First Full Season, A Season of Firsts

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This was a season to remember as it was my first full season fly fishing the driftless area from January 1st in the frozen tundra, to September 30th with the arrival of fall. My goal was to see as many of the natural processes first hand as I could, to record and use that knowledge later to improve my angling abilities and my understanding of the fish I pursue in the environment they reside in. With confidence I can say that I did my best and although I missed a few things I have enough first hand information to begin the off season tying new patterns and altering old ones to better suit my needs. After having fished this entire season I have a better understanding of the changes that occur on our streams throughout the season and will use that knowledge to make better choices next season. I plan to concentrate on difficult to get to places earlier in the season and try to fish places that are more suitable after the full summer bloom kicks in, also for next season with the addition of a 9ft. 7wt rod that I have plans to build I will be targeting more warm water specie throughout the season, especially during the prime summer months of July and August.

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This season of firsts saw many things. I made a few new friends, enter Wendy B. and the Roughfisher himself. I have learned many things from both, not to forget Sershen who has been there from day one always willing to let me at the hole first knowing I may blow it in the end. This season I witnessed several hatches first hand which was excellent, I probably got to fish dries more often than others. From the BWO’s, Grey Caddis, and Light Hennies this spring to the storm of March Browns in June to the Trico’s and Quills this last month I have been rather fortunate to have put myself in the right place at the right time on several occasions. I fished my first private water this season as well as starting my CSMP work with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Other notable firsts include: First fly caught in my skin, First fish on a #24 hook, First smallie on a fly rod, also 90% of the flies I fished, I tied. The other 10% came from friends and other tiers, not a single store bought fly.

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Along with catching Hatches on our streams and recording as much info as I could while still taking the time to take it all in and enjoy the experience as a whole I also managed to catch a few trout and other fish this season. I landed my first 20+in brown on the fly June 16th and then the next day turned around and landed a 23+in brown both on the SMB. Those two days really helped make this season for me, not only those days but I got a bunch of just killer time in on the water with some great people and by myself with the solitude I love.  In no particular order my favorite five outings from this season: March 21stApril 3rd, May 21st, June 1st, July 1st, and August 24th.

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Winona Fly Factory 2009 Season Stats Jan.1st-Sept.30th:

  • 28 Driftless Area Streams Fished
  • 70 days on the Water
  • 9 specie on the fly rod (most came from Carping with Wendy)
  • Plenty of miles Driven and Hiked
  • At least 70 Mugs of Coffee

7 Comments:

  1. congratulations on your first FULL year of flyfishing the driftless. thank you for sharing it with all of us with wonderful picture documentation. i have yet to get into fly fishing but i suppose i will cross over one of these years (will never entirely give up spinning for trout) im counting down the days until jan. 1st. one of these days ill have to start tying up jigs again. i use a 1/16oz that i tie in either black or brown. i would like to expand my patterns into other colors. orange scud, pink squirrel? saw you had some vids on you tube im sure ill be hitting it up for some help sometime soon.

    kudos,

    cameron kennedy

  2. wow– 28 streams! That’s great, also a 23″ brown trout– that’s pretty much the same size as the biggest fish I’ve caught this year– but that’s on a much bigger river!

    any plans or thoughts of traveling for winter angling? Maybe the tropics (you know just hop on down to the Caribbean for a weekend every now and then…)

    Anyways, a great season for you– I’ll be sending you my fly orders soon so you’ll have something to do with yourself this winter 😉

    cheers

  3. It’s been enjoyable to travel along with you and your adventures this year. Keep up the great work and have fun prepping for next year with all that tying during the winter. We’ll see you around the bend!

    -scott c

  4. Thanks guys, I wouldn’t have guessed two years ago that this is where I would find myself. It’s been a good year for sure.

    Cam, hit me up anytime. I was just looking through the photo’s you posted on the forums and saw a few fishy places we both frequent. Might have to make it a point to be in the same place at the same time.

    Brian, your last few posts have given me plenty of ideas for the next three months I have at the vise. I don’t plan on going anywhere warm, rather I’ll start getting outside in the tundra as soon as possible to prepare for January 1st, frozen guides and all. I plan to work on some of those D.D. Crayfish patterns along with that killer stone pattern. Oh, and I’ve been throwing Liz the idea of trying to pick her next work audit in the Reno area, that would be excellent.

    Scott, thanks for reading my ramblings. I plan to keep this up for quite sometime so there will be no shortage of spewage coming from the fly factory. Take Care.

    -justin

  5. You’ve put together quite a journal of a year of fishing. Glad we could cross paths a few times.

  6. 70 days is super. I am not as meticulous with my records but pinged myself at 130 days so far this season/ Its up there in days, considering.

    How about some salmon this upcoming weekend? I got an itch to road trip in my new car to get some steel. I have a rod you can borrow.

    H

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