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.

BWCA

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.

Trip Report: Long walks

This weekends fishing had me take two long walks! Yesterday I got out around 730am and fished until 1ish. I started fishing streamers and had good luck until the sun came over the bluffs. By 930 a full on caddis hatch began. There were two main waves with the first producing gray bugs around a size 16. The second wave, much heavier, was little black caddis, around an 18 or 20.

After 5.7 miles of hiking including a scramble down the ridge and a hike back up I was too beat to chase fish in the evening. I took care of some chores around the house and met up with some friends instead. Today I got out around 830. Rain began to fall as I hiked into the valley. With rain forecast all day I decided to make it a streamer day!

This guy smashed the streamer in one of my favorite little pools. I new quick that this would be one of my best streamer days. Fish chased almost every cast.

Most of the bigger fish came during the rain, but even after the rain stopped and the river cleared a little they were still hammering the streamer. Caddis started to hatch sporadically and fish rose to them, but I stuck with the streamer hoping to hook a real big one.

This was probably the fish of the day. I landed around 50 fish today. Most were small. The highlight of the day was when after hooking into a 6 inch brown a much larger one snapped it up in his jaws and ripped the fish off my hook. Would’ve been sweet to land him though! After 6.8 river miles I was glad when the wife answered the phone and agreed to shuttle me back to the car. She’s a keeper!

Trip Report: Another windy one

I met up with a buddy good n early to chase trout in what we hoped would be a perfectly stained stream. We hiked in around 645 and we’re on the stream by 7. Deeper pools held a stain but shallower water was crystal clear. I tied on a streamer and landed a few, but also had a bunch of short strikes. I knew casting anything other than a streamer in the 30-40 mph winds would be a challenge but I knew they’d respond well to the San Juan worm.

This vibrant trout was my big fish of the day. My buddy threw a mix of spinners, stick baits and jigs. He landed a few around 14” but overall things were a little slow. We hiked and fished until around 1pm. I used onX to track the distance and it appears we walked about 8 miles. The wind was relentless today and I’m not sure I could have fished all day today. Nice to see my buddy and to get a little exercise though.

Trip Report: Windy

I braved the wind and scattered storms to chase trout again today. I hoped to find a caddis hatch. After consulting the 72 hour rainfall totals and weather forecast I opted to head south.

I was glad to find rising fish, but very few caddis braved the windy conditions. Casting was super hard. I used the 5 weight and pushed casts hard through the wind. 4x tippet helped as I could rip the fly out of the grass on errant casts, of which there were many! I fished from 9-1030 before the threat of lightening sent me home for lunch.

After lunch I checked a few spots to the north. The only fishable spot I checked was crawling with fishermen, so I headed south to a spot that requires a bit of a hike for brookies!

These beautiful little fishies took the San Juan worm fished in any spot deep enough to hold a few fish. I must’ve landed two dozen of these little guys.

Trying to land a fly between the tight banks of this creek was a challenge. I fished from 2-4, with much of that time spent hiking. By 4 I was ready to get out of the wind. With more cold weather on the horizon and a few gully washers over the last week I’m not sure what the caddis hatches will look like this year. I’ll try to get out a few times after work this week and plan to do a float next weekend so stay tuned.

Trip Report: Catching up

After working well over forty hours last week I was able to take off early a couple times this week. The weather wasn’t great, cold, wet, and windy, but the trout are ready to eat.

I hoped to fish streamers a little but found most success using a San Juan worm. I did manage quite a few smaller fish using a bwo pattern.

This decent brookie came from well down stream of where I typically find ‘em.

A few days later I found water more clear. We’ve had a good amount of rain over the last week including a solid gully washer on Wednesday. This served to push a fair amount of sediment out of a few of the streams I checked out over the last week. Hopefully it didn’t also wash out the caddis!

I saw a lot of midges, a respectable amount of bwos, and one little caddis. Fishing was very good all week. I got out today in search of a caddis hatch. See the next post to see if I found ‘em!

Trip Report: Beat to the punch

Yesterday I got out fishing with a friend and today I did a solo trip. The forecast for both days this weekend was not very good. Below freezing in the am, full sun, spitting rain. I didn’t push to get out early and as a result found myself fishing behind others both days.

I hoped to use these fresh off the vice buggers but both days resorted to fishing small nymphs below an indicator for a majority of the time.

Early hours continue to provide the best conditions for streamer fishing. A bundle of colorful little brookies ate the olive bugger fly. I landed the most on a size 18 rusty orange mayfly nymph.

As you can see in the background area rivers remain low and clear. Yesterday we spotted sporadic risers that appears to be eating midges. Today bwo’s came off as soon as we got cloud cover and drizzle.

I did land a few on a size 16 quill bodied mayfly before opting to chase larger fish with the San Juan worm. I focused using this fly on faster runs.

Hopefully the bwo hatches will continue to get better! It won’t be long before the caddis hatch begins as well. I’ve heard of caddis nymphs fishing really well right now. The rocks are covered with em!

Trip Report: Last night

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day and I couldn’t help but go fishing! I got off work at 5 and was on the water before 6pm. Skies were partly cloudy and my chosen river was crystal clear. I tied on a streamer and was immediately on the fish.

The first two hours of the day and the last two hours of the day, lower light conditions, have been great for streamer fishing.

I missed a few really good sized trout, both due to poor hook sets and last second refusals. I saw tons of flashes from dinks too. I worked upstream quickly, throwing three or four casts in each spot before moving on. By around 7pm the sun was setting.

This pretty brook trout was the last fish of the day. I spotted numerous small risers and noticed little midges sputtering about. No mayflies yet.

Trip Report: Miles

Yesterday my friend Tim and I put on miles. 7.5 from car to car. We were on the stream by 9. Skies were sunny, winds light, and temps in the mid 30’s. It heated up pretty fast though.

We both caught a few on streamers right off the bat! I hoped to fish the streamer all day but by around noon felt compelled to put on a pink scud. Fish came in consistently.

I hoped to fish a dry bit we only found a few rare rises. I eventually had to give the dry a chance and landed the only fish I targeted, a 6 inch brownie. I’d fished the first half of this stretch before but the second half was all new to me!

As the afternoon creeped into the early evening we switched back to the streamer.

Here Tim admires his fish of the day. A short while later he missed a tank of a brown trout. I heard him cursing that big ol bastard from a ways upstream.

Here’s my fish of the day. Tim took a great picture cuz this fish was maybe 14 inches, but by this pic I could easily sell it as 16! By the time we stumbled up the ridge and back to the car we must’ve landed a couple dozen each. No monsters today. I hoped to see a mayfly or two sputtering about but saw none. Lots of tiny mayfly nymphs crawling around under rocks and plenty of cased caddis. Temps are set to dip this week but the ground is thawing and bugs are waking up. As the ground thaws the water will warm up and we should start to see good hatches. Soon, soon.