Driftless Trout Anglers

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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Sunday, June 24, 2018 12:04:42 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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I managed to get out today and fished several streams in Vernon County. All were running clear to slightly stained.

I arrived at 8AM, but quickly realized I should've gotten up earlier. There was a moderate bite, but by 10AM the sun was pounding down the the Trout went into hiding. I caught about a dozen modest Browns, but nothing memorable or worth posting here. The stream bank weeds are high, but I found enough holes to get in and out of the water and thread some casts through the tangles. Hippie Stompers got the most attention, but I did manage to catch one on a small hopper.

UserPostedImage

Soon the air temp was getting up near 80 so I took a break for lunch. Around 1PM some clouds moved in so I jumped back onto another stream and the bite picked up a bit. But when the sun came back out it shut right down again, so I headed home.

The odd thing is that all three of these streams contain Brookies, but I caught none today. In fact I've only caught 4 or 5 Brookies total so far this year over 11 total days of fishing. One stream in particular just a couple seasons ago nearly always produced 1 Brook Trout for every Brown Trout. But now, nothing.

Maybe it's just me, or the streams I'm fishing. But has anyone seen a drop off in Brookies this year?


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
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big_river_bum  
#2 Posted : Sunday, June 24, 2018 12:38:25 AM(UTC)
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happy to see you made it out today bill. sounds like decent conditons today.

i noticed a stretch of the west fork this winter that was void of fish(they'd be brookies if there were any there), but i caught a dozen or so last falls trapfest.

i did catch a brookie last month on a stream i've never caught one before and have fished dozens of times

maybe with as wet as it's been the last few years brookies are changing their habits/moving?
NBrevitz  
#3 Posted : Sunday, June 24, 2018 7:13:03 PM(UTC)
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A lot of people are blaming this past winter, but Brookies routinely deal with worse temps during longer stretches on the N Shore and they’re doing just fine. I think it’s a case of things being behind and fish not being in their normal areas right now.
I just got back from N Michigan, and they didn’t have any actual reported hatches on the Au Sable until May 30th! That’s about 3 weeks behind the “old normal” from the 70s and 80s!
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
JGF  
#4 Posted : Sunday, June 24, 2018 7:52:08 PM(UTC)
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Gill lice have done a number on brook trout in a number of streams. It's particularly true where Browns and Brooks overlap.

https://www.tu.org/blog-...-brook-trout-on-the-rise

I know I've seen good brook trout numbers in some of the brook trout only waters with barriers.

Guillermo  
#5 Posted : Monday, June 25, 2018 5:31:06 AM(UTC)
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I've been to the Driftless twice in 2018, once in January and again at the end of April, and caught the usual mess of brookies I usually catch, except for 1 creek that usually produces but seemed barren in April.

Speaking of that creek....big_river_bum, is that stretch on the West Fork the one we were talking about on here a while back that may have been involved in that manure spill? I checked there when I went in April and saw only 1 fish and caught nothing where I usually see many fish and catch plenty. I never heard anything after the initial article, but maybe that manure did in fact make it there and is behind the now seemingly-barren water? Just guessing of course, but really seems weird.

Now, as for my usual haunts in the northwoods, the brookies have been just as hungry and abundant in 2018 as they've ever been.

Since someone mentioned gill lice, I've seen it up here too, not just in the Driftless. It doesn't seem to have any effect on brookie populations though. I suspect faster moving water plus fish that are more spaced out accounts for the lower rate of it. Most streams don't have it at all, but the ones that do are something like 1 out of every 10 fish. Tends to be slightly more prevalent in stillwaters as well.



s.t.fanatic  
#6 Posted : Monday, June 25, 2018 12:16:33 PM(UTC)
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Keep your gill lice on that side of the river. I'm sure we have it over here too but I've never run across it.
winonaflyfactory  
#7 Posted : Monday, June 25, 2018 2:39:17 PM(UTC)
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I called up the fisheries office in Lanesboro in 2014 after coming across gill lice in every single brookie on a stream I fish regularly and they did not seem to be concerned about it's presence affecting the mortality of brookies. I've never seen gill lice on browns, now that I think about it maybe I should look every now and again but to that I have actually seen less and less gill lice over the past four years.

As for finding brookies, I've actually been pretty pleased with the numbers and locations I've been seeing brookies in MN. There are places where I used to find them but don't anymore which is disappointing but overall I've been catching more brookies this year than others. I could also be sticking to specific creeks which I love fishing and have more brook trout in them but...

Post below details what I saw in 2014 and some information on gill lice.

http://www.winonaflyfact.../se-minnesota-gill-lice/
big_river_bum  
#8 Posted : Monday, June 25, 2018 2:57:49 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Guillermo Go to Quoted Post
I've been to the Driftless twice in 2018, once in January and again at the end of April, and caught the usual mess of brookies I usually catch, except for 1 creek that usually produces but seemed barren in April.

Speaking of that creek....big_river_bum, is that stretch on the West Fork the one we were talking about on here a while back that may have been involved in that manure spill? I checked there when I went in April and saw only 1 fish and caught nothing where I usually see many fish and catch plenty. I never heard anything after the initial article, but maybe that manure did in fact make it there and is behind the now seemingly-barren water? Just guessing of course, but really seems weird.

Now, as for my usual haunts in the northwoods, the brookies have been just as hungry and abundant in 2018 as they've ever been.

Since someone mentioned gill lice, I've seen it up here too, not just in the Driftless. It doesn't seem to have any effect on brookie populations though. I suspect faster moving water plus fish that are more spaced out accounts for the lower rate of it. Most streams don't have it at all, but the ones that do are something like 1 out of every 10 fish. Tends to be slightly more prevalent in stillwaters as well.





yes

JGF  
#9 Posted : Monday, June 25, 2018 3:09:08 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: winonaflyfactory Go to Quoted Post
I called up the fisheries office in Lanesboro in 2014 after coming across gill lice in every single brookie on a stream I fish regularly and they did not seem to be concerned about it's presence affecting the mortality of brookies. I've never seen gill lice on browns, now that I think about it maybe I should look every now and again but to that I have actually seen less and less gill lice over the past four years.



Gill lice are native and only affect native salmonids.

At least one historically very good brook trout stream in Wisconsin was more or less wiped out by gill lice. Interestingly, things were more or less fine until a particularly warm year hit and then the stress due to heat and increased brown trout numbers moving into the area changed things.

Mitro - Gill Lice abstract

thanks 1 user thanked JGF for this useful post.
weiliwen on 6/25/2018(UTC)
winonaflyfactory  
#10 Posted : Monday, June 25, 2018 3:32:24 PM(UTC)
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Thanks JGF. Good information here.
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