Monthly Archives: April 2013

Trout Camp 2013

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This past weekend was our 3rd annual Trout Camp, a get together friends and I do every spring to shake off winter’s webs and fish for a few days. This year winter didn’t want to let go, but we make it happen no matter the weather, and even with crummy weather, Trout Camp 2013 didn’t disappoint. Fishing wasn’t prime, but we still caught plenty of fish and kept a handful for Saturday evening delicacies.

We departed early Friday morning in the wake of a storm system that dropped around an inch or two in southeast Minnesota.

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Despite a few patches of blown snow covering the roads and a soaking rain the day before, we remained optimistic for a great weekend away. Camp was set up relatively quickly in the cold, spring air, and we were one of only 3 populated campsites in the lower campground. Note the snow melted quickly…a benefit of April even if this April isn’t behaving appropriately.

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After 1-2″ of rain the day before in addition to a coating of snow, the river was running high and very dirty through the park, which was no surprise. We threw buggers for a while with no luck before venturing to another branch of the system which was also running high and muddy. After a short while of flogging the water fruitlessly, we headed to a much smaller stream farther south. We had much better luck catching fish the rest of the afternoon before heading back to camp to get the fire started and bacon-wrapped steaks on the grill.

Saturday started off with quite a chill, but there was plenty of sunshine to melt the frost.

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Fishing got off to a slow start despite clearing water. Temperatures bottomed out in the teens and fish were sluggish. We managed a few here and there in the morning through early afternoon on buggers, flashy nymphs, and scuds. It was still clear that fish were sluggish post-flood as some that we caught were skinny and pale. There was also a lot of angler pressure, to be expected, which was another contributor. By the mid-afternoon, we headed to a favorite spot where rarely another angler is seen, and it turned out to be a very good choice. For the rest of the day, we caught plenty of fish on skinny nelsons and small PTs until we switched to black woolly buggers closer to sunset. That decision resulted in quite a few fish caught in the closing hour of the day and it was a blast to watch trout hammer the buggers. There was quite a bit of gallery fishing, trading off after a fish caught, mockery for losing one, and it was cool enough to keep the beers chilled.

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We had caught (and kept) enough fish between the 4 of us to cook trout over the campfire. In lieu of simply gutting, cooking, and eating, we ramp it up a bit and turn them into fish tacos. It’s quite simple. After gutting and rinsing out the fish, stuff with some butter, salt, pepper, wrap the fish in foil, and cook over the fire. Once they’re done, a couple of us peel off the skin, remove the bones, and put the trout meat in a bowl and mince it up a bit with a fork. Instead of mixing ingredients, we have sliced limes, cilantro, and hot sauce on the side to make your own. Stuff a corn tortilla as desired and there you have it. Or do you? “That’s one way to do it, I guess.” To add a more crisp texture this time, we put the corn tortilla on the cast iron skillet, let it cook a short while, flip it, then add trout, squeeze a lime wedge over it, add cilantro, hot sauce, throw on a few of those sliced potatoes too, and….delicious. The 24 pack of tortillas and trout disappeared rather quickly.

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Sunday was an excellent finish to Trout Camp 2013 and we were the only campers in the loop by 9am. Sure, the deep cell battery in the pop-up may have died and in turn left a couple of us with no heat for the night, and sure, a fresh inch of snow fell Sunday morning, but after another excellent breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, and venison chops we were welcomed by cleaner water, hungrier fish and a few blue-winged olives coming off in the midday.

Snowy start to Sunday with really big snowflakes.
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Mmmm…eggs…
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Nobody was skunked.
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…and camp was packed up around 4pm Sunday afternoon with a few, celebratory beers left over.

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It was a great weekend to remember, spent with the best of people.┬áPlenty of trout were released…until next time!

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The smell of campfire still lingers for at least a couple days afterward.

4/18 Stream Conditions

Southeast MN, northeast IA, and southwest WI have received rain and sleet the last couple days, and may pick up another 1/4″ to 1/2″ of liquid today, otherwise amounts have not been terribly high. Streams got a bump in levels from rain last night into this morning, but it has been minor.

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Most trout streams should be in decent shape this weekend. Chilly weather will be more of an opponent than stream conditions with temperatures running 15-20 degrees below normal and a really strong wind Friday. Larger rivers are still running higher and dirtier, but they may be worth a scout, too.

Minor accumulations of snow are on the way tonight through Friday morning, about a half inch to 2″ in southeast MN, more in central to NE Minnesota. We get a break in precipitation Saturday with a little sunshine, especially in the morning, then another wave of rain/snow arrives Saturday night through Sunday with amounts expected to be around a half inch by the end of Sunday.

Fillmore County Manure Spill

A 2,000,000 gallon manure lagoon gave way sometime this past Sunday on a farm outside of Canton, MN and a portion of the manure drained into nearby “Donaldson” Creek, otherwise an unnamed feeder creek which flows into Wisel Creek. Amount of manure estimated to have flown into the feeder has been estimated between 350,000 to 1,000,000 gallons. It is unknown or unspoken at this time if there has been any fish killed – water was already high and turbid and it’s difficult to see effects at this time.

News Report

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More rain, occasