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I fished under sunny skies today, this the last day of my first full season fly fishing in Southeast Minnesota. The driftless area has been good to me, I’ve seen quite a few kick ass sights this season and to end the season here I visited two sites that have helped make me the angler I am.
Standing near gin clear water and with near record low flows I rigged one of the last two SMB’s I had in my box. I didn’t see any rising activity but I did see thousands of grasshoppers and perhaps I should have rigged one but I went with the SMB and picked up nothing. I had a few light strikes, all of which I missed. I watched a few fish think about it but if they think and turn my experience has shown me, especially in the slower water, that they arn’t going to give it a second thought. I moved upstream quickly as each fish ignored me. I managed one brown trout out of one of my favorite runs but not having been here in quite some time I was not prepared for the effects of the low water combined with the weeds, it just made everything more difficult. I lost a few more decent sized fish before I managed to catch my fly on a tree root under the surface, break off. I should also note that I only had the heaviest of the SMB’s I had tied earlier this season making everything even more difficult. It would have been wise to just go with something else but I’ll learn.
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After having realized that my tippet/forceps were not on my person I decided to head out in search rather than abandon my gear. I searched my route in with no success and all I had for my effort were more burr’s stuck to me, everywhere. Back at the truck I peered in the drivers window to see them sitting on my seat, bummer. I pulled off this stream to hit the site of my last day last season, alot has changed since this time last year including my writing and angling. This season has flown by rather quickly and I wanted to start a tradition of sorts by fishing the same stretch of water the last day I fish each season. Site two was beautiful under the sunshine, I lucked out on warm sunny weather when the day before had been rather craptastic but the fish seemed more active. I decided to save the SMB and rig a #12 Black Wet Fly as the point man with a #18 Orange Scud for the trailer. I haven’t fished many scud patterns which is absurd considering the numbers they have in these waters, still learning to change things and try new flies.
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First drift through the first run pulled out a 10in female brown trout and on the Orange Scud too. I landed it downstream careful to avoid the shallow riffles with redds in them. I was soon at it again adjusting depth and adding weight, in all I went much deeper and heavier than I had thought before I pulled two more fish out. I rolled and lost too many fish using the indicator, might be that I had it too deep and I was sabotaging it but I pulled it off after a while and blind nymphed the hole pulling one more out before noticing cows moving in. I smiled when I saw the fish as it was the exact same fish Heath pulled from this run the day of the Pet-Fly Smackdown, note the same wound that seems to be healing nicely. C&R.
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I moved upstream to find near muddy conditions on what would have been the best potential to pull a larger fish. I decided to just sit in the sun for a while, last time to do this for a while. I put myself in position with my last SMB on a deeper run and lost it on the second drift, my fault, I new the potential hazards of putting it in a really tight (1-2ft wide) channel with weeds and apparently a root of somekind, no guts no glory though.
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I rigged a Marabou Leech to tempt one last fish from the first run, the same run I caught the last fish from last year on. Sure enough a few passes later I pulled another brown rocket (the 10-12in trout that pull like hell) out to be landed downstream in the same manner as before. Satisfied I had done what I wanted to do I pulled off at around 4:45pm but before I could get off-stream I noticed the Blue’s again, funny how after you see a particular fly enough times you just know what it looks like, even fluttering around. The Blue Quill’s again, my net worked wonders and I had a few good photos, interesting how I’ve never heard any speak of this hatch on any site regarding the Driftless Area or Southeast, MN. I plan to do some research on this hatch and hopefully figure out when they hatch because I’ve only seen spinners. I’m curious about this hatch within the driftless area. With that I said PEACE TROUT! and I’m out.
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