With temps in the 30’s, cloudy skies, and in the midst of a week long winter warmup I knew conditions were prime for good fishing. I had very limited time so I chose to fish close to home. Around two dozen fish came to hand both days.
Brookies were not as aggressive as browns but a few came to hand over the last couple days. I started out with the streamer yesterday but only landed two before changing to a size 14 orange scud. That was the ticket!
As the afternoon pressed on and action slowed I switched to a size 18 orange midge. A red brassie of the same size worked well too.
Around 11am both days a nice midge hatch popped off! The bugs were black and around size 18. A few willing fish took the Griffiths Gnat but only off a light tippet and long leader! My custom fiberglass 7′ 6″ Blue Halo 4 weight fished like a dream.
Most of the fish landed were around this size. Yesterday I lost two 15-17 inch fish before I could land em. Today I didn’t spot any really nice ones.
After fishing for around two hours each day I was happy to call it a day. Next weekend I should have more time and the 10 day forecast suggests conditions will stay good! Midges and scuds should be your go-to patterns through the rest of the month and next. Little black stone flies will make their appearance soon as well. Streamers are also worth trying. Fish em low and slow.
My buddy Jesse made a new years resolution of sorts. He has resolved to fish more new streams. We both tend to get stuck on our old reliable spots. Winter is a great time to explore new stretches of water for a couple reasons. First, it is easier to navigate the banks void of streamside vegetation. Second, rivers are usually clear allowing the angler to spot fish and survey the stream for structure. Third, moving feels good! Walking more keeps ya warm and driving from spot to spot offers an opportunity to warm your core. On Sunday Jesse and I checked out a few new spots. The first stream required a little hike in. We moved quick and spooked lots of fish. We caught none at this spot but spooked many, including one around 20″. I also engaged in a brief battle with one around 17″. He snapped my San Juan worm off on a rocky undercut bank. We both agreed to return to fish it more diligently. We checked another spot that looked “meh”, then on to another spot.
This tiny stream was a blast. Jesse is a spin fisherman and struggled a little on such small water, but I had fair luck.
These easily spooked fish readily ate the San Juan worm. I landed around a half dozen here.
Most fish ate the fly as I dapped it in deeper pools and chutes. We hiked up to the springs before calling it a day. I’m excited to see where our next adventure will take us!
I got out today for a few hours to chase cold trout. This isn’t where I fished but I like the picture! Instead I stopped at a new stream, and two new sections of streams I’ve fished before. I started out on a new stream that gets no attention. Skies were sunny and the sir was s chilling 12 degrees when I suited up. Winds were moderate. From the access point I noticed a few risers! I tied on a size 20 Griffiths Gnat.
This little guy was all I managed on the dry. Fish were easily spooked under such sunny skies. I spotted a few decent fish before switching to nymphs. I fished a San Juan worm and an orange scud for the majority of the outing.
Besides a few sluggish riders most trout were glued to the bottom.
After a few hours of making long casts in the chilling wind, and in diminishing sunshine, I decided to call it a day…until I passed another stream on my way home! I’ve fished almost all of the public water on this last stream so I hit the one area I’ve thus far avoided. In this spot i chose a streamer, logic being that this area is full of springs which likely keep the water warmer.
This guy smashed it! I coaxed another 4 out of undercuts. I missed one really nice one that came out and nipped the fly as I picked it up to recast. It was nice to get out but after 4 hours in the wind and cold I’m happy to be curled up on the couch under a blanket. I did get out yesterday afternoon and got a few on the orange scud.
Fish were biting aggressively until this week. As we remain in a colder weather pattern foshing will likely stay slow. Streamer will probably be least effective although fishing them slow and deep may provide a tug. Orange scuds, pink squirrels, San Juan worms, and zebra midges should continue to fish well provided they are fished deep enough (on the bottom). Midge emergers and dry flies should continue to fish well when fish are seen rising. On colder days (sub 30) fish will be most active from around 10am-2pm. Sun can help keep them fishies warm but make sneaking up and casting to them w/o spooking ’em a challenge. I fished with a 9 ft leader and 2.5 feet of tippet down to 5x. For dry flies 6x would have been better. The fiberglass rod was a challenge to cast during the breezier parts if the day.
I headed out for an hour to stretch my legs, breath fresh air, and catch trout! I arrived on stream at 11am under loudy skies, light winds, and temps in the mid 20s. The small stream that I chose had a deep stain. With a car parked at the access point I assume they went upstream. I fished behind them. A quick little brown trout came on a San Juan worm. I landed two on a small, silver streamer before losing it to shrubbery. I switched to a black size 8 bunny leech with a deer hair collar. A few more small trout came to hand before a larger tug got my attention.
In this section of stream, with a running start, you could jump across in most places. The four weight fiberglass rod handled this fish well in such tight quarters! After a few quick pics he was returned to the drink. I’d estimate his length at near 20 inches. After taking a minute to reflect I continued upstream.
A few more came to hand but none as notable as the Beast. In an hour of fishing a dozen or so came to hand. Fish were very aggressive today and readily moved for the streamer. I’ve heard great reports over the last few days so get after it before winter’s grasp tightens!
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I wasn’t gonna go fishing today but I did. I spend a lot of my life on call these days so I have to be available by phone and ready to leave at a moments notice. This arrangement isn’t conducive to fishing as often as I’d like. The vast majority of streams are outside of cell reception and I prefer to get away from the roads. I do have a couple spots where I can scratch the itch to fish within cell reception and close enough to respond without delay. Today I visited one of those spots to celebrate the opening of Minnesota’s general catch and release trout fishing season. To further mark the occasion I snatched a new rod from my inventory!
I got to the river at quarter to ten under sunny skies with increasing thin cloud cover. Temps were in the mid 20s and climbing. My figure cast a long shadow across the stream but I didn’t worry too much about spooking ’em because the water was heavily stained, probably by livestock wallowing in the water upstream. I fished with the fly pictured above, fished deep and slow.
It worked! My first fish of the year was this brown trout of about 16 inches. I’m user to fishing with fiberglass rods which are much stiffer. The new rod handled the fish well! I missed a few nice fish on the streamer until one snapped my line. No worries, I had one more.
This skinny guy hit hard in shallow, slow moving water. We may have been equally surprised at what we found on the other end. I briefly switched to a squirmy worm and landed a nice book trout.
Shortly after catching this guy another, larger fish took the worm. Without any worm flies at my disposal I returned to the streamer.
The last fish of the day may have been the prettiest. I headed home at 11am with just shy of a dozen fish to hand and on a mission to tie more flies! Happy new year!