By Wednesday June 20th southeast Minnesota had received a significant amount of rain and going into Thursday it was predicted to continue raining on and off overnight. I figured if I could find cleaner water in the rain then I would find eager trout willing to crush streamers. I had a few ideas on where I might start looking for fishable water given what I had seen the few days prior. I knew it would be a mixed bag ranging from totally blown, chocolate high water to minor stain depending on the location. With plan A, B and C sorted out I met up with Carl at 6:25am. The typical morning consisting of gear prep and coffee quickly turned into driving in the rain. At first the rain was moderate to light but as we approached the first spot it picked up, to make things worse I noticed the dry runs near the first stream had a few inches of muddy water running down them. Things were not looking good and confirmation of this was noted as we saw the water as we rounded the first corner. Despite the less than ideal situation we rigged streamers standing in the rain anyway, I went big and black. A few minutes later I had a nicer 13-14inch chunky brown in my hands and figured if I could get my fly to the fish they would eat. We thought about going downstream but given the already borderline chocolate we were looking at we made the move to an upstream section for larger brookies. A handful of fish were found in shallower riffles but the visibility was about as bad as it could get and things were looking grim. We pushed on upstream a bit more until we came across the main source of run-off, one location which was pouring a river of chocolate milk into the stream. I rolled a bigger brookie which left me wanting more but I knew conditions were rapidly deteriorating. Hike out.
Truck. Drive. Stop at location B. Meh, similar to A. Not worth the potential outcome. Truck. Drive. We passed multiple streams on the way with varying levels of stain. I considered one fishable but many were far from it. In all honesty it was looking like perhaps I had underestimated things until we made a turn and looked down. Moderate stain, not heavy but just right. Coming up Goldilocks. It’s still raining and we are now on the uppersection of a creek known well for putting up good sized brookies and browns, the unknown was how it would look after the fourty-five minute hike downstream. We hit the trail hard and had to fight through patches of burning and wood nettle, thick undergrowth and downed timbers to get to where we wanted to start. The further downstream we hiked the better the water clarity we found to a point where at our chosen starting location there was almost no stain on the water at all. Springs, lots of them fed this section and mitigated the upstream run-off. First run set the mood, fish after fish came out on the streamer I was fishing. Carl ties on the cranefly pattern he has been working on and in the pouring rain pulls fish after fish out with that thing. He’s about got me convinced I need to give up my streamers.
We fished hard upstream through the rain and as a result I have little in the way of photos. We both went through a perceived lull where the trout seemed to stop committing to flies we had on and either tapped or snubbed all together but as the rain continued things changed back to aggressive striking trout. I landed a lot of trout both browns and brookies in the 6-10inch range, a few nicer fish were had and one really chunky 14inch brown came out at the head of a riffle for my streamer. Carl along the way ended up busting his rod, the irony here was that he had commented on how he broke his other rod recently and felt like it would happen again. I was left to fish solo for a time while he hiked back to the truck and got his fiberglass rod to fish the rest of the day. It rained basically all day and maybe let up for a couple minutes, no breaks for food or beer today just fishing in the rain. We fished until 4pm and hiked out. Everything I wore was soaked through despite my rain jacket. This was a good hard day of well earned trout in the rain.
I love fishing in the rain for a bunch of reasons: All the fair weather fishermen stay home so you usually have little competition to get on your preferred streams, The turmoil on the water surface from the rain provides an excellent screen from predators which relaxes the Trout and makes it easy to get close without spooking them. The rain usually kicks up lots of food in the water which energizes the Trout to feed. And an added bonus for us fair skinned guys – you don’t have to worry about sun screen or wearing big brimmed hats and gloves all day.
I totally agree Bill. Lots of benefits of fishing in the rain provided you can stay warm. Even in 60 degrees it’s very possible to get cold especially if you wet wade this time of year like I do. I will say that I was very pleased with my choice to wet wade and wear wool socks. I don’t think the temp got above 70 and I was totally fine, soaked to the bone but warm.
Thanks for the post! …Do you tend to down & across/swing the streamer?
I do fish down and across with a streamer quite a bit but I typically start by casting upstream and stripping it back to me at a varying pace until I find a rhythm that the trout are hitting on. If that approach isn’t working then I will try a swing or down/across approach.