- Arrival Time: 11:26am
- Arrival Air Temp: 24°F
- Wind: 26mph from South West
- Water Temp: 41° F
- Snow Depth: ~16inches
- Cloudy Skies
- Departure Time: 4:37pm
- Departure Air Temp: 27°F
The cold has a put a hamper on the progress of 2014. Normally I’m not one to complain, I accept and love the land I inhabit but this year the never ending sub-zero temperatures have begun to wear on me. The definition of frustration is watching the 10 day forecast only to see one decent opportunity to enjoy winter trout season then realizing you have to work or you made other plans. The 24th came and with it a 24hr break from the brutal cold and so despite the potential for 25mph winds I took the opportunity to fish in airtemps in the mid to upper 20’s. My two biggest challenges were going to be avoiding the wind first and foremost second would be finding a creek that offered flows unimpeded by ice shelves. I knew where to go, years of fishing these creeks has just made location selection almost an after thought.
Minimal to no ice shelves found on the mile and a half stretch of creek I fished. Not a single rise noted, frankly none expected. No midge in sight. Trout were pretty much hold up in the areas where you’d expect to find any creature trying to ride out the harshness of this particular Minnesota winter. Hanging deep in holes, at the tail end of runs and in the corner pocket water is where 90% of the trout that slimed my paws were caught. I hiked downstream a good two miles before stopping next to one gnarly tree to enjoy one of the IPA’s I brought along to warm my spirit. I considered snowshoeing however I knew this creek and to do what I was planning required me to wade across several times and so I opted to trudge through the snow and cross without having to doff and then don my snow shoes again.
Late season floods had left marks. I could see flood debris two feet up on trees hundreds of feet from the banks. This creek has changed some, holes had been scoured. Some had all together disappeared while others formed a new. This evolution for good or bad is one of the reasons why trout angling in SE Minnesota will never bore me. Two long stretches of creek found me out of the wind and as comfortable as one could ask for. I switched between scuds and streamers mainly, seemed I took more trout on the streamer than the scud however my deep nymphing game may be a bit off due to a lack of consistent practice. The trout were feisty. A few put on a good show forcing me to let them run a bit or risk breaking my 6X tippet. I took a handful of browns and rainbows swinging a streamer down and in through the tail end of a couple runs. The nicest fish of the day ended up being a ~16in brown that exploded the surface of the water the moment the streamer came to the surface on the swing. I live for moments like that. I’m often willing to blow the opportunity to catch ten trout with a nymph from one location just to get that exact reaction, something about the way that fish saw my fly triggered it to attack and attack it did.
Best parts of the day. Drinking a good beer listening to nature as I watched a herd of 10+ deer sneak through the woods and cross the creek a couple hundred feet upstream of me. I had not more than ten minutes prior walked right through the woods they came from, which made me wonder if they watched me, heard me, smelled me from a distance and silently waited for me to pass. One looked at me as it stopped in the middle of the creek, simply watched me watch it then walked slowly through the rest of the creek. Heard and saw several hawks. I’d like to one day be better at identifying the fowl I see creekside. No cell phone reception, always a plus no matter where you go or what your doing. And finally one of the best parts of the day was seeing a creek that has changed and yet I still know how to approach it, fish it and be more or less successful.