Scott's Outdoor Blog

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Day on the Water

 I made the drive to open water again on Saturday.  The forecast for Sunday looked a little shaky, so a day trip was all I had planned.  The warmer weather from the week before had the stream running a little high and off-color.  I hoped this would have the trout on the prowl. 

Apparently the deer around here are trained to point trout.  I agreed with them.  It looks like there should be some right about there.

They were right!  Hooked into this guy with an olive wooly bugger stripped across the tail-out of the pool above.   No measurements were taken, but he was definitely a contender for my best of the season.  I was onto trout all day, with most taken on a #12 black stonefly nymph. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feb 12-13: Heat Wave

Finally some warmer weather!  Highs in the 30s both Saturday and Sunday made for ice-free rod guides and enjoyable fishing.  The previous weekend I talked to a fellow fly fisherman on a different stream who was just getting into fly-fishing.  I gave him a call Friday night to see if he was interested in hitting the streams together on Saturday.  He was all for it. 

                                Here's Henry hooked into his first fish on a fly rod. 

Colorful Brown Trout successfully brought to hand.
Now it was my turn.  I'm not used to having somebody there to snap photos that I'm actually in.  I guess it's time to start paying attention to my form.  

Little Brownie in no time.  When fishing, the camera subtracts ten pounds (from the fish).

After a good morning of fishing, we decided it was time to head into Rochester to get some food, beers, and watch some rugby.  We ended up staying downtown until around midnight.  I'd never been to Rochester before, so it was fun to see something new.  Henry let me crash at his studio.  I put my air mattress down on the kitchen floor and climbed into my sleeping bag.  It sure beat the snow cave.  7 a.m came pretty early, but I was excited to get out again.   Henry had other plans for Sunday, so I was flying solo again. 

Sorry to say Henry, but it was a bad day to sleep in.

The fish were feeding in the deep holes right when I arrived around 7:30 a.m.  I picked up 6 or 7 in just over an hour.

  As the bite began to slow in the first hole I was fishing, I began moving my indicator further up the leader.  Working the depths of the deep blue hole, I watched my indicator pause for just a second.  I pulled up on the rod and immediately felt strong resistance. This fish didn't come rushing right up to the surface, and the head-shakes where slower and more powerful.   I mentally reminded myself not to horse this one.  He stayed low and tried to stay in the strong current.  I quickly crossed the river, stomping towards some slack water where I hoped to have a better shot at landing the fish.  The water was extremely clear, and I caught a glimpse of the fish while it was still probably 6 feet down.  It looked to me to have a legitimate shot at being a 20 inch brown.  The fight seemed to drag on, and I was constantly afraid I was going to lose this fish.  However, once I pulled his head into the slack water, he came to me quite quickly.  In one fluid motion I pulled the fish towards me, then right up onto an ice shelf.  It wasn't until he was on the ice that I saw this ugly face.  

After a little research, I've concluded that this is my Personal Best Silver Redhorse!  Redhorse Identification.  Imagine my elation!  

Time to head upstream.  The rising temperatures had triggered midge and small stone fly activity.  Risers could be spotted in smaller looking runs.  The fish appeared to be dispersing throughout the stream instead of hunkered down in the deep holes.

Any entomologists out there care to enlighten me?

I was able to pull fish out of a variety of water types and on various flies.  I caught one on an olive wooly-bugger under an indicator.   Another came on a black stone fly nymph imitation.  Most were still caught on midge larvae and emergers.

I went on to have a little fun with the underwater setting on my camera.  This next picture gives you the "Trout's Eye View".

I could have fished all day, as the fish were biting and the weather was great.  But I had a long drive ahead of me, and not much could have made the day better than it already was.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rudolph's First Day of School

This video montage is just some stuff from this Fall that I never got around to posting.  The first series of events is a group of deer I spotted around noon after leaving my treestand and truckin' for home.  There were at least 4 bucks in the group.  One dink, two average bucks, and one big-bodied king-of-the-hill with super tall brow tines.  The way they were acting I knew there had to be a hot doe around, but I never did see her.  I decided to try to go around them and slip down into the draw to try a stalk.  I managed to get into the dry creek bottom undetected, which I thought would be the biggest challenge.  It went downhill from there though, as I could no longer see where the deer were.  I ended up first bumping the dink out at about 15 yards.  After things calmed down I worked further up the creek bed and saw one of the average bucks coming towards me.  There is a short clip of him in the video, but I put the camera down when I knew he would be coming into range.  I thought maybe the big guy would be following him, and I wanted to be ready to shoot not film.  He came up to about 25 yards before realizing I was standing there.  He freaked out, blew at me, and took off.  I looked up out of the creek bed to see that all the deer followed him, including the one I was after. 

The next buck in the video was filmed from my Northeast treestand.  He was coming straight towards me along the same trail they usually follow.  Once he dipped down to cross the creek I took the camera off him and positioned it in the shooting lane I expected him to cross.  He hadn't read the script and decided to take a different route, passing about 35 yards North of me.

The end of the video is my favorite.  The footage is pretty blurry due to the fact that my camera is at full digital zoom at close to 1000 yards away.  It's the most intense buck fight I've witnessed, but the bucks are both dinks!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Weekend, New Stream

  Another weekend of winter fly fishing is in the books.  With a promising weather forecast, I set out to try another one of Southeast Minnesota's winter trout streams.

Overcast weather and a balmy 22 degrees!

                                                                          Great looking water full of eager, but small, brown trout.                                  
 Took a hike in the snowshoes up a tributary known to hold Brook Trout. I did see some Brookies, but not until after they saw me.              

I took it pretty easy on Saturday, just enjoyed being out there.  I probably caught close to 10 trout, but none significant enough to bring the camera out of the pocket.  Decided to stay the night in this cozy little downtown motel.
Room with a view!! Where economy meets necessity!

Sunday morning I popped out of bed, picked up a cup of coffee, and made the short drive back to where I'd spent the day before.  The fishing was quite a bit more challenging, but I was able to get this guy to eat.  Felt obligated to get a picture of the only fish of the morning.  

Stopped fishing around mid-morning Sunday and collected a few bugs.   Saw the Green Giant on the way home.