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- Arrival Air Temp: 12degrees Departure: ~18
- Onstream Arrival: 11:15am Departure: 2:30pm
- ~10mph Winds from the SW
- Zero Midge Activity, No Risers
- Ice Shelving Created Issues
- ~15 Brown Trout Landed
- #12 Hairball (Both Black & Tan)
We arrived onstream later than planned but the weather hadn’t warmed like it was supposed to and even at 11am it was pretty chilly with a decent breeze coming from the SW. Fingers were pretty cold the first hour or so. We spied the creek and almost drove to a backup location but already geared up and not wanting to waste over an hour we opted just to play the hand we were delt. The previous weeks cold temperatures allowed this section of creek to freeze up quite a bit. Most slow sections were completley froze over and the spots that were open had significant shelving complicating any drift to be had. I opted for a smaller #12 Hairball (Black) on a shorter ~8ft leader thinking it would be a bit easier to manage with the ice shelves.
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We fished only a couple of spots but managed more fish than I was expecting given the shelving and temperature combined with no midge activity. The trout were hunkered low but several did end up chasing down our flies as we lifted them out to cast. I lost atleast two nice fish as a result of this, perhaps bringing my fly up too early. Strikes from the larger fish were subtle and harder to detect, pretty typical for these conditions. Smaller <12in trout were fairly aggressive smacking my #12 Hairball pretty consistently. The ice shelving caused me to lose atleast one fish and maybe another due to a poor hookset as a result of my line getting caught on a bit of ice. Before we left Sershen spied a bait container left in the snow with the left over contents strewn about. A few things about this bothered me, 1st the trash, don’t leave your trash here. 2nd, this is an artificials only section of creek, bait is not [singlepic id=2278 w=380 h=300 float=right]allowed. 3rd, this is the 3rd time in the last six months I’ve seen this in the same location. On top of that, why not just throw the worms leftover in for the trout? I called the Winona County DNR Conservation Officer when I got back to my truck to inform him of the infraction. Winona County has only one officer to monitor all our streams and our half of the Mississippi. Due to use alone the Mississippi will always get more of his attention so I try to let him know what’s going on when I can. It was pretty apparent this had occurred recently as the snow had yet to hide the evidence.
All in all it was a good day in the Driftless area, the sun eventually peeked out for a bit but didn’t hang around for long. The 30 degree airtemp we were hoping for did not materialize even after we had left the creek. Warmer weather is coming this next week, could be good, it could be bad. If night time air temps stay above freezing I could see the average stream water temp dropping as the snow melts. This will put fish down, midge will cease to hatch and the fishing could get more difficult. The trade off? It may get rid of a fair amount of snowpack which is needed around the state as well in this area. Hope for the best and that melt issues are minimized.
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