September 7th, Bows and Brownies

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This summer the fly factory has seen quite a few early mornings but few evenings, something I’d like to try and change over the course of this, the last month of the designated season for trout in Minnesota. Another goal this last month is to see a few stretches of new water and this morning I met with Sershen again to smack something unseen. On site by 9am and looking at trout actively feeding by 9:30am. The lack of rain has kept our streams very clear for almost a solid month now which was what we were expecting to find this morning and did. Stumbling through dew covered grass that passed our hips we took position downstream of a few really nice looking browns and a rainbow that were aggressively feeding on or very near the surface, at times turning completely around to strike.

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The bank kept us up and out of the water which was great for watching the fish but made for both difficult casting and landing. After watching for a while we couldn’t see any mayflies so I’m assuming caddis were popping but I’m really not sure. No surface flies were seen and nothing in spiderwebs. I rigged a larger pink scud and a #22 S.H.assie pattern and with great casts I was looked at and refused with each pass. Letting Sershen move in on the fish I re-rigged with a B.W.F. as the lead and a Sparkle Larvae as a trailer. With fish holding high in the water we both went with little weight and no indicators, it would have served only to complicate an already tricky situation. On my next up I pulled out a smaller Brown as it launched to my flies right as they hit the water. I’m going to go so far as to almost call it a surface take, like the fish saw the flies from above the water. I had to skid on my ass down the bank into a few feet of muck to land the fish, the price you pay sometimes.

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We moved on afterwards, my slope slide might have been the key factor that put the fish down. Serhsen tried to pull a pair of bruisers from another spot upstream a bit but came up short, thicker forest presented a seriously difficult casting position for these two fish and with a valiant effort they were just not going to bite. I stopped to pick a few rocks finding mainly late season Beatis nymphs and riffle beetles but nothing that tipped me off to what the trout were keyed in on. We moved out of the jungle and onto….a golf course? No not really, but this cow pasture could have passed for one had you put a hole with a flag in it somewhere. I screwed the pooch on two nicer browns from the same hole. The second spit the hook after the first busted me off, slightly frustrated I re-rigged and moved upstream. Taking only one more fish we decided to drive to a second point on the same stream.

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On arrival we noticed quite a few of stocker rainbows holding in a deep wider stretch of water. With no foliage and the abundance of trout this looked extremely promising. With the nymph rigs we were previously using we started swinging only to find that although extremely interested in the flies we were snubbed every time, and this is after they have turned and followed the flies to within feet of you, I’m talking like four or five fish each time. It was cool to see but I wanted my line to tighten up a bit. We swapped for streamers and it seemed like even that wasn’t going to work, same routine follow, follow, follow, nope you suck. Heath moved downstream to find something, perhaps more rewarding while I kept at the school of rainbows. Changing my retrieve to a very very quick two inch strip and I was getting into fish. I kept at it and got to fight with the fatty fish of the day which made a two nice runs and showed some aerial prowess as well. Sershen came back to rig a black bugger type pattern with rubber legs that took a few more. We chased back home after pushing the school of fish up and downstream til they refused everything. Good day.

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6 Comments:

  1. lets get out again this weekend. i am not against fishing the evenings however have enjoyed fishing the mornings. Sunday morning for sure? Maybe hit out friday or saturday night a return to a winter creek perhaps?

  2. Couple of nice looking bows you gents landed, but sounds like you really had to work for them. Way to persist!

    -scott c

    • We did have to work for them a bit but this was a unique fishing experience for me in the driftless area. Not too many times/places can you stand in waist deep water, have as much clearance on your backcast as you want/need and still get to catch larger fish that are all around you.

      Kind of made me feel like what fishing larger water say in Colorado or Montana might be like. Take care Scott.

  3. Great color on that rainbow (3rd pic) — sounds like one of those tough days where one catches enough fish to keep happy but you keep thinking back and wondering if different flies, gear, presentations would have really killed ’em… I get a lot of days like that

    do you ever use beetle flies?

    cheers

  4. Man, I have like five beetles in my terrestrial box and I don’t want to admit this out loud but I never use them. I think it stems from what you recently wrote about not wanting to give up what you know will pull in a fish. I also question things like do you fish the beetle by itself? On the surface? Half Sunk? Do you fish it with a dropper? Not having the answer to those questions has helped keep them in my box but that is just a cop-out and I know it.

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