Driftless Trout Anglers

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cschub13  
#1 Posted : Thursday, January 30, 2020 9:35:02 PM(UTC)
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I haven't been out to the driftless yet this year, but I'm guessing there is a decent amount of snow out that way. Anyone planning to get out this weekend? Looks like some very unseasonably warm weather Sunday. Just curious what everyone's thoughts are on the snow melt shutting down the bite? I always have trouble determining if that warm weather will heat up the water enough to get the fish moving, or if it will have the opposite effect and unleash all the ice cold water into the streams. I'm sure there is a very narrow window and a bit of a balancing act to worry about...maybe a little hit or miss as well.
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madguy30  
#2 Posted : Thursday, January 30, 2020 11:23:23 PM(UTC)
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I'm debating on whether to go out or not too...and how far of a drive I'm willing to make.

Looks like temps in the high 40s, and with a good amount of sun I'd figure there will be lots of snow melt.
Gurth  
#3 Posted : Thursday, January 30, 2020 11:59:54 PM(UTC)
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I might try Saturday unless I get stuck on top of a hot bluegill bite.

Maybe I’ll do a split day.
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Smis  
#4 Posted : Friday, January 31, 2020 12:27:55 PM(UTC)
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In my experience any significant snowmelt will trump air temps as far as the temperatures in creeks are concerned.

Overnight lows are equally as important imo. If you had an overnight low of 40, for example, and there’s been snowmelt occurring for 24 hours straight you could just as easily find blown out rivers. I think Saturday could be okay for at least a few hours. Sunday looks questionable to me

- Steve
Gurth  
#5 Posted : Friday, January 31, 2020 12:55:06 PM(UTC)
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What you want is sun so that the water temps are on the rise.

Of course this will increase the melt so you gotta time it just right.

I can’t prove it but my experience says that brookies are less susceptible to melt shutting them off than browns.

Could just be that my brook trout waters are small water and closer to the springs and headwaters but they also do prefer colder water than the other species.
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madguy30  
#6 Posted : Friday, January 31, 2020 4:13:05 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Smis Go to Quoted Post
In my experience any significant snowmelt will trump air temps as far as the temperatures in creeks are concerned.

Overnight lows are equally as important imo. If you had an overnight low of 40, for example, and there’s been snowmelt occurring for 24 hours straight you could just as easily find blown out rivers. I think Saturday could be okay for at least a few hours. Sunday looks questionable to me

- Steve



Yeah if you get out early and things froze up over night on smaller creeks it's not a problem.

I've been out at times when everything's fine and next thing you know you can't hardly see 2 inches in the water. It's interesting to watch though, kind of like watching life come alive in the spring.

There was a time when there was a bunch of snow melt, but the water hadn't cooled off and I was catching browns with orange scuds like they were bluegill.
William Schlafer  
#7 Posted : Saturday, February 1, 2020 4:08:35 PM(UTC)
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For what it's worth, this map shows runoff potential for manure, but from that you can also generally determine which areas are likely to be affected by snow melt.

I always look for those narrow valleys when there is snow melt going on, as they're likely to be colder and the snow will remain frozen longer that the wider valleys which get more sun and will draw snow melt from a larger area. Sunny and cold days are the best - but aren't particularly common this time of year.

It's a bit of a game this time of year trying to find warming water but without cold snow melt driving the water temps back down. The fishing window can be pretty narrow, typically between 10AM and 1PM.


-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.
weiliwen on 2/1/2020(UTC)
madguy30  
#8 Posted : Saturday, February 1, 2020 11:41:45 PM(UTC)
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I was in the Highland area and the streams seemed to be in good shape. Fish were fairly hungry and a few risers here and there. Got me excited for the next few months as more daylight continues.

Fished until 2:30-3ish and I'd imagine some melt occurred afterward. The gravel road I walked back on was pretty soft and there was actually quite a bit of visible grass.
Hoggies  
#9 Posted : Sunday, February 2, 2020 1:30:23 PM(UTC)
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I fished a spring creek in the whitewater system from about 4 until sundown yesterday and there were midges all over the place and fish moving. I had one hit on a streamer and my buddy caught several browns and brookies on hair jigs and a small stickbait.
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