Driftless Trout Anglers

Welcome Guest! To enable all features please Login or Register.

Notification

Icon
Error

Options
Go to last post Go to first unread
OTC_MN  
#1 Posted : Thursday, November 30, 2017 7:48:00 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 3/18/2016(UTC)
Posts: 137
Location: St Paul MN

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 3 time(s) in 3 post(s)
I was sorting through some stuff over the weekend, stowing gear I won't be needing until next season, and trying to figure out just where the heck in my overfilled office/fishing room I'm going to store all the stuff I just cleaned out of my boat. 20-some rods leaning against the wall with reels that needed to be removed and stored before I put the rods on racks, the large pile of Stowaway boxes filled with bass plastics that needed to be gone through to see what I'm running low on, then sorted and stacked on shelves, and the softball-sized lure blob of crankbaits, jigs, topwaters and jerkbaits that I'd rounded up from around the boat that needed to be untangled and put away.

Looking at the chaos piled in the middle of the room, I thought to myself "you know, this would be a good time to look at my notes from this past trout season."

I have the best of intentions when it comes to keeping a journal. Record useful information like water temp, weather and water conditions, what flies worked and what didn't. Information that I could look back on in the future, and maybe - somehow - be able to predict what I'll encounter on the water.

That's a fantasy of course. Each day on the river is unique, immutable - something for which there's no example but the thing itself. It's a fantasy, too, because despite my best intentions, my record keeping is utterly haphazard. Sometimes it's a detailed report. More often it's hastily scribbled notes - "Root River. Caught 12 on beatis nymphs, BWO hatch around 11, Barr's Emergers and Parachute Adams." Where on the Root? What was the weather like? How clear was the water? Did I actually catch any on dries, and how many? If not, why did I write it down? Lord knows.

But among the thoroughly disappointing smattering of incomplete and unhelpful records, I did notice one interesting thing.

First fish of the season in January, the week after the MN winter opener. Fish in February - check. March - check (Barely. I only got out once, and caught just two fish in high, cold, muddy water before giving up. My failures, it seems, are far more thoroughly documented than my successes.). April through August - check. September and October - check, and check.

Hmm.

So far, I'd caught a fish every month of the year...

With some MN streams now open year-round (a new thing this year), I could catch a trout every month of the year, and, well, that'd be kind of cool.

Quick look at the calendar. November 26th. Crap. Clock's ticking. Look at my work schedule. Hah! One meeting on Wednesday. Yeah, blowing that off. I'm going fishing.

Usually when I head down to the Southeastern streams, I'm up early, often on the road between 4 and 5 AM. With morning temps in the twenties, and a kid to get on the bus before I left, I didn't get on the water until around 10.

Started out Euro nymphing, with a size 16 Walt's Worm as my point fly, and a small PT on a dropper. Mid-way through the 5th drift, my indicator stutter-stepped briefly, and a few moments later, I slid the net under a 14" brown. First trout I'd ever caught in November, and the first I'd caught Euro nymphing in the winter (although it was hard to call it winter yesterday. I wore a sweatshirt all day.)

Eventually caught another three out of that run, and continued on upstream. The bite was pretty steady between 10 and 1, with most fish coming on a Walt's Worm, and the occasional fish on the dropper, which I switched flies on constantly trying to find something they'd hit more readily. Caught fish on an egg pattern, small beatis nymph and midge pupa, but nothing seemed better than anything else, and most fish came on the point fly.

What was interesting was fish location. I'd expected to find them in slower runs and holes, like I'd expect to find them in later winter. But most of the fish were in close proximity to riffles and faster water. Not *in* the riffle like I'd find them in summer and early fall, but just below them, and still in relatively fast water. There were a few olives fluttering around, but not enough to call it a full on hatch, and I saw exactly one rise all day.

Around 1, things slowed down considerably. The immediate tailouts of riffles stopped producing, and fish definitely dropped back to slower, flat runs and deeper holes. After several fly changes, I finally started catching fish with some consistency on size 20 and 22 midge patterns (a bead head $3 dip, trailed by Pat Dorsey's Mercury Midge) fished under an indicator. I should have made the switch sooner, but given how well I'd been doing earlier, I stuck with it a bit longer than the results justified.

By the time all was said and done, I ended up with 18 browns and 8 rainbows. Considering I'd more or less declared victory the second the first fish hit the net, and the fact that I'd never fished trout this time of year, it was a pretty good day on the water. Learned some things, caught some fish, had a few pleasant chats with some other fishermen... According to the ranger at the park office, guys are definitely taking advantage of the C&R season and nice weather. I saw half a dozen other anglers even mid-week. Plus, I got to fish in Minnesota wearing a sweatshirt the last week of November, and that doesn't happen all that often...

So, November: Check.

Now December. With my kid's hockey schedule, and the fact that winter of some sort will get here eventually, it might be a tall order. But I plan on trying. And if I do get out, maybe I'll even write it down in my log book.

"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
Gurth  
#2 Posted : Thursday, November 30, 2017 10:37:03 PM(UTC)
Gurth
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 11/7/2016(UTC)
Posts: 499
Man
Location: Madison

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 7 time(s) in 7 post(s)
Sounds like a great day (and year).

I was able to get at least one trout each month last year.

The problem over here is that we don't have any year round water other than lake run tribs.

I went to unclassified and transitional sections of rivers/streams southwest of Madison last fall a few times and got trout in November and then got out once in December and got this pig...


UserPostedImage


Laugh

About 9 inches, but my only December stream trout of my life, so I LOVE him. BigGrin


There aren't a lot of any kind of fish in these waters and the trout I did run into were mostly small. Also got a few smallies and a northern.

Haven't gone out this year in November and it's almost dusk and today is the 30th, so not gonna happen this year.

Was fun giving it a try last year on these marginal waters, but just not worth the effort.

Maybe we'll have some year round water in the future although it's so much better than it used to be already.

Can't imagine waiting for May anymore or shutting it down on 9/30.
Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
Gurth  
#3 Posted : Friday, December 1, 2017 4:30:36 AM(UTC)
Gurth
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 11/7/2016(UTC)
Posts: 499
Man
Location: Madison

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 7 time(s) in 7 post(s)
Oh yeah... and my point is...

Do it.

I thought it was pretty cool to get one in each month and you'll have much better luck since you can go to real trout streams.

I love watching the change of the seasons as it plays out on the water.
Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
Guillermo  
#4 Posted : Friday, December 1, 2017 6:00:33 AM(UTC)
Guillermo
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 6/25/2013(UTC)
Posts: 314
Location: Wisconsin

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 6 time(s) in 6 post(s)
Originally Posted by: Gurth Go to Quoted Post
Sounds like a great day (and year).

I was able to get at least one trout each month last year.

The problem over here is that we don't have any year round water other than lake run tribs.

I went to unclassified and transitional sections of rivers/streams southwest of Madison last fall a few times and got trout in November and then got out once in December and got this pig...


UserPostedImage


Laugh

About 9 inches, but my only December stream trout of my life, so I LOVE him. BigGrin


There aren't a lot of any kind of fish in these waters and the trout I did run into were mostly small. Also got a few smallies and a northern.

Haven't gone out this year in November and it's almost dusk and today is the 30th, so not gonna happen this year.

Was fun giving it a try last year on these marginal waters, but just not worth the effort.

Maybe we'll have some year round water in the future although it's so much better than it used to be already.

Can't imagine waiting for May anymore or shutting it down on 9/30.


Generally like the new seasons...but I think there should have been a cutoff line, say north of HWY 64 maybe where the season still closed on 9/30. The Brookies were spawning by the last week of the season in Northern WI the last two years. Even though we were assured it wouldn't affect spawning. IMO, 10/15 is as late as we should ever go. Don't get me wrong, I love to fish. But I also want to make sure they're left undisturbed for a couple months to make baby fishSmile.
Gurth  
#5 Posted : Friday, December 1, 2017 12:41:52 PM(UTC)
Gurth
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 11/7/2016(UTC)
Posts: 499
Man
Location: Madison

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 7 time(s) in 7 post(s)
Originally Posted by: Guillermo Go to Quoted Post

Generally like the new seasons...but I think there should have been a cutoff line, say north of HWY 64 maybe where the season still closed on 9/30. The Brookies were spawning by the last week of the season in Northern WI the last two years. Even though we were assured it wouldn't affect spawning. IMO, 10/15 is as late as we should ever go. Don't get me wrong, I love to fish. But I also want to make sure they're left undisturbed for a couple months to make baby fishSmile.



Oh... I agree.

It's just hard to say goodbye to the streams, but I do actually enjoy the break and it's pretty short these days.

And I know that most northern streams don't have the early season C & R.

I'm with you though as I believe that the trout deserve a break - not only to do their thing, but just to recharge.

I know that I'd be careful around redds and would avoid spawning fish, but I don't trust the general public.

I didn't see any redds where I was up until 10/15, but I was mostly south of the Wisconsin River or only 10-20 miles north of it.

I realize that the seasons are accelerated for you northerners.



Wish our warm(er) water streams and rivers held more fish or that smallies lived in densities like trout do.


.

Edited by user Friday, December 1, 2017 12:51:50 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Your mother had a tongue like a trout!
William Schlafer  
#6 Posted : Friday, December 1, 2017 3:26:50 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,788
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 12 time(s) in 10 post(s)
Oh great. Now I have another bucket list item to accomplish before I die. RollEyes

I have a golfing friend who has played 18 holes of golf during every month of the year in Wisconsin. Fishing is one thing, but it's pretty hard-core to golf around here in January.

Looks like next year I'll have to get the Iowa license and make a couple trips across the border in November and December.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
OTC_MN  
#7 Posted : Sunday, December 3, 2017 11:36:39 PM(UTC)
OTC_MN
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 3/18/2016(UTC)
Posts: 137
Location: St Paul MN

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 3 time(s) in 3 post(s)
So, company I work for shuts down between Christmas and New Years - which means I have the 26th through the 30th to try to catch a December fish - and the 1st and 2nd to get started on 2018. Sweet. Hope the weather's half way tolerable.
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
Users browsing this topic
Forum Jump  
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Powered by YAF.NET | YAF.NET © 2003-2017, Yet Another Forum.NET
This page was generated in 0.313 seconds.