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I had the day off, the girl did not. Only one thing to do during trout season with time like this. Fish, hike, fish, hike, then fish some more and be thankful for the time in front of you. Plans were loosely organized and a friend of mine and I met to see a new stretch of winter water. I arrived a few hours earlier, with air temps predicted to be close to 20 degrees by 10am I saw no reason to sit at home waiting for it to get warm enough to fish, it was already plenty warm outside by the time I finished my second cup of coffee.
I arrived on-stream around 10:15am, rigged my rod and hiked just over a third of a mile through a few feet of snow to get streamside. After looking for and observing no signs of any rising trout or midge in the snow I opted for the same fly that has seen, touched and brought to hand a trout from every trip so far this year the #8 Olive Sprinkle Me Baby. I started by dead drifting it through a deep run hoping that something near the bottom would stir but nothing. I moved upstream and spied a riffle that was no more than 8inches deep. Ignoring all the winter trout fishing rules I blindly swung my streamer through the head of the riffle and right as I was about to pick my line up to [singlepic id=2207 w=280 h=200 float=left]continue on I saw a swell in the shallow water and sure enough a 14inch Brown was chasing my streamer through water so shallow I could see the tail sticking through the surface of the stream. He bit and we danced until he came to my feet. I took note of the location of this fish, the head of a shallow riffle. The air temp was approaching ~25degrees when I let this fish go. I could see midge crawling in the snow now but still no rising trout.
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I moved upstream to a deeper run again, slapped a trailing #16 Orange Hot Spot Scud on and began dead drifting. A while later I had little to show for my efforts. I made a poor roll cast and planted my flies in a tree across the stream. I sat looking at my dangling #8 SMB thinking I was prepared to get wet to retrieve that fly, it has caught so many this [singlepic id=2217 w=380 h=300 float=left]year already I wasn’t ready to part with it. Accepting that getting wet would ruin the rest of my day I sucked it up and pulled my line tight enough to brake it. I expected a limp line, I got the # 8 SMB back. It turns out only the trailing fly was snagged in the tree, super sweet, it will live to see another trout. I slapped an indicator on my line and proceeded to land a few more smaller 10-12inch browns dead drifting the streamer pattern through a shallower (<3ft) run.
I hiked the third of a mile back and met my friend just after noon. We made a short drive to a second stretch of water and a new access. After greetings and a bit of gearing up we began another third of a mile hike through the deep Minnesota snow. We fished under grey cloudy skies with no wind for the next couple of hours. Midge were peppering the snow as we walked, I counted them as we hiked and observed them crawling over fifty feet from the waters edge. Still no rising trout, damn I want to see a steadily rising trout.
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We each caught a few here and there but we don’t get to fish togather all that often so a fair amount of the afternoon was spent conversing, taking turns casting to fishy lies and enjoying the woods around us in a slow, the world will still be there when the sun goes down soft of way. We kicked up a couple of fat turkeys on our way and I remember feeling hungry as they took to the skies. We hiked upstream until we spied a notable landmark, fished just a bit more then decided to turn and head back to fish the first run we saw earlier in the day before splitting for home. After hiking just over a mile (according to Google Earth) in the snow we were plenty warm, so warm infact we both ended up complaining about it to some degree, probably not a bad thing during the winter season though, with that we parted ways. It’s been a good start to the trout fishing season but today made me think, this is just the beginning. Thanks again Wendy, good time as always. Think of the season to come…again, just the beginning.