Day 2. Met with Sershen, drove to the spot and took the water temp. I was hoping for an opportunity to toss dry flies but to no avail. On arrival at 10:30am the temp was easily 42 degrees and by 1pm it was past the hatching temp for BWO’s and few were seen. What was seen however was a massive amount of Dark Hendrickson nymphs that are close to popping, I’ve never seen the quantity of nymphs holding as I did this day. Fishing faster deeper water hoping to take the larger fish we both stuck to streamers almost all day, my first cast landed my nicest fish of the day, a fat Rainbow pushing 15 inches. I remember thinking as it lept the first time, what did I hook? A pan fish? Something about the way it lept made it look exactly like a fat sunfish, I don’t know how but it did.
Not too much to report other than the fact that the bugs are coming, soon on some streams for sure and despite the recent rain combined with snow melt the streams are doing well, with a bit of knowledge finding a fishable one should be easy. I found the random sampling of invertebrates and then I found what Heath refers to as the “poo” fly which I knew immediately to be a Caddis fly larva named the Little Black Sedge (Chimarra aterrima). I knew because I had done the research and the image of this bright yellow larva was forever ingrained in my memory. I saw it and was amazed, found a serious amount of them as well. We fished the rest of the day into the early evening catching the occasional trout here and there, despite good water conditions the trout were biting very lightly making landing a fish a bit trickier as we both hooked, lost, and cursed several fish out, maybe me more so than my friend. A second day fishing all day in the sun in a t-shirt, it felt like June without the weeds or vegetation around to complicate matters, as they say in New Zealand “sweet-as”.
Fished most of the day, met up with one Wendy B. on location for a bit of morning coffee, good conversation and of course a few trout. We nymphed up rainbows with the typical Orange Scud and Miracle Nymph but after seeing a few larger fish I swapped to a streamer, Wendy B. did the same and we both nailed a few nicer fish. You have to love it when from on high you strip your streamer in, staring at your victim less than twenty feet away, you cry out “EAT IT” and the trout promptly turns and does exactly that, brilliant. Wendy B.= FISH ON! That was just the start to an awesome day, I mean by 11am I had enough good things happen to hold me over but as it were I had the day to myself and the weather was too good to turn down.
I left Wendy B. to stop off at a second spot, gin clear despite the rain and melt. I could have stayed and tempted fish but I hadn’t fished this spot before and I knew I could find a location that offered slightly stained water when usually it runs clear. Good to take note of locations like this, fish them after a rain event or the melt and take fish more easily as the water is tinted to your advantage. Second stream I stuck with my streamer expecting a few Browns to come out and play but no luck. I tried, tried some more but nadda. I picked bugs to get a feel for the situation and it was clear to me that a skinny BWO nymph was the way to go, the WD-40 #16. Good choice, as it was the only fly that took any trout on the second stream, it even took a few Brookies which made this my first day where I managed all three specie of trout you can find in S.E. Minnesota water.
Notes of Interest:
- Arrival at ~10:30am Water Temp 42 Degrees, Air Temp Upper 30′s
- Nymphed up smaller Browns on a #20 Miracle Nymph
- Swapped to Streamers at 12:30pm. Water Temp ~44 Degrees
- Landed ~10 Browns/Rainbows between 10-14inches
- Stream Clouded up quite abit around 3pm, Fishing Slowed (No Water Temp.)
- No bugs today other than a few scattered midges, minimal rising from the trout.
- I emailed the DNR regarding the concerning Dam, I was told it will be removed ASAP.
28 Feb 2010 / '10 Winter Season
Notes of Interest:
- Adult Winter Stones and Midge on Arrival (~11am)
- BWO’s at ~12:30-1pm as the Water Temp Rose to 49 Degrees
- Despite Higher Water Temps Minimal Rising Trout
- Saw Four Deer When I Usually See None
- Found 3 Deer Carcasses, One Way Too Fresh To Show Here
- Attempted Bug Photo’s with Reference Tape in mm, worth the effort, will continue this practice.
- Flies that worked: #20 Zebra Midge and a #18 Pheasant Tail Nymph
- New Water Today With a Nice Trail, Google Earth Estimates 2.4 Miles Travelled One Way
25 Feb 2010 / '10 Winter Season
edit: JP at Roughfisher.com made me realize that the proper picture for this day belongs with the White Sucker that snagged my Marabou Leech, thanks JP.
21 Feb 2010 / '10 Winter Season
Parked 10am. 1/3 of a mile hike in some fluffy deep snow to get to the water then another mile upstream and the entire distance back out again. A total of close to 4,050 yards according to Google Earth. 40 football fields in 3-4 feet of snow. Reminds me of the crawling through sh*t line in Shawshank Redemption. Along the way we happened upon many sights, a pair of hawks flying above with a screeching mouse in tow for example. The hike in was slow, through some serious snow with nothing more than an animal trail over an old set of truck tracks from months ago to aid us. This would be worth it though. I expected to find warm gin clear trout water and that is in fact what I found. First water temp more than a mile downstream of two major springs held a temp of 46 degrees at ~10:30am.
Midge were already peppering the snow more than twenty feet from the stream when we began fishing. We nymphed, myself a #14 Pink Patrick with a #20 Beadhead Midge Larva. Simple, standard and effective patterns. The sun waited until late in the day to show itself, the photo’s reflect that aspect of the day well. We fished old H.I. work as we travelled to the source of this stream. We each managed a few takes on the way in but water levels were down considerably through the section we fished. I wonder if the massive amount of instream growth this stream supports in the summer that shrinks in the winter might have something to do with it. The more instream vegetation, the more stuff to fill up the channel, thus making the stream look as if it has more water in it. Anyways just a side thought. We fished to source, hiked half the distance back out and fished up again.
At 1pm as we hiked downstream the midge began doing it, literally in the snow they would link up and the larger of the two would basically tow the other around in the snow. Interesting. We saw thousands of midge through the course of the day, with an initial water temp of 46 degrees and the fact that so many were already crawling around several feet from the stream I have to think a majority had hatched before we arrived, maybe before we woke to start the day. At 1:25pm I saw the first one float towards me. I had to stop for a second and really look to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was, as soon as I was sure I was diving in close to my waist to catch a few WINTER BWO’s? Yep. We watched as a good couple dozen emerged on the run I was fishing, float downstream and take off. Very cool, good day for bugs. Now to find a few trout.
We did eventually find a willing pod of fish that readily took a #20 Miracle Nymph like it was candy but it took nearly the entire day to find it and after swapping fish for an hour we were frozen and ready to head home. Heath had a nicer +16in fish on but as the net came out it spooked and bolted forcing a limp line and an empty net. I managed a few browns as well, typical winter fishing. It isn’t easy and sometimes you’ve got to work pretty hard to see your line tighten up but it makes those days in the spring and summer when it jumps upon a strike that much better. With frozen feet and smiles we hiked the last leg out quickly. It was 4:30pm. Potentially a top 10 day for 2010 and it’s not even March yet.
Notes: So we found Midge had already been hatching before we arrived, and BWO’s hatching as the water temp got up to 47-48 degrees at 1:30pm. The Miracle Nymph worked wonders today while the Pink Patrick did nothing and could have been split shot for all the trout cared, actually I think I’ve had trout more readily strike my splitshot than they did the Pink fly today. Sometimes this thing can whack fifty trout, others it is a curse and is best left in the box. I learned this lesson today and will not forget it. Especially when the rocks showed about a million tiny nymphs, I was determined to feed them something twice as big and pink. I would have been better served fishing a WD-40 or a PT with the Miracle Nymph trailing. The BWO nymphs that were hatching were a yellow/cream color and were very apparent, I’m surprised and a little disappointed I didn’t take any pictures of them. Finally at the source of the stream we found a dead deer that was something’s dinner, when we hiked to a second spring we found a second carcass that had also been well fed on. I wonder if something large isn’t dragging them down into that valley, interesting… I apologize for the quantity of images but it was a day of things to see. Check the slideshow out on fullscreen.
12 Feb 2010 / '10 Winter Season
Left the house at 9am and drove for 27 minutes. It doesn’t happen often but the weather forecast changed from 30 degrees with a 50% chance of snow with NO SUN the night before to 27 degrees and mostly sunny when I checked this morning. Sweet. Took off with hot coffee and nymph boxes ready, no real plan per-se just decided to let the road take me where I needed to go. The first turn in town nailed the destination down, snowshoes were needed. Just over a half an hour later I was pulling up to a minimum maintenance road that had seen a bit of traffic but only by deer, a few other animals and cross-country skiers. I hiked in just over a half mile to find myself staring at steaming water. I’ve fished this spot before but only in the summer when the forest is thick and grows taller than man, seeing it now bare and frozen gave it new dimension.
I took my time upon first approach, rigged my rod out of sight of the stream, approached slowly and on my knees to the waters edge. My options were limited as I had chosen not to wade today so I had my side of the bank and it happened to contain the least desirable casting locations, I tried a few options but nothing felt right. I could have sat around trying to figure out that hole but the sun was shining and I felt like moving around. I hiked for another half mile before settling on a spot I’ve fished a few times before. Deeper nymphing this time with spooky trout, spookier than the last time I was here for sure but that might be attributed to the fact that last time I was here the water was ever so slightly stained, later in the afternoon as just a bit of the melt begins some spots “tea” up a bit. This morning as I approached cautiously I kicked four decent sized trout down to the depths, clearer water than last time. Read the rest of this entry »