Scott's Outdoor Blog

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Slideshow Archives

I decided to go through my pictures on my laptop and back them up online.  I posted the thumbnail links to the different albums on the right-hand side of the blog.  If you click on the album, it takes you to the slideshow on the source page.  I like to then click the "full-screen" tab to view the slideshows.  I'll be adding albums as I get time.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Camping Trip

Headed East again this weekend to do a little fishin'.  The weather forecast called for cold temps, but little chance of snow.  This time I brought along my camping gear.  2 1/2 hours is too far to go for a day trip!

This spot looks just about right.

 As much work as it took to hollow out, it sure better be comfortable!

I think I need a welcome mat. 

Living room with a skylight!

I think this is a type of Redhorse....a member of the sucker family?

Another small brown trout from the same hole I caught them in last week.  I also hooked a rainbow there today, but it popped off as I was trying to grab it.

In front of Big Springs, headwaters of Canfield Creek.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

First Fish of 2011

  Today I took a little drive East into the Driftless Region of Southeast Minnesota.  Apparently, the area has numerous spring-fed creeks that keep the ice off year-round.   Oh, and they are full of trout.  Naturally reproducing populations residing in some areas, stockers in others.  I had my suspicions going on a fly fishing trip to an area termed "Driftless", so a little help from Wikipedia enlightened me.

I settled on Canfield Creek in Western Fillmore County for my first trip.  It is a catch-and-release only stream, and only allows artificial lures.  I hoped this would give me a better shot at hooking up with a nicer sized fish.  Also, it was closer to home and further from the Twin Cities....a better shot at solitude?

As I had hoped, the angler access parking lot was empty and there were no human tracks going to the stream.  Without a map, this made finding the stream a bit of a crap shoot.  I decided to try downhill first. 
After about a quarter mile hike in the new snowshoes, I found the water.  The stream was actually quite a bit larger than I had expected, and the water looked perfect....gin clear and an ideal flow for the fly rod. 

I sat down on the snow bank and rigged up.  With 8 degree weather in early January, I didn't expect much bug activity.  Consequently, I started off with a #16 gray Flashback Scud trailed by a #20 Zebra Midge.  Initially, I set a white foam indicator about 6 feet up, but removed it after thoroughly working the hole.  Shortly after taking off the indicator I hooked into this whale, then another of similar size on the following cast.   It ocurred to me that this is the first time my "first fish of the year" has been a Brown Trout, so that's cool.  After fishing out the hole I walked up on a high bank directly over the deepest part of the hole.  There was a big slow eddy there that looked to be the best spot in sight.  Sure enough, when I looked down over the bank I spooked a nice fish.  As my eyes focused in on that fish, more and more fish silhouettes started becoming visible.  There was a big school of maybe 30 fish in that hole, with 4 or 5 of them looking to be in the 18 inch range.   I knew they had me spotted, but I couldn't resist dropping the flies in on them.  As expected they slowly eased back into the bottom of the hole.  I decided it was time to head upstream.  I would hit this hole again on my way back, with a better idea of how the fish would be holding.

Walking along a deer trail about a hundred feet above the stream, I couldn't help but think how great it was that there were still no other human tracks to be seen!  Judging by some of the older looking deer tracks, there hadn't been enough fresh snow to recently cover anything up either. 

I walked upon this great looking run with fairly deep slack water off the main current.  I fished it outside-in without any luck.  By now the shadows were getting longer.  I decided it was time to head back to the first hole (I decided to name "Trout in a Barrel") and see if the fish had settled down yet. 

I guess the fish have better memory than I gave them credit for.   I put a few perfect drifts right down the seam they were facing earlier and nada. 

I took a little detour downriver to do some scouting for next time before I cut back up towards where I hoped the car was.   I walked right to it, but for awhile there my confidence wasn't as high as I'd hoped.  Maybe I'll take a map and compass next time....and GPS. 

Puttin' the miles on the snowshoes is quite a workout.  I'm glad I planned ahead and brought along this guy.  A beer always tastes better after a day like today.  Can't wait to go explore a different stream soon!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Boatload o' Mallards

  Dec. 30, 2010


I was back in Manhattan for a few days around New Year's, so I decided to spend a morning duck hunting with a few local experts. 

  They had been scouting and found a bunch of ducks tucked back in a cove on the main lake at Tuttle Creek.  It was pretty windy as we took the boat across the cove in the morning darkness, but we eventually had the spread set out and got to quackin' at some ducks.  

The action was steady all morning, with lots of ducks in the area.  Any ducks that played the wind right when approaching our decoys ended up dropping right in.  Here's a shot of Bayes taking a quack at one.  


We took our time getting our four-man limit.  There were enough ducks coming in we could basically take turns shooting.  

Left to Right:
T. Shilling, Marty, Danger Bayes

    Had to get one with me in there.  It was my first and last duck hunt of the year.  Finally I brought the luck.

Bayes looking not so dangerous in his "hunter orange" life preserver.   He and Travis, being co-captains, argued over who should drive the first load of gear across the cove.   The wind had picked up considerably by late morning, and we were stuck on the wrong side of the lake. 

They set out from the calm water, but decided to hug the shoreline all the way around the big cove instead of trying to cut straight across.  Marty and I waited and watched.  Eventually we saw them come back into sight, heading straight up wind along the opposite shore.  It didn't look fun, and they said they had the boat completely out of the water at one point.  Marty and I were content to walk back around after neither one of them were too excited to come pick us up.