home while I decided to see if I could beat runoff. After a text from a former co-worker indicated that the extreme southeastern corner of the MN driftless was almost snow free I decided to bite the bullet and go for a drive. I passed numerous streams of different sizes, all blown out. Without much hope I was relieved to reach my intended destination to find crystal clear waters, partly cloudy skies, and hungry fish. I was on stream by 845am. After striking out on the San Juan worm (not a great fly in crystal clear conditions) I tied on a size 16 zebra midge and viola!
 I stood at one pool and landed fish after fish. At one point I hooked into a decent fish of around 16-17 inches but he threw the hook pretty quick. Still, fish continued to gorge on the midge. One fish had a mouth full of the buggers when he came to hand.
I like this trout. He doesn't have the same spunky spots as some of the others. After landing 31 fish out of that pool I moved on. The sun came out as the morning went on and the fishing slowed considerably. Fish started surfacing around 10am and I noticed midges, stoneflies, and bwo mayflies on the water so I tied on a little bwo dry and managed a few more fish.
This large speckled sport took the dry fly along with a dozen or so others. By 1130am I hopped in the car and headed home to tie flies and work on a rod. 43 fish came to hand this morning, not a bad day at all!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Trip Report: Beating the Mud

 This week has been busy. I built a fly rod, repaired a fly rod, and started another one. I also tied up 4 orders for flies and have another order to finish by Monday. When streams clear up likely by Monday on small streams, Tuesday on bigger ones the bwo's should come off fast n furious. By the end of the month caddis flies should follow!
With partly cloudy skies and temps in the 50's it was hard to wait to fish today. I did some shopping with the wife until around noon. I hurried to the stream shortly after and got on the water by around 100pm. I arrived to find conditions much more clear than expected. I planned to cast a deer hair quill bodied mayfly emerger down and across to elicit aggressive strikes from upward looking brookies and browns. There was a really nice dude fishing just off the road and we chit chatted for around a half hour before I headed down stream. Within about 100 yards muddy water poured into the stream off of the surrounding fields. I tied on a size 16 San Juan worm and immediately pulled four fish out of the first pool including these guys!
 A few hundred feet downstream even more mud sullied the stream and I decided to head upstream instead. I tied up a bunch of SJ worms expecting to face runoff conditions. After landing a few little brownies over around 20 minutes the bwo's started poppin! I tied on a size 16 deer hair quill bodied mayfly emerger and started catching brookies like crazy.
The water was more clear further upstream but a good stain on the water concealed my presence well enough that I could cast from close range. The brookies kept coming.
 Around 230pm clarity drastically declined. I tied on the San Juan worm again and managed three or four more trout including this beauty!
I decided around 3pm to head home to tie flies and work on a fly rod. Stay tuned, I think this rod is gonna turn out really nice. Next weekend I'm headed to the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts to chase trout with some good friends, then I'll be on them caddis.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Trip Report: Less Miserable Trout

With temps below freezing streams continue to drop and clear up. I chose to fish in an area that was stocked with some larger than average rainbows last fall. It snowed the whole time I was out making for a beautiful backdrop.
This valley was protected from the wind. The stream had a brownish stain and clarity of around 1.5 feet. I hoped to find some bwo's but only spotted one riser over the two and a half hours I spent on stream.
A few smaller fish came to had before this chunky bow took the size 16 gray zebra midge. I trailed a san juan worm behind the midge and fish also took that fly.
 After landing around a dozen trout I headed over to talk to a gentleman that had just pulled up. He reported around 18 inches north of the cities. He and some friends/family have a get together every spring around opening day where they converge on the area and fish hard for a few days. I felt bad they didn't get better weather although fishing was good and the scenery was some of the best of the year.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Trip Report: Miserable Trout

Today marks the beginning of the regular trout fishing season here in southeastern Minnesota. Despite getting around .5 inches of rain overnight, continuing freezing rain/ice, 40mph winds, and temps in the high 20's I decided to go for it. I headed to one of the few streams that would be fishable today and found conditions much clearer than I expected. I think that freezing temps overnight and freezing rain stopped or slowed any runoff that the rain would have caused.
 Fish ate the San Juan worm trailed behind an orange scud. The scud enticed one small brookie. I hoped to head upstream a ways where the brookies become more prevalent but after about 45 minutes in the pounding winds I was ready to call it a day.
In that time I landed around a half dozen trout, all browns except for the little brookie. I missed the hook set on a few too. The three weight handled pretty well even in such strong winds but I stayed low to the ground and fished with the wind to my back most of the time. Mostly roll casts! I hope to get out again soon. If the winds die down I have a few spots in mind to check out tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Trip Report: Clear Streams and Dry Flies

