Driftless Trout Anglers

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Aboudreau25  
#1 Posted : Thursday, November 14, 2019 7:08:47 PM(UTC)
Aboudreau25
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Location: Minnesota, Houston county

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I do this every year so I figured I'd keep the tradition running.

Here are some of my favorite fish from the 2019 season in MN and IA. Id love to see everyone else's too.


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21 inch male on new water. May 2019.

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Another nice Micro-water male on new water when everything else was flooded.

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Solid small water brown.

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My biggest fish of the year.

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Another look.

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Solid 22 inch buck.



This was by far my best year for larger trout and am hoping for more of the same in 2020.
Instagram: @boudreau25
thanks 4 users thanked Aboudreau25 for this useful post.
Gurth on 11/15/2019(UTC), William Schlafer on 11/15/2019(UTC), stan b on 11/15/2019(UTC), Smis on 11/16/2019(UTC)
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HobeyBaker  
#2 Posted : Friday, November 15, 2019 3:14:41 AM(UTC)
HobeyBaker
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Nice fish.

Here's mine.

IMG_0263.jpg (3,463kb) downloaded 14 time(s).
thanks 3 users thanked HobeyBaker for this useful post.
Gurth on 11/15/2019(UTC), William Schlafer on 11/15/2019(UTC), Smis on 11/16/2019(UTC)
Gurth  
#3 Posted : Friday, November 15, 2019 3:41:19 AM(UTC)
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Some nice browns in there! Well done and thanks for sharing photos of them.

I think I shared all of my late season big browns herein already.

I only shared a couple from early season and that is when I caught more of them.

Kept a log again this season and see that of the ones I measured, I caught 7 over 20 and 8 over 19. Got a bunch that were 17-18, but not big enough to worry about exact length and didn’t measure. I did notate them in the log though and got 20 of those.

Lost probably another 8-10 that would have fit in the 19-20+ range

Every one of those big fish is special to me including the 17s. I never tire of (sometimes) seeing that flash or feeling the hit and then seeing the fish materialize and then go time ensuing. Such a thrill. So addicting!

For me, these are all uncommon fish… even the 17+ browns. I caught over 800 trout this season and only 35 were over 17 inches. And I go out looking for big trout probably at least a third of the times I go out.

That’s a lot of time and a lot of miles and a lot of casting to get what I get.

Makes me appreciate each and every one I get to interact with. I hope I never lose that.

Anyway… decent trout season overall and caught my two largest browns ever and fished a number of new places. Took most of the summer off and went after green fish instead.

Blah blah blah… Laugh


Here are a few from early season that I don’t think I shared here…


Both of these caught on the same day and the first one was actually longer at 21 and the second was 19. Goes to show that camera angle makes a big difference.

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This was only 19 but I love how he looks...

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A tank of an almost 20 incher...

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This was the largest brown I had ever caught for about a month until I topped it…

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A 24 that I got on my “This is the last cast” after a slow and frustrating morning.

I almost went home about 50 yards before the spot where I got him and he was right at a spot where I’d have to stop due to near impossible obstacles to continuing upstream.

Always make that last cast!

Was so thrilled with this fish and was on a high for a good week.



A few that I already shared here that belong in a thread of my bests or favorites from this season…


An opening day (January) 21 inch torpedo. What a way to start the season!

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Would be almost 3 months before I saw another big trout.


Of course, this guy…

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And by far the most kickass looking big brown that I got this year…

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-Sigh-

Is it March yet?




.

Edited by user Friday, November 15, 2019 4:29:06 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
thanks 1 user thanked Gurth for this useful post.
William Schlafer on 11/15/2019(UTC)
Gurth  
#4 Posted : Friday, November 15, 2019 5:47:46 PM(UTC)
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Imagine if you caught 800 largemouth bass in a season and how many of those would be rod bending solid fish. At least a third and maybe half is what I would extrapolate from my personal experience.

Of course, I don't catch anywhere near 800 bass… doubt I even got 50 largies this year. I don't keep a warm water fishing log.

I realize that bass are territorial and there will be less of them around and all that too. Very different fish.

Just trying to explain why I still get excited about a 17 inch brown trout.

My percentage of trout that were 17 inches or longer from this season is around 4%.

Point? I don't know other than it's harder to find big trout amongst a feeding population than big bass although overall, it's harder to find willing bass at all.

For me anyway.

Still working on getting good at bass fishing.



Oh yeah and where are the 15-16 inch browns? I catch very, very few of those – even in places that aren't pressured. Point being that those might be what some would consider good eaters and taken home, but I don't find them often in the out of the way places that I go either.

By my numbers and recollection, I'm just as likely to catch a 19 incher as a 16.

There is a jumping off point for browns where one from the general population mass bubble of 10-13 inchers (the cookie cutters) breaks off and becomes a special fish. In my experience, those outliers begin around 16 inches.

Obviously anecdotal, but that's about the length where browns become quite uncommon for me to catch.

These are the things I think about. Laugh




Oh yeah and forgot about this one from the trout pond in Plum City – thanks for the tip Ron!

