This went down yesterday. Arrival time 1pm, departure ~7:30pm. The Grey Caddis had been going for a while when we arrived, I bet on the nicer days with low winds/higher air temps (55°F+) they’d kick off maybe as early as 10/11am. They were going basically all day and the trout followed. The downside was the low/gin clear water, it amplified every mistake and an anxious fly angler looking to pound trout with ease would be wise to learn from my mistakes yesterday… slow… d…o..w.n. Give the run and the trout time to rest, stay low, be patient. Lord I bet I’d have caught twice the numbers if I would have been a bit less eager to pound them like I have in previous years. When the waters up and you have a cushion or even a bit of stain you can make those mistakes and get away with it, here and now…you can’t. Get out while you can, tomorrow may be beautiful between the supposed showers and with the higher air temp I bet things will work out well for the dry fly angler. Go find a blue line and I bet most will have something like this going down over the next week or more. Good luck, I’ll post the photos from yesterday (some of them are awesome, right Carl?) and an additional bug report later, I’ve also got a couple missed days I need to catch up on.
Tags: Brown Trout, Fly Fishing, Grey Caddis, The Driftless Area, The Winona Fly Factory
Continuing my streak of April fishing I popped into a couple places I’ve been thinking about and did the usual, bumped a few trout. Nothing special per-se about this day other than the fact that a Dogger came to hand and the first Morel Mushrooms of the season were found and later promptly consumed. The afternoon was typical of the week, sunny skies, a bit of wind with a good air temp in the upper 50′s/lower 60′s. Gin clear creek water sitting about a foot low holding lots of spooky trout was what I found while I hiked downstream. I spent the afternoon fishing solo, tossed a few Grey Caddis flies and threw the Hairball when I wasn’t feeling like landing a smaller trout on a dry fly. Relaxation, no real time constraints makes for a slow
going angler. Ho-Humming it as a friend would say.
I fished up the first creek watching the typical scene unfold, skittering caddis showing up a bit earlier at ~12pm and lasting until I left that particular creek in the mid afternoon. Most of the trout taken on a dry fly were smaller but agressive making for a good show. Due to the pool depth on this particular peice of water I opted to fish a #8 Hairball with a tungsten bead, this fly sinks…fast. The downside is that it has a tendency to spook trout if not presented delicatly. High sticking I dropped this fly in most holes I couldn’t see the bottom of even with the gin clear flows. On one particular pool I lifted my rod up only to have my line pull back, this bad boy was hooked and he did not want to hang out with me. This nicer male gets the hardest fighter award for the season so far, he simply did not, would not allow me to get close enough to land him for a good couple minutes. Normally this isn’t the case but he refused and after finally wearing him down a bit we hung out. Due to his stubborness I made sure to handle him with care and do my best to see he was fully revived before allowing him to take off, that fish made my day but… it was not over yet.
After knocking a dogger there is only one thing to do, go home drink a beer, make dinner and gear up to head out in search of night fishing opportunities. I met up with Carl, we headed to a most excellent valley and began the hike in. We arrived early enough to burn a couple hours searching the forest floor for a treasure I had yet to experience the fun of hunting…Morel mushrooms. Carl being an expert on the subject took the time to really give me the run down on what we were searching for, this guy knows his stuff. He had spied a handful of trees on previous outings that he knew would be holding fungus booty. Tiny Grey Morel’s were the first spotted, a handful on April 5th, something he wasn’t expecting at all. Three weeks early and in larger quantities, we were both stoked. A bit further down the rabbit hole and we came across a larger load of Yellow Morel’s, the hunt had offically gotten to me and I knew this would be something I would be doing solo very soon. Paying attention to Carl’s advice and asking a few questions posed me to hit the mushroom hunt on my own later. As the moon rose we knew it would be a bright one. Headlamps NOT required under a full moon with clear skies. Conditions like this have been problimatic for mousing in the past, typically we’ve noted that the fish are more apprehensive and targeting the shaded areas of the creek are more sucessful. With few fish coming up for the mouse I opted to swap to a streamer to see if the moon light on the creek would react with the flash in my fly to force a trout to strike. In a word…yes. The night fishing thing is still a mystery and much trial and error still needs to occur to hone the situation to more of a science. One thing is for certain though… a driftless area valley in the moonlight is a magical place.
Tags: Brown Trout, Fly Fishing, Morel Mushrooms, Mousing, Night Fishing, Streamer Fishing, The Driftless Area, The Winona Fly Factory
I fished for some portion of each day following the opener on the first. Fished different water and saw Grey Caddis and Baetis coming off regularly. The Grey Caddis kicked in most days around the 12-1pm range and continued to bring trout up through the early evening hours. The larger #14-16 flies showed up first and as the days progressed the smaller #18-20 flies arrived later. I spent one afternoon fishing the SMB and a #18 Grey Caddis imitation back to back. I’d approach a spot and knock the handful of smaller trout willing to take the dry fly then proceed to target the larger trout with the streamer. I remember sitting on a boulder in the middle of the creek with my feet in the creek thinking how excellent things can get. With my abundance of free time I plan to spend as many hours out of cell phone range as possible, the fishing will continue and continue to get better. When I wasn’t fishing the Grey Caddis hatch I was targeting some new non-designated water for larger trout. I rolled a couple nicer trout but missed them, my concolation prize… a couple Northern Pike with one pushing the 24inch mark, not bad for the 3wt.
Tags: April, Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, Grey Caddis, Spring Trout Fishing, The Driftless Area, The Winona Fly Factory, Trout
Spent pretty much the entire day fishing on the 1st. Met up with Sershen early and fished the Five S. Bumped my first fish on the fourth cast, turns out it would be the longest for the day. I fished the SMB and the JB (Jungle Boogie) pretty much all day. Got to check up on one of my favorite creeks in Southeast Minnesota, enjoy the sun and do what I’ve grown to love, target trout on the snaggiest creek I know of. Airtemp in the morning was ~44 or so on arrival, overcast with minimal wind. The creek was a bit low and stained, ideal for what I wanted to do. Pretty damn good considering last April 22nd, I have notes fishing this spot at 8:30am with an airtemp of ~40. Fish took streamers in the shallower ~3ft deep portions of the creek but hesitated in the deep pools.
Moved out to fish another spot after Sershen and I split. I used the wind at my back to propel my heavy flies with a roll cast. As the early afternoon wore on the Grey Caddis came out for a solid two hours from 1-3pm (some days it lasted much later in the day). As I would see first hand this was the case pretty much everyday this first week of the season. A couple hard fighting fat browns were seen during the short time between fishing with Sershen and when I met up with Carl. I wanted to put Carl on water that was out of his element, no dry flies here, just fat streamers, dark water and big trout. We fished the later afternoon into early evening landing a good number of brown trout before pulling off to hit the night fishing spot to end the day. The fishing was good, not the best but better than the last C&R opener, either way I would have been satisfied not catching a thing. Being able to hike and fish all the water I’ve missed for the last few months made the day awesome and knowing that for the next few months I can pick up and fish where ever whenever made it that much better.
Note: This post was finished and ready to go on April 2nd but due to a bad file/computer crash I was forced to re-write it and between my lack of motivation and over abundance of time spent fishing this is what we get. I hate forcing out a post after the fact. Sorry guys.
Tags: Brown Trout, Catch and Release Opener, Fly Fishing, Streamers, The Driftless Area, The Winona Fly Factory, Trout Fishing