I’ll keep this one short and sweet as there wasn’t much to report other than water was stained but totally fishable. Snow is still on the ground in some areas but for the most part the spring flooding outlook from run-off looks very good in Winona Co. I fished a stretch I’ve passed on many many times but never fished and I’m not sure why as it turned out to be far more than I expected. A good reminder that until you fish it you never really know. Passing judgement on water after driving over a bridge or spying google earth is a good way to miss some of the best creeks in S.E. Minnesota. The second cast of the day set the tone and unfortunately it wasn’t a good one. I moved a good 17-18inch fish out to watch it promptly stomp my fly resulting in a hookset and a broken line. I collected myself and moved upstream to fish snaggy and deep water. The trout were actively chasing the streamer down almost to my feet at times but for some reason I could hook but not land any of the first few fish I got into. I had a shot at another fish north of 16inches and sure enough it popped loose, long distance release I guess.
Eventually things turned around and multiple fish came to my feet. On the deeper pools I found that letting my fly sink deep then promptly strip it back fast and hard with 1ft strips of line worked best to provoke the aggressive strikes. Conditions were windy, cloudy and despite the airtemp at 37°F it didn’t feel above freezing until late in the afternoon. I fished from 12:30-3:30pm at one location then hiked back to fish a spot on private land that I’ve been given permission to fish which isn’t what I would call “excellent” but it has the potential to put up a big fish or two. Today I landed two smaller browns and the consolation chub, not what I was hoping for but still a day hiking and fishing is a better day than most. I cut out to head home and spend the evening with the wife and kid instead of push on even though I was given a free pass to fish as late as I wanted. Someday’s its best to put time in at home so you can be on the water another day and another time. I expect that as I write this (5:40am on 3/17) the day will be excellent for trout in S.E. Minnesota. The airtemp is predicted to be near 50°F which may prompt an early BWO emergence. Keep an eye on the rocks and the water temperature.