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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 21st, April 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