Yesterday and today I took a few hours off work to do a little fishin'! Yesterday was sunny with a calm breeze and a chill in the air. Temps peaked in the low 40's. The stream was crystal clear and fish were easily spooked. Each little breeze lifted handfuls of small (size 20) black midges off the water. Fish appeared to be eating dries and emergers. The bigger fish appeared to be eating skittering adult midges while smaller fish appeared to sip midges gently from the surface.
I landed a few on a black size 20 Matt's Midge before tying on a quill bodied mayfly emerger. I didn't spot any bwo's but fish didn't seem to mind eatin' the imitation.
I love the look of this fly! I started tying last fall to fish as a sulpher imitation and had great success on a heavily pressured body of water. I figured it would work great in spring and it didn't disappoint.
These fish were a blast on my 7' 9" three weight. Around 1 1/2 dozen came to hand in about 3 hours of fishin'. I missed as many as I brought to hand. The plan was not to get out fishing again until the weekend but after a few cancellations this afternoon I couldn't help but take a few hours of stream therapy. Skies were cloudy and the temp read 37 when I arrived on stream around 330pm. This stream was crystal clear and fish were plentiful.
Fish dimpled on top and immediately showed interest in the quill bodied mayfly emerger. Despite cold temperatures and no mayfly sightings I still managed around 20 fish over two hours. Most were quite small. About half were brookies and half were brownies. Although I plan to fish this weekend we'll see what happens. Saturday looks rainy and Sunday's forecast calls for 5-8 inches of snow!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Trip Report: Jesse and Hog Johnson

Today My buddy and I ventured to a valley far away from our usual haunts. Neither of us have fished this particular stretch of water but I'd heard good things. We were not disappointed! After that stream we hit two others very briefly. We arrived on stream around 830am and immediately tied into a few, mine on streamers and his on a Rapala.
 Fish were aggressive. I tied into a good number of trout but missed some memorable strikes. After a while I tied on a small unweighted San Juan worm. Many fish came to sniff it but only a few would commit.
 After a bunch of hiking a quite a few trout we came upon a long, slow pool which screamed "big trout water"! I was casing and Jesse let me know he hooked into a biggun. I grabbed the net out of his backpack and headed into the drink with the beast, tasked with netting.
Hog Johnson came to the surface and flailed around for a bit. He didn't take any long runs which suggests that he know what he was doing. After a brief and uneventful battle he came to hand and after a few quick pics he was returned to the drink strong. Shortly after landing this beast we headed to another spot.
At this spot BWO's came off as soon as we arrived on stream. I tied on a quill bodied mayfly emerger and immediately tied into trout. After a half dozen or so came to hand the hatch died off.
 I continued to land a few on dries including some that put a good bend in the Whitewater Valley Flies 7' 9" three weight. We wrapped up the afternoon checking out a few streams on the way home. We found cars at a bunch of access points so people are getting out and chasing trout. Check out Whitewater Valley Flies for your fly and fly rod needs!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Trip Report: Brookies and Chocolate Milk

After checking out a few medium sized streams this morning and finding nothing more than chocolate milk I spend the morning and early afternoon with the wifey while she's on the mend from a cold. On the way home from picking up groceries we checked out a small stream in the area and to my surprise it was running high and dirty, but fishable! I brought the groceries in and put 'em away before hopping in the Subi and heading to the stream. I arrived on stream around 1pm and tied on a size 16 San Juan worm.
I immediately tied into brookies. Even though I mostly land browns out of this stretch in clear, sunny conditions today I landed a ton of brookies. Some nice ones too!
 As the afternoon went on the stream become more and more cloudy. The fish didn't seem to mind and the brookies kept coming.
This guy came from a shallow run. You can tell by his pale appearance that he spends most of his time in clear, shallow water. I noticed plenty of midges coming off but saw no risers. I tied on a small gray zebra midge with a sunken size 20 matt's midge trailed behind.
This was the nicest brookie of the day! After around 230 the fishing slowed way down as more and more dirty water flooded into the stream from the surrounding fields. I managed to land a few more fish before calling it a day.
 By the time I headed home around 5pm the stream was completely unfishable. Around 30 trout came to hand. Multiple brookies came from each run and I managed around 7-8 browns too. I briefly hooked one on a streamer that must've been around 16 or 17 inches. I ran into two nice fellas on the stream today. It was nice to bs about fishing and now I've got a few new spots to check out!