I was uncertain what my intended destination would look like after recent rains. My preferred access point was occupied so I headed to the next bridge downstream. Vacant! I swiped a few black bunny leeches that I’d tied for inventory last night, tied one on, and eagerly approached the river. Skies were cloudy and the water looked just fishable. It was 830am and I planned to fish the streamer until 1230pm.
Fish immediately responded to the black leech imitation.
The average size today was much larger than usual, probably around 14″. Most bigger fish poked out from under boulders or woody debris located near stronger current.
Most fish ate the streamer fished down and across, stripped slowly through the current. I let the fly sink for a few seconds prior to retrieval and the fish pictured above was on when I stripped. The fish pictured below hot the same way!
What a blast! He put up a solid fight on the 5 weight but came to hand fairly quickly. He actually came on my last cast as I was walking back to the car. At least a couple dozen came to hand today, all on the sz 6 black bunny leech. I’ll have to figure out a way to make these flies more durable because they started to fall apart on me after a dozen or so fish. Stay tuned!
Clean, fishable water is in short supply throughout the mn driftless. After a perusal of the 24 and 72 hour precipitation map and a few other trusty resources I embarked on a mission to find fishable water and fish! My first choice was a small stream draining a small watershed. The 24 hour precip map indicated this little slice of heaven received slightly less rain overnight than nearby watersheds.
Fish responded immediately to the streamer. It was a blast trying to land casts in tight quarters only to have accurate casts rewarded with decent fish.
Before too long the gnats tracked me down. The blood sucking little bastards were maddening, yet I soldiered on.
I made sure to soak in my surroundings as I fished upstream. This time of year, as little bouquets of flowers line the banks and nettles are not yet tall enough to catch flesh, fishing is comfortable. (Minus the gnats)
These two trout came from my next destination. This spot had a similar stain and the fish were similarly responsive, although to the quill bodied mayfly instead of the streamer. A dozen or so came to hand before I met up with a customer to pass off some flies. Then, onto my final destination. Upon arrival I ran into three kind gents from the Laughing Trout group. After trading some bullshit we headed our separate ways.
Another 7 or 8 came to hand on the quill mayfly before I called ‘er a day. Although I had these three spots in mind for today I checked on a number of other spots. These three were the only ones even remotely fishable. Smaller streams will continue to clear overnight and more places may become fishable by tomorrow. Medium sized streams will probably fall into shape by Saturday. Streamers and San Juan worms would be my go-to patterns on stained water while you cant go wrong with the quill body mayfly on spots with better visibility. I spotted caddis and craneflies in the air, and decent surface activity in the afternoon. Found some dark colored leeches too.
This afternoon I headed out with Hope’s of finding the right kind of stain in the water for good fishing with the San Juan worm fly. I arrived on stream at 430ish and fished until 6. This stream had a perfect stain but after driving around a bit this am I can report that conditions are variable.
After fooling a few smaller ones with the SJ I prodded a tricky little spot across the main current and between some boulders pictured below.
That fish was tucked along the far bank just above the center of the picture. He put up a great fight, darting around, trying to dig under the boulder, and eventually into the faster current.
This fish took the fly as it drifted perfectly along a partially submerged rock. He held to the bottom in the powerful current before leaping a few feet into the air. Another great battle on the five weight!
A few more solid fish came to hand including one of around 16-17 inches that flopped out of my hand and into the drink before I could capture a pic. I did try the skitter but fish weren’t interested today. A few caddis hopped around on the surface and midges fluttered about but the fish didnt pay the much attention. This was a solid short outing, and yet another reminder of why I love living so close to so many great spring creeks!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of guiding on a local spring creek. Fishing and company were top notch! The stream was clear, skies were cloudy, and fish were hungry. I woke up early this morning and couldn’t fall back asleep. I decided to get out early to check on one of our local trout factories. The rain last night had no effect on water clarity and fish were looking up.
The size 20 Griffiths Gnat got sipped off the top by a dozen or so fish before I switched to a sz 18 rusty zebra midge. Fish responded well. By around 10am I turned around and skittered a quill mayfly downstream. 4-5 more came to hand before the rain chased me back home around 1030am. I tied flies for a few hrs and watched the radar. Around 330pm the clouds parted and I headed to a different stream for more.
Despite the moderately heavy rain the stream I fished had only a slight stain in some of the deepest pools. I worked down stream whilst skittering the quill mayfly. Fish slashed at the fly non stop.
