Thursday, April 4, 2013

2013 Trout Adventures

March 27th, 2013.  My trout season got started with a snowy, cool, day.  I am taking off work on Wednesdays this year, thinking the fishing will be better in the middle of the week instead of Mondays like last year.  The day was the warmest so far this year (low 30s) therefore, spring fever hit me pretty hard.  My valley had no previous fishing traffic, evidenced by the deep snow with no tracks, well, at least no human tracks!  There were plenty of deer, fox, coyote, turkey, and one trail with canine tracks sized between orange and grapefruit!  Wolf?  Either that or a real large dog.  The walking was hard with now trail broke, and I found out that I am either getting old, or I am not in summer shape, probably both!  I caught six brownies, three of which were in the 15 to 18" range, the others 10 to 14 ".  I also caught 3 brookies around 12 ".  My leg muscles were a little sore the next day, but that is to be expected for an old guy!  As always, I thank God for His Bounty, and for giving me the opportunity to partake.

Wednesday April 3rd, 2013.
The forecast is for upper 40s, possible 50, so I am heading to the Lanesboro area once again, although not the same stream I last fished.  This is a spring fed stream of about 3 miles with many many oxbows on the lower end.  I started fishing shortly after noon and found almost perfect conditions.  The water was a little cloudy, but the visibility was great.  I found large brown trout at almost every log, undercut bank, and long deep pools.  The fishing was hot and heavy, the fish a little spooky, especially after missing one.  It was some of the best trout fishing in a long while.  After working my way upstream for about 2 hours, the water seemed much faster and higher, and also much less visibility, in fact down right muddy, with no visibility at all.  I walked the road back to my Outback, and thought I would try back where I started.  The same spots I fished previously were now unfishable, the water was over where I had been standing on the bank.  I estimate the water was 2 feet higher than the  prior 2 hours.  The warm afternoon temperature was now close to 50 and the snow melt was in full force.  It was time to head back home to Rochester. During this trip, I must have counted 2 dozen deer, some as close as 20 feet from me.  I thanked God for His bounty and for giving me the opportunity to partake.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


20 # Lake Sturgeon (Mississippi River @ Winona)

55 # Lake Sturgeon (Mississippi River @ Winona)

55 # Lake Sturgeon (Mississippi River @ Winona)

Had to kiss my personal best (all species)
        I received a text from my son-in-law Jeff Friday night, wondering if I wanted to head to the River Saturday.  It took all of a nano-second to say "hell yes!".  As it turned out, the weather was to be nicer on Sunday, so we waited and headed out for Winona about 8 am.  The weather was cool, but dry, and Jeff proceeded catch walleye, sauger, and (baaaa) sheephead. 
     We moved to a prime spot, and Jeff suggested that I bait up the heavy duy cat rod.  In a very short time I caught, measured, took a photo, and released a 40" lake sturgeon.  It gave me the toughest fight in memory.  I was definately excited to say the least!  I would have been satisfied if the was the only fish I caught all day, but that was not to be the case! 
    I don't think a half hour went by when I had a light bite again, similar to the last one.  After a short wait, I set the hook and all hell broke loose!  I was making some headway when she broke water with a beautiful jump, and I swear, I thought it was six feet long.  My arms actually ached, my hands were shaking, and I wondered if my heart was going to make it.  We tried several times to net the monster, but the net was too small.  Now I'm really shaking, and on this try, we got the head in the net, and Jeff got his hand under the tail, and flipped her in the boat.  I could not believe what I had caught (with Jeff's help)!  It was the largest fish I have ever caught, and I have been fishing for over sixty years!
    It was a day that I will never forget.  Thank you Jeff Weatherly for turning me on to the most memorable fishing trip ever, and thank God for giving me the opportunity to partake of His Bounty!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DRIFTLESS GEMS: Mississippi River Angling

DRIFTLESS GEMS: Mississippi River Angling: Since the Mississippi River runs through the ":Driftless Region", I have decided to include my "Big River" adventures this year.  Generally ...

Mississippi River Angling

Since the Mississippi River runs through the ":Driftless Region", I have decided to include my "Big River" adventures this year.  Generally speaking my goal is to spend one day each weekend on both the trout streams, and also on my boat on the Mississippi River.

