This spring small fly assortment has 28 flies, two sizes of strike indicators (one of each), and a little box. These flies are a sampling of my go-to spring flies. It includes midges, caddis dries and nymphs, soft hackles, mayfly nymphs and dries, scud, and attractor nymphs. They are the same patterns I carry and fish all spring and the same indicators that I fish with.
I have a limited supply so get em while they last!
I guided a half day this morning and got out afterwards for the remainder of the day. This morning I expected to find a good stain, or at least for a stain to develop with the rains that were forecast to move through. The rain came, but more in the form of light showers. I educated the fellas on some finer points of casting, reading the water, fly choice, line management, and more. The fish didn’t respond as we’d hoped but I hope the skills and techniques discussed today lead to many fishfull days for them in the near future. Streamers and the San Juan worm produced, although the vast majority of streamer strikes were short strikes.
I hit three access points and tossed streamers, nymphs, and dries. Fish didn’t seem to rise in fishable numbers until around 5pm and would only take a delicately fished size 20 Matt’s midge. I landed three on streamers and a half dozen or so on tiny nymphs. Overall it was a really slow day. My only thought is that the cooler temperatures along with rain cooled the water off and changing up the bite. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
I headed out fishing this afternoon with a friend who I haven’t fished with in a while. We arrived on stream around 4pm under cloudy skies. Temps were in the high 40’s and the river held an ever-so-slight stain.
Small clouds of tiny midges fluttered around the banks but fish didn’t feed consistently enough for me to tie on a dry. We both decided to fish streamers. We had lots of swings and misses but I connected to a decent one.
By the time we got to the end of the easement the sun was setting. We decided to nymph fish our way back upstream. I fished a San Juan worm and he went with a fly of his own invention, the “Quincy”. I also fished a pink squirrel type jig nymph. We both did well. I tried fishing a sz 20 Griffiths gnat just to be able to say I landed fish on a streamer, nymph, terrestrial, and dry fly. And I can!
I’m guiding a half day tomorrow, then maybe getting back out myself in the rain. Stay tuned!
Well, I expected to find at least a little bit of a stain on the medium sized stream I hit after work today. What i found was crystal clear conditions. I arrived on stream around 530pm under mostly cloudy skies. Temps were in the mid 40’s and it was a little breezy. I started out fishing a little mayfly nymph but quickly switched to a sz 20 Matt’s midge after breathing in clouds of little midges. Fish were surfacing and responded well to the midge.
The fiberglass rod struggled a little to shoot line through the wind and I spent more time than usual untangling wind knots. Luckily I’m well experienced so I never had to clip the fly and re-rig! Fish came to hand pretty consistently.
I don’t usually take pics of all the mini trout I catch but this one will be used to taunt my 3 year old niece. She keeps shit talking that she’s gonna catch a bigger trout then me when the in-laws come to visit in a few weeks.
Fish continued to eat on top as I headed back to the car. By 730pm I’d landed a dozen or so trout, all on midge patterns. I missed quite a few strikes due to poor(ish) line management. This stream is heavily pressured and the larger trout seem to sit in areas with strong cross currents. If you’re getting out tomorrow expect clear conditions and midges!
Today’s destination was a long walk from the car. A friend and I arrived on stream around 930am under sunny skies. It was windy and only grew more so as the day went on.
We spent most of the day throwing streamers. Fish were aggressive but often wouldn’t fully commit. Still, we managed to get a few.
My friend didn’t catch a ton of fish but the ones he landed were good ones, including his personal best!
While it was nowhere near my personal best I landed one of my more memorable catches. We walked up to a small logjam that had a good current running through. I took my streamer and dipped it in, giving it a few twitches. This trout came out from the jam and smashed the fly!
The river was crystal clear today but fish didn’t seem as easily spooked as we expected. With winds gusting into the 40mph range we saw very few midges and even fewer rises. With rain coming this week timing will be key to finding fishable conditions. The fish will like a little more water in the rivers and will probably respond by eating! I turned over a few rocks today and found them covered in cased caddis. We should see some epic caddis hatches com the end of April!
After a night of poor sleep and a bunch of driving a buddy and I headed to a distant trout stream that we don’t usually fish. We did a lot of walkin’. But we also did a lot of catchin’.
There was not a cloud in the sky. Temps must’ve been in the 50’s and the stream felt cold. We were surprised to find the water slightly stained. My buddy fished with a spinner and I switched around between a streamer, midge, nymph, and San Juan worm.
The San Juan worm fished best. Unfortunately I ordered the supplies too late and found myself run out of them after snapping off my only one on a decent fish!!! After a solid day of fishing I decided to focus on taking pictures and watching my buddy masterfully ply the water with his spinner.
He doesn’t mess around. While I probably landed 20 or so on the day he must’ve picked up 40-50. Fish were more aggressive than I expected and I was kicking myself for leaving most of my streamers in the car.
We actually ended up hitting two different spots with a quick trip to quick trip in between. The second stream is one we’ve fished before. This time we decided to fish it farther upstream. We put a little distance between ourselves and the car before getting started.
