Trip Report: Snow trout and no deer

I took the day off work today to get out fishing and hunting. I planned to get out hunting early but upon seeing temps we’re in the low 30’s the comfort of my warm bed won out. I hit the stream around 930.

I hit up a spot near where I’d seen some big fish over the last month. The wind and snow sucked to fish through. My body isn’t used to being cold yet!

This thick brownie was the biggest fish to come to hand today. I only fished until 11am before opting to get a hot lunch, then hunt.

I was very patient and quiet but no deer. I did hear lots of birds; grouse drumming, turkeys calling, owls hooting, crows cawing, woodpeckers pecking, and various smaller birds singing and chirping! I left a little early to meet up with my parents. On the walk out I heard a coyote howl, then the pack yipped and barked, perhaps celebrating a successful hunt or excited reunion.

Trip Report: Target acquired

I got out from 11-1 yesterday with the intention of targeting big fish. I hit up a nearby big fish spot and set up a deep nymph rig. I fished a size 16 zebra midge with a size 18 thread body mayfly beneath it.

This big boy was the largest of the dozen or so fish that came to hand. By 1pm I decided to head home to get ready for an evening hunt. Unfortunately everybody and their momma had the same idea. Multiple trucks parked at all the lots I checked. Sat in a sun optimal spot with no deer sighted. Stay tuned! I plan to fish in a little bit, then chores, then hunt, then mouse. Gonna be a good day:)

Weekend Report: Fall fishing is here!

I’ve waited impatiently all summer for fall trout fishing. Fall has become my favorite season. Between fly fishing, bow and gun deer hunting, salmon and steelhead, leaf peepin’, and a million other things, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities.

It rained on and off all day yesterday. At some points the rain fell hard. A front came through Friday and when we arrived on stream at 630am it was in the 50’s and damp. The river had only a light stain. I thought maybe the fish would be more aggressive but no takers on the San Juan worm. I fished a size 18 olive zebra midge under a size 16 thread bodied mayfly. This was the ticket!

Big fish of the day. Had to be close to 20”. He ate that tiny little midge fished bounced along the bottom.

The opening of the net is 16”. This guy was probably 19”. Each time the rain let up a decent little bwo hatch popped off, but I stayed true to the midge.

I must’ve landed 30 fish in around 5 hours. My buddy had a slower day but had follow ups from some bigguns. We hiked out and headed to my place to grill up some brats. After a late lunch we hit up another spot. I fished a little but only landed a few dinks. My buddy had a few more good chases and landed fish up to 17”.

I got up this morning with a particular pool in mind. No breakfast, no hygiene, just got up and went! Same rig from yesterday fished deeeeep.

This guy kept his head down at first. My first glimpse of him came when he lept from the water, flopped around in the air, and landed with a massive ker-ploosh! He tried to take me into the rocks, into the weeds, and into the bottom but I steered him tightly, bringing him in quick. I plan to get out fishing a few more times before I go fully into hunt mode.

Trip Report: Hoppers and worms and rain

I got up late, tied a few flies, and sat around the house waiting for the rain to end. I checked the radar and 72 hour rainfall totals to find a spot. Most of the areas small and medium sized streams were fishable today. The first headwater section I fished was very dirty. Still managed a few dinks on a San Juan worm. I went downstream and landed a few more before opting the head south.

Pictured above is the big fish of the day. He took a size 18 thread body mayfly nymph bounced along the bottom. he was around 17 or 18 inches. Showers occurred with enough frequency that stream side vegetation stayed wet all day. The hoppers never got to hoppin’, still I landed a few on a foam and deer hair pattern.

I rolled a few really nice trout today. Showers, clouds, and a stained creek had me expecting to at least sight a 20 incher but no such luck.

I fished from 1-5pm today. Even at around 80 degrees with high humidity the air didn’t have the intensity that it carry’s at the height of summer. Leaves blew into the water any time the wind picked up. Undergrowth is just starting to die back. Fall is around the bend!

Conditions Update

Fear not, I’ve been fishing…just not writing much! This has been a chilly, wet August. I’ve heard only of sparse trico action. I anticipated below average hopper action over the month, but any time I’ve found dry grass (usually starts around 11 or noon, I’ve found awesome hopper action. Sunny, breezy days and sun drenched sections of streams fish best. Tall grass on the banks makes great hopper habitat and indicates optimal hopper fishing. Big fish move into these spots and look up.

This guy may not be the biggest but he may be the prettiest! I’m using a 6 weight rod with a 9 foot 3X leader down to 2 feet of 3X tippet. The hopper is a foam and deer hair pattern tied on a size 6 streamer hook. I used these a ton in Montana! In the driftless I’ve found that a drag free drift is preferred but a twitch can work wonders. Sometimes they like the fly to land gently on the surface while at other times a good SPLAT! is key.

The rain has made good fishing with the San Juan worm. I’ve done decent on streamers here and there too. Didn’t catch any uuuuge fish of note but had a big ‘ol fish swing and miss the streamer. Might go mousing for him early next week.

This fish came from the same pool as the fish pictured above, but on a day with low, clear water conditions. He took a size 18 thread bodied mayfly (pictured below) fished below another one on the bottom of the pool.

