Feb. 12th, Winter Sun in Minnesota

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. [singlepic id=1220 w=320 h=240 float=left]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 [singlepic id=1223 w=320 h=240 float=right] 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.

Started a bit rough, I fished a #14 Green Brassie trailed by a #20 Miracle Nymph and spent the first half an hour just freezing my ass, literally as I sat hunkered in the snow. The sun was welcome, it makes everything better and in a few short months this place will explode as a result of that sunlight, with little wind the 20 degree air temp combined with the direct light of the sun made for a comfortable day of roll casting to hungry brown trout. I fished this single hole for close to four hours, well into the afternoon. I swapped flies to a #14 Heron Scud trailed by a #16 Pink Patrick after the first rig basically produced nothing, one take…

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I waited a bit before sinking my second set of flies, just simply enjoying the sun. I heard so many birds today, wow, and rustling from what I have to think were mice or ground squirrels, something was twitching behind me almost all day. The #16 Pink Patrick proceeded to nail trout on almost every run I sent it on, all told I stopped counting around twenty, granted a handful were under five inches but about that same number were above twelve inches as well, indicating healthy reproduction. As I reeled in a 10in brown I watched a second larger fish chase down and nail one of the tiny brown trout, crazy, before I knew what had happened that fish was long gone.

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As the afternoon wore on the water became ever so slightly stained which seemed to increase the action, the trout seemed slightly more willing now. Note: In the middle of February in Minnesota, if your indicator or butt-section literally jumps like a sunfish struck you have just hooked a trout fry. I fished and fished until the sun had moved considerably in the sky, approaching the time to get going. I should carry a watch but I don’t. I use my senses to tell me what time it is and when to get going, I was a bit off today leaving close to an hour later than anticipated.

Midge were hatching later in the afternoon causing the occasional rise from the smaller trout, nothing to get too excited about. Conditions in the area I fished were good with minimal shelving, most of which melted off infront of my eyes before I left. I say get outside on the sunny days when possible, it helps make an excellent day of fishing.

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4 Comments:

  1. Great report. Sounds like a solid winter fishing day. Are you saying you watched a ~19 incher whack a trout? That would be quite a sight to see.

    Love the pic of the fish in the water.

  2. I would say it was more like a 16-18in Brown nail a 3-4in fry. I noticed mainly for two reasons 1st the larger fish was kicked up as a result of the fish I had on the line darting around, this also kicked up the fry hanging on the shallower edges. As I was landing my fish I look over to see the larger fish chase and nail a fry, it made a ploom of sand come up as it hit a bunch of weeds. Very interesting.

    Pic in the water was a result of your latest. Hope your day off went well and was productive.

  3. Good stuff. Looking like my annual MN pilgrimage will be pushed off a bit to an early summer outing. Should give Wendy and I some great options, but I do remember those streams in the winter. Pretty neat place you guys have.

    If you ever get to OR, I’ll show you a slightly different side of things.

  4. The driftless has its own personality for sure JM. I’ll keep the OR option in the back of my mind, especially after I finish the 7wt. Hope you get out here soon, perhaps I can meet you guys for a while. Take care man.

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