Nothing huge came to hand but it was a blast!
I dont usually count fish but did this afternoon. By the time I returned to the car, an hour and 15 minutes after arrival, I’d landed 27 trout. 3 brookies, 24 browns. Hopefully tomorrow will offer more of the same. If anyone is in need of some flies or interested in a guided trip let me know!
Trout have started to really respond to the skittered quill mayfly in sz 16. I met up with a friend and hiked in to a good fishing spot. The water is really low for this time of year, and very clear. This makes em extra spooky. We hoped the forecasted rain would come and invigorate the system but alas, it was sunny. We arrived at 9 and fished till 5pm.
Fishing wasnt fast n furious but I picked up fish all day. I hooked and lost two decent trout on a sz 16 rusty zebra midge before switching to the quill bodied mayfly. That fly skittered across the surface was the ticket.
My buddy struggled with various nymphs, dries, and streamers but struck out. He was much more focused on ramps and morels.
Fish hit the fly hard. I snapped off on two 16″+ fish. A long leader and light tippet was a must though. We spent a fair amount of time hiking. We kicked up a turkey and deer. And a spotted fawn.
Had a friend show me a place that was slow, but pretty.
I fished the only streamer I had on hand. My buddy used a spinner for a while, a jig, and various colored hard bodied lures. He only landed a little sauger and I snagged a decent little brown that swung and missed my streamer. Got him right in the side, not too deep.
On the way back to the car I snapped a few pics.
Then we hit up some bluegill. The high sun made ’em easily spooked, so it was slow too.
I almost didnt go fishing today. It was cold, windy, and fishing has been slow. Streams are crystal clear and fish are spooky. I tried a soft hackle with limited success. I spotted a pool with fish congregated on the bottom so I tied a sz 16 zebra midge on 5x tippet and dropped it to the bottom of the pool. The wind really threw my line around making casting tricky. The fiberglass rod is not the best choice in such conditions, but I made it work.
They took the fly consistently. I must’ve pulled a dozen out of this one pool! They were all 9-13 inches.
I flogged this spot for a good 45 minutes.
These fish were a blast to sight fish to. I noticed a few fish rising at the head of this pool but stuck with the midges. I’d considered switching to a mayfly nymph but decided to instead chand the venue.
This spot gave up a few more on the soft hackle before I called it a day. Crappy day for fishing, but a great day for catching.
I got out to float fish out of the kayak today. Fishing by 10am, it didn’t take long for for my feet and legs to go numb-ish. Wet wading was a bad idea. Winds blew strong and cold to heighten the intensity of the 48 degree water. Air temps hit the low 60’s and skies were partly cloudy.
This was the first and only Rainbow of around 7 or 8 trout that came to hand. The largest was around 13 inches long. Fishing was tough. Fish came on a number of nymphs, but the orange soft hackle fly was more effective. I saw very few fish rise today. I noticed both large and small caddis and a ton of tiny (sz 26ish) midges. Nice way to spend a day! I got some fly tying materials in so now its back to the vice.
Today I met up with a buddy, the fish ninja. We met at a fine local stream and leap frogged up stream. Temps reached the mid 60’s and skies were partly cloudy. I think the biggest factor in the slow fishing was low, clear water. Fishing pressure is a close second. We persevered.
The fish ninja is pictured preparing to catch a trout. Shortly after this picture was taken he found success. He repeated that success a half dzn or so times using the soft hackled flies featured in my last post.
I found success using a pink squirrel variant. We saw no consistent hatch but had sporadic caddis and mayfly sightings. We spotted fewer than a dozen fish rising.
We fished until around 3pm before making the 1.5 hour walk back to the car. I landed a dozen or so fish, none of notable stature. It was nice to get out. I took the rest of the week off work and plan to fish a bit more this week so stay tuned.
After wrapping things up at work around 5pm I arrived on stream around 530. Only a few clouds of miniscule mishes hung in the air. No other hatch activity noted. I tied on a gray size 16 of the pattern pictured above. It’s like a shallow running soft hackle, kind of. Working downstream with down and across swing around a dozen fish came to hand. The largest was around 13 with the smallest being tiny! With cooler temps forecast for the remainder of the week we will probably see much slower hatch activity. I still plan to prospect with elk hair caddis and swing the above pictured pattern. I anticipate that nymph action will pick up too, with fish back on caddis and mayfly imitations. Midges too, always midges!