Saturday began with a rainy forecast for the day, and I love to trout fish on cloudy, rainy weather because that makes it harder for trout to see me.  I thought I would end the day on the streams, but my River partner son in law Jeff called to suggest a trip to the River.  It took only a moment to agree, so with rain gear packed, Jeff's boat in tow, we were off to Winona, Mn.  We arrived early afternoon, and launched below the dam.  It looked like a good day when shortly after getting on the water, I grabbed first fish honors (for a change)!  Jeff then proceeded to catch most of the fish as usual!  I ended up with the last fish also, but managed no photo opportunities.  The sun did manage to come out for the end of our day.

My second trip of the weekend was a solo trip to Red Wing, Mn.  It was windy with a temperature of 41 degrees as I hit the water!  I headed for a backwater area that would give me some shelter from the wind, and that I also knew  to be a good spot early in the year.  I thought it was ridicules to bring my cold weather fishing suit, but I was sure glad I did.  I managed a couple of photo opportunities before quitting around 6:00.  It was an enjoyable afternoon, even with the windchill in the 30's.  Brrrr!
I was a cold but fun afternoon.  Thank God for giving us the opportunity to enjoy His Bounty!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The cold is back! March 26th, 2012

  The temp was about 38 degrees when I headed out to my favorite stream today.  I waited until about noon to head out, thinking maybe, just maybe,  it would be a little warmer.  Well, it didn't get any warmer!  The brisk wind was also a factor.  SE Minnesota had rain over the weekend, so I was looking forward to some nice cloudy water.  I was mistaken, the water was crystal clear.  At least the sky was cloudy, and I did have on camos.  I worked pretty hard on some stretches that are harder to fish with thick brush, but only caught a handful.  I saw some monsters, but they were especially spooky, so they will be there next time.  I only took a pic of one brown that I thought had some unusual coloring.  The gold underbelly was beautiful.  After a few hours of bone chilling wind, I headed back, once again thankful for the bounty God has provided!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jigging for Trout

The wind was out of the south at 25? mph, and being my chosen stream of the day runs north to the south, fly fishing was pretty much out of the question for me.  I chose to use my spinning rig, a light weight fast action rod, matched to a pflueger reel.  I have had the best luck over the years with a wooly bugger jig, and because of the wind, I used a 1/16th jig in all back with painted eyes.  There was no spring runoff this year due to lack of snow making the water clear, but not too low, due to the springs flowing pretty good.                                                                                                                                            

Starting with the first hole, the trout were cooperative, in fact very cooperative.  I lost count around 20, and manage to get quite a few pictures with my Blackberry.  I did see a few "monsters" but only managed a 15 1/2 inch brown with beautiful dark colors, and a very nice 13 inch brook.  I figure the ratio ran 3-1 favoring  the brown trout.  Brook trout were first stocked late in the spring of 2008 and I'm guessing them to be measuring about 8 inches now.  I have caught a brook or two a year on this stream each year, even though the DNR says there haven't been brook trout stocked since the early 1980's.

The pictures show a few of the fish caught including the big brown and big brook of the day.  As usual, I thank God for giving me the bounty, and giving me the health to partake.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I'm going to start with a belated post. I got out for a session on Jan 11th for an early start to the 2012 trout season. The temp was near 60 (yes, in January and in Minnesota). The stream was clear and had a medium flow as we had no snow to speak of at all this year. I didn't bring my fly rod, so I was using a small Panther Martin. My first cast brought me a 12" brown, but the hole was quickly spooked, so I kept moving. I caught several more fish in the next two hours, and was quickly fishing without my jacket. Anytime I can sneak a trout session this early in the year, I feel blessed!

And now for yesterday, Mar 5th......... I was anxious to get out, even if the conditions were far from perfect. The temp was more like Minnesota, low 30's with a brisk wind. I fished Crow Spring Creek, east of Rochester, Mn. I was using my new small stream rig, a custom St Croix 3wt 6' rod built by my son-in-law, Jeff Weatherly. I paired this with a new 2/3 Okuma SLV reel with Cabala's Prestige premier WF 3 F line. It was a perfect combination, much thanks to SIL Jeff.

I fought the wind and cold, and sorry to say, the trout were not cooperating, but any day on the trout stream is a beautiful day. Thank God for His Bounty!