Jan. 7th, 2011: A 20 on a #20

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Hit the creek on a mild January day to fish for spooky natural reproducing browns and brookies in low water conditions. Airtemp felt brisk on arrival but compared to last year it should be looked at as a heat wave. It’s weird walking around in waders, crossing the creek whenever simply because the conditions allow for it. This is January in Minnesota of all places, weird is an understatement. So the day began with a mile or so hike downstream to location A, a sexy run with a deep center channel holding both Rainbows and Browns. We arrived early enough to watch the sun crest over the bluff to take the layer of frost away. Seated in position we waited for the sun to top the trees, hit the creek and hopefully make the midge begin to emerge. After fifteen minutes the sun wasn’t moving [singlepic id=3167 w=340 h=260 float=right]fast enough and we opted to try small nymphs. A #18 BH Pheasant Tail was trailed by a #20 Miracle nymph, pretty standard winter rig for this time of the year.

An unexpected guest in the form of an 8 year old boy with a spinning rod approached our initial spot and tossed his spinner in the creek, a bit of frustration ensued but rather than scold the young man we moved on further upstream and allowed him to work his home water. With a longer leader and a single additional split shot even spooky fish were hitting the #20 Miracle nymph. A #8 SMB was employed for a bit but when the trout showed no signs of wanting the larger meal I switched back to the small nymphs. A most satisfying moment came when several small browns were nymphed up from a slow section where every cast sent the pod of fish scattering, making long casts to get the flies down at the right point to fool trout that know your there is one of the things about winter trout fishing I love. Small as those trout were they were every bit as enjoyable to catch knowing the challenge I was presented with.

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Further upstream a #8 Hairball was employed for a brief time but seeing the trout ignore it forced my hand and the small nymphs came back into play. Sershen working upstream of me with a #20 PT was stalking a large brown when I landed a handful of smaller fish on the #20 Miracle nymph. As I was preparing to send my flies far upstream with a long cast the cry for aid was heard, my rod was immediately abandoned. My flies hooked one of my gloves as I tore off upstream to grab the net for my friend, I dropped my glove en-route and stood with the net readied as he moved it out of a thick swatch of water cress and away from a structure that would have most certainly caused his 6x line to break. With one quick motion the beautiful female was brought to hand. A 20 on a #20, what a beautiful thing. The lesson to take home here is that if the trout don’t want your streamer or larger nymph work the flies they are willing to take, even the big ones will eat a small meal. With the trout released we lay on the bank adrenaline still pulsing through both of us. What an awesome way to wrap the afternoon up. Maybe thirty more minutes of fishing was had, came across a large buck decaying in the creek, I plan to come back and attempt to remove the portion of the carcass I want for home. The last notable event occurred after a couple bad casts resulted in a tangled mess of my two nymph rig, knowing the day was basically finished I opted to cut my line back to my 3X tipped and put on a #8 SMB, sending it through a run a charge and quick swipe from a most beautifully colored brookie was seen, the fish tasting hook spit my fly before I could set the [singlepic id=3174 w=320 h=240 float=right]hook and instead of disappearing it remained holding less than five feet from me. I jokingly sent my fly to it again, nothing but it didn’t run for cover. Another attempt caused the brookie to move and look but not take, another attempt and it hit lightly but not enough to get a hookset. Again it remained holding, three more attempts and it moved on my fly one more time but didn’t hit. Finally I gave up and enjoyed watching those bright white fins from the bank. What an excellent way to end the day.

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5 Comments:

  1. Beautiful brown! Wait about 4 more months and then go back and fish the maggot hatch…

  2. Nicely done and congrats to Sershan on such a lovely fish.

    Ben

  3. A tremendous driftless season includes a couple 20″ trout (opinion). A 20″ trout on our streams is truly a beast. What a great start for Sershen’s season. Your turn Justin.

    John

  4. That is a sweet fish. Huge head and tail with a recently spawned (skinny) look to it. Just think what that fish probably looks like mid summer when its apitite is in full gear. Awesome.

  5. It was an awesome fish, your right Nate, this fish in mid summer or early fall would be a beast. Perhaps we’ll see it again another time.

    John, I’ll see my fair share of nice trout, for now just enjoying the streams and the newly fallen snow.

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