This winter has been very mild to say the least. Although it is technically still winter trout season here in Minnesota, the weather is anything but that. Over the weekend, we camped at one of our favorite trout streams. Temps crept into the eighties, bringing out the trout and the bugs.
Braden and I were on the water as the morning sun crept over the bluffs. We headed downstream to a long, slow run where a few trout were rising sporadically to midges. Braden crawled out on a log jam and after several attempts delivered a difficult cast to a riser. The trout gulped his cdc midge, only to hopelessly tangle himself in the logs before Braden could do anything. That was about it for a while. While Braden hiked back to camp for some breakfast, I explored some water I hadn’t fished before. I found a great pool with some good cover and brought the first trout of the day to hand, a little ten inch brown that took a #14 hare and copper. I caught one more little brown in that pool and kept going downstream. My indicator dove as it drifted along a log, and I tied into a decent rainbow. The last rainbow we caught out of this stream last season was a fresh stocker that barely put up any fight, but this holdover had some nice spots and fought pretty well.
Around nine or ten some bugs started coming off and the trout started rising. Braden and Noah came down and got in the action. Fish were holding in faster water and steadily rising to the now thick mayflies. A#16 quill gordon was a decent match. Braden pulled in a nice brown, the first on his new rod. Noah caught the biggest brown of the morning, a nice fish around fourteen inches. I caught six on the morning, not bad for St. Patricks Day.
On of the best things about the weekend was we got the river practically to ourselves. I saw only two other anglers way upstream. The water was more like it is in the middle of summer or the fall, not high and stained like it usually is this time of year. The high temps definitely kept the trout moving. Anyway, Noah and I hit a slow section in the evening hoping for a hatch or spinner fall. A few trout were rising, but not like we were hoping for. I caught two little browns in the last light of the day.
The next morning found Braden and I on the water early again. I was fishing with a three fly dry dropper rig consisting of a #12 Ausable Bomber dry with a #14 hare and copper and #20 black beauty midge dropper. A few trout were rising to the hatching midges. I was nymphing the head of a deep cliff pool when the Bomber plunged into the depths. I hooked into a good sixteen inch rainbow, one of the best fish of the trip. Unfortunately, the camera battery died so I didn’t get a picture. Braden switched to the same rig and we headed upstream with Noah and did quite well with the shallow water nymphing. Most people overlook this water with the deep pools nearby, but it holds lots of fish, including some bigger ones. A lot of the fish took the midge, but a few ate the hare and copper. Braden and I combined caught nineteen trout, mostly browns in the ten to fourteen inch range, and another good rainbow I caught in skinny water. Noah caught two, one on a cdc dry and the other on a hare and copper. With a bit of help from me, Mom caught her first trout on a fly, a healthy twelve inch brown. It was her first time fly fishing, and she improved alot over the morning. It was great to be camping and fishing in mid March!