I’ve been out of commission with a cold most of the week but conditions are great for fishing. I plan to take it easy this weekend but that only means no 10 mile hikes;)


The wife and I took a much needed vacation a little over a week ago. We took four days and explored the Keewenaw Peninsula on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We hiked but didn’t fish. It was beautiful!

Fishing Report: The summer

I haven’t been using social media as much, not so much due to a conscious effort to avoid or cut back, rather because I’ve gotten a little bored of it! I hear from readers that they appreciate the blog posts for up to date conditions, bug reports, stories and pictures and I’ve been meaning to start writing more reports again. I figured this would be a fine time to give a quick report on summer fishing thus far.

We had low, clear water for most of the early summer. Fishing was tough but with long leaders, light tippets, small indicators and small flies nymph fishing was fantastic. I’ve gotten out around twice per week most weeks. I should have gotten a good read on local hatches but only ran into sparse bow and caddis hatches. A few sporadic mayflies here and there as well.

I’ve run into decent brook trout fishing on a few occasions.

At this point usually things start drying up and the hopper fishing can be outstanding. The cool snap we’re experiencing now coupled with rain has slowed the hopper bite considerably. Stream-side vegetation continuing to grow thick too.

This fish has a neat story behind him! My buddy and I were walking upstream past a deep, muddy, slow pool that had weeds growing in fairly dense patches. Hoppers jumped into the river ahead of us. I snatched up a hopper in my hand and tossed it in right in front of us. This big ol brown appeared from nowhere and snapped it up before turning away and retreating to the depths. I dipped my San Juan worm in right away. The fish turned right toward it, swam up, and sucked down the fly.

This trout took a size 18 thread bodied mayfly nymph fished on the bottom. Over the last few years I’ve transitioned my nymph fishing away from using larger flies and more toward using a two fly nymph rig with flies sized 16 and 18, or a San Juan worm. I’m a little burned out on tying at the moment so have been fishing with effective, easy to tie patterns. And I’ve been catching larger fish!

My favorite time of the year to fish is from now until October. As the nights cool the fish’s instincts will kick in and they’ll start eating to fuel the spawn and long winter ahead. I’ll be fishing the San Juan worm in dirty water and a tandem nymph rig using flies in size 16 and 18. For size 16 flies I recommend using scuds, zebra midges, brassies, and thread bodied mayflies. For size 18 flies I recommend zebra midges, red brassies, and thread bodied mayfly nymphs. Gray, olive, and rusty orange work best.

Trip Report: Gargantuan trout

I woke up a little later than planned. I intended to fish until noon so time would be limited. We’ve gotten quite a bit of rain over the last week and the medium sized stream I planned to fish today had more of a stain than I expected. The undergrowth has come in strong so stream-side travel is slowed. After landing a few dinks on a streamer and San Juan worm I opted to hit a spot closer to home that wouldn’t require walking through stinging nettles. I arrived to this second spot around 930. My first cast let to hooking a swallow. I unhooked the little guy and gave him a gentle toss. He flew away mostly unharmed. My next cast led to a little bookie. As I stripped him in a gargantuan trout took a half hearted swipe at the little fish. I tied on a streamer and gave ‘er a go. I could see the beast chilling in the current, on the bottom. He took another half hearted swipe and gave a good follow before returning to his place at the bottom of the pool. I tried a few other nymphs with no luck before tying on a San Juan worm. The first couple drifts yielded only a few little trout. But then…

After as good of a fight you can have in a tiny stream I was able to plunge the net beneath the beast and hoist him to shore.

I could barely hold him with one hand!

After a quick photo session and a little recoup he rocketed back to his thrown at the bottom of the pool. I fished a little bit longer but decided to quit on top. Can’t wait to get out again! Warmer temps are coming into the area this week and will probably slow the fishing down a little. Get out early.

Trip Report: Last weekend

Last Sunday I spent the whole day fishing. I parked on the ridge around 7am and began my journey. The easement I fished is one I’ve done before, but I’d never got to the end. I always assumed it ended earlier than it does. A friend showed me that the accessible land actually goes another 2-3 miles. Score!

I fished using a white streamer. I’ve used these with great success for smallmouth bass but never trout. It worked fine!

Fishing was great! This tank of a trout ate the streamer. The fish came from nowhere to freight train the fly. I had a gps tracker on while fishing and by the time I stumbled back to the car I’d put in 10 miles. Woof.


A couple weeks ago I spent a week in the boundary waters canoe area wilderness. We paddled, portaged, and fished around 50 miles. Plans were to move around more along the boarder but we instead opted to spend more time fishing smaller lakes after getting blown around a lot by high winds.

The bugs were bad too! But we made the best of it. The border lake we spent a couple nights on was really high, maybe 10 feet. Luckily the rivers we paddled had dropped considerably from dangerous levels seen only two weeks earlier.

The weather could have cooperated more, but with three other fishy dudes we didn’t go hungry.

Hot fires were greatly appreciated.

Beautiful sights.

I’m used to doubles when trout fishing with friends, but with walleye!?!?

None of us had thought an ounce about catching panfish in the bwca but after running into a few schools of these tanks we had crappie fever.

This trip was a blast. A lot of hard work, good fishing, and good friends. Can’t wait to do it again.