Fishing was a little slow at first. This lovely lady cow curiously kept an eye on us. As the fishing improves so did the views.
While I messed around with midges with moderate success my buddy continued to pull em on consistently.
We put on over 10 miles and fished from around 930am-730pm, with a short break around 230. We found that on stream 1 the bite turned off around 1200, likely due to runoff. Stream 2 fished well the whole time. Midges hatched sporadically throughout the day with the most consistent action between 4-7pm.
Didn’t plan to fish today but headed out after a late afternoon cancellation. I work a 12 hr shift tonight so the window was tight. The stretch of river I chose is a downstream spot on a medium sized river. The sun was high in the sky and the river was crystal clear. I actually just got a text from a spin fishin buddy who reports that all of the streams he passed by today were low and clear too. Tough conditions!
I started out fishing a midge dry, but even with midges fluttering around fish were not actively feeding. I switched to a sz 18 black zebra midge with a sz 16 black soft hackle trailing. I sight fished to spooky fish for about a 1.5 hours.
Although conditions were challenging I landed a dozen or so healthy browns. The chunkiest one flopped out of my hand and into the drink as I tried to snap a pick. I missed another dozen or so on poor hook sets. I spooked a ton of fish too! It’ll be tough this weekend but by the time I headed home fish were surfacing with enough regularity to try the dry. Long leaders, light tippet, a careful approach, and small flies will produce.
Streams of all sizes throughout southeastern mn should be running clear to lightly stained. I fished a nearby stream yesterday that tends to cloud up easily and it was running crystal clear! Midges were popping and fish were rising to ‘em! The snow is almost gone and with full sun and temps in the 50’s today’s conditions will help usher it away.
Here’s a quick overview of the patterns I’ll be fishing over the next week or two!
As the ground continues to thaw worms will start coming to the surface. Especially during wet conditions they squirm around, often falling into the river. Worms are a calorie packed bite of food. Fish the San Juan, or any other worm pattern when streams have a moderate to heavy stain. Size 10-14 work well. Use 4x tippet. I tie them using a tungsten bead and fish them under an indicator.
The scud imitates a freshwater crustacean that tends to die off in winter (I think). Fish like em fished deep so I also tie these using a tungsten bead. Typically fished in sizes 14-18. These fish best when the stream has a slight to moderate stain.
Pictured from top left going clockwise are the a sz 14 pink squirrel variant, a sz 16 pink squirrel variant, a sz 16 prince nymph, and a sz 16 hares ear. These are attractor nymphs that can represent various natural bugs. I’d fish these flies in clear to moderately stained water using as small of a strike indicator as I could get away with.
On the left is pictured sz 16 and 18 general mayfly nymphs. Rusty orange, gray, and olive fish best. I often fish them in tandem with a zebra midge of a different color. The zebra midge is a staple trout fly. These fish well in clear to slightly stained water under a small indicator. Long leaders and 5x tippet are a must. This time of year the water is cold and the fish don’t usually want to move far for food so it’s important to fish any subsurface patterns deep. I try to keep the fly ticking on the bottom.
If you spot rising fish right now they are likely eating midges. The three patterns listed above, the Matt’s midge, Griffiths gnat, and soft hackle, will catch em. Remember though, when the water is clear and the sky is sunny you’ll need at least 5x tippet and a long (sometimes as long as 15 feet) leader and tippet combo. I fish midge patterns in sz 18 and 20. Sometimes retrieving the fly with a twitch can elicit strikes so don’t hesitate to experiment with retrieval.
With streamers I fish whatever’s in my box. A decent rule of thumb is to fish darker colored patterns in darker water, lighter colors in more clear water. Experiment with retrieves. Work around structure and keep moving. This time of year I’ve done best with slow retrieves.
Of course plenty of other flies will work but these patterns served me well! Soon we’ll see bwo’s and shortly after, caddis! Stay tuned.
After work I found myself close enough to a few trout streams that I couldn’t help but stop to fish. Earlier in the day I was in the state park and saw a bunch of fish rising to midges. March is easily the best time of year to fish midge dries. Midges were flying around as I approached the stream so that’s what I started with. The stream was clear, the sky was cloudy and the air was still. A few shorties came to hand but my leader/tippet was not long enough and I spooked quite a few.
This brookie was the biggest fish of the day! I only fished for about an hour, but it was a productive hour. Most fish that took the midge were quite small although one nice fish escaped the hand by the skin of his teeth due to a poor hook set. While this stream remains incredibly productive I worry that increased siltation, which has build up over the last two years, could start to limit fish populations in this stretch. I’ll have to keep an eye out this weekend on some of my other favorites to see if this is unique to this stretch or if the issue is systemic. Anyone have observations? Share in the comments!
Conditions-Snow is melting away quick. I’m guessing that by tomorrow afternoon streams will be pretty cold and possibly off color. With temps forecast in the high 40’s and 50’s into the weekend the snow should melt off quick. Some streams (smaller) will probably be fishable throughout the melt while medium and larger streams may become unfishable. Nighttime temps should get below freezing which will moderate the melt a little so I don’t think streams will blow out too bad. If you plan to fish over the next few days come prepared with a backup spot.