Wouldn't have fished it but you said you do it all the time and it's a "hoot" so…


UserPostedImage




Keep er movin!
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
thanks 4 users thanked Gurth for this useful post.
stan b on 11/15/2019(UTC), William Schlafer on 11/15/2019(UTC), Smis on 11/16/2019(UTC), rschmidt on 11/17/2019(UTC)
William Schlafer  
#5 Posted : Friday, November 15, 2019 8:21:55 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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These certainly aren't the biggest fish you see posted here. But they were two that stuck out in my mind after a long season of Trout fishing.

This guy was memorable mostly due to the circumstances and how hard I had to work to find him.
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Most of the DA streams on this day were blown out following a week of heavy rains. After driving around for hours I finally tried a short narrow little stream in hopes that it would be fishable. The water was pretty dirty and was up significantly higher than normal. It was hot and humid, the weeds were chest high and the biting bugs were out in force. It was a real battle just to get to the stream, and wading it was particularly tricky in the dirty water and hidden obstacles. When I first hooked up with this nice Brookie I was convinced it was much larger than it turned out to be. It fought really hard and it was a struggle to work him out from the weeds and rocks. It was a great catch after all the hard work to find him.

This fine torpedo Brown Trout hit my hopper after I watched him come up from his holding spot and eat a couple of bugs.
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I knew I would probably only get one cast with this guy. One false move and he would be gone. I slowly worked into position and plotted how I would cast, and what I would do if I got a hookup. There was a big knot of sunken brush right below where he as holding. I knew the moment he felt the hook I would need to steer him clear of that. The fight would have to be at the top of the pool in the swift current, which is not ideal. 3X leader and a strong hook allowed me to turn him early and skate him into my net before he buried himself in the brush or the strong current. It was a fun catch. Always great when a plan works out.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
thanks 4 users thanked William Schlafer for this useful post.
stan b on 11/15/2019(UTC), Gurth on 11/16/2019(UTC), Smis on 11/16/2019(UTC), rschmidt on 11/17/2019(UTC)
Smis  
#6 Posted : Saturday, November 16, 2019 5:14:10 PM(UTC)
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Inspiring pics everyone. Big fish were able to avoid me all season so I don't have much to contribute, unfortunately.

Catching a brook trout that size in the Driftless hasn't even crossed my mind.

That's a beautiful brown to get on a dry fly, Bill. Always great to get a fish like that by fishing deliberately and with intent.

Interesting data on the percentage of fish you caught that were above 17", Gurth. It definitely put things in perspective. I keep logs but I rarely record the exact number of fish I catch on a given outing. Regardless, the takeaway is that I need to fish more.

Also I'll throw in some ideas on the lack of 15-17" fish. Personally, that 15-17" range was my ceiling this season where it seemed like I got one to three fish in that range every time I got out, but nothing bigger. However, my experience the previous season was similar to yours where I caught my share of +18" fish but absolutely nothing in that 15-17" range. Like Gurth said the cookie cutter fish is in the 10-13" range where they are all shaped more or less the same. Right around 14" is were I start to notice more mature/adult characteristics on browns (e.g. more body mass, mini kypes, shoulders, bigger heads, etc...). So my thought is that maybe around this time browns develop a more protein based/piscivorous diet (more fish, less bugs). This could also result in a bit of a growth spurt that causes them to quickly bridge the gap from 14"-17" (i.e. trout don't gradually grow to 17-18" in size and spend less time in the 14-17" range). It's crazy how much bigger a healthy, fat 16" brown is compared to a cookie cutter 13" despite only being a 3" difference in length.

Anyway, I'm basing this on absolutely nothing besides our own anecdotal experiences because I am bored and want to go fishing.

- Steve

Edited by user Saturday, November 16, 2019 5:15:51 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

madguy30  
#7 Posted : Monday, November 18, 2019 2:51:46 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Gurth Go to Quoted Post



-Sigh-

Is it March yet?




.



January, right?

Or did I miss something?
derdmann  
#8 Posted : Monday, November 18, 2019 12:23:50 PM(UTC)
derdmann
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 3/22/2012(UTC)
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Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Trout don’t bite till March.

Edited by user Monday, November 18, 2019 12:24:22 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

"The tug is the drug"
Gurth  
#9 Posted : Monday, November 18, 2019 2:40:03 PM(UTC)
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I'll go out in January and February without a doubt, but my enthusiasm for winter trout fishing wanes year over year. I don't mind the weather at all and am really never cold when I go out. The problem for me is that it really isn't all that productive most of the time.

Would rather deal with a slow winter bite than those freaking gnat swarms in the summer though.

I'm seeing myself evolve into a spring and fall trout fisherman - something I wouldn't have been able to fathom when I first got into Driftless trout fishing and was driven to go out no matter the weather, conditions or results.

So yes… March is when the best trout fishing begins as far as I'm concerned.
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
William Schlafer  
#10 Posted : Monday, November 18, 2019 4:10:36 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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There are so few days in the January and February when it's worth the drive for me. The days are short and it doesn't take much to make the weather intolerable. The fish tend to be lethargic and then there's the ice and snow to deal with. And a slip and fall into the creek in cold weather can really be a life changer.

However, if you do get a decent day, it sure does feel great to get out there and put a few Trout in the net. And, as Gurth said, there's no biting bugs or nasty tall weeds to fight though.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
thanks 1 user thanked William Schlafer for this useful post.
stan b on 11/18/2019(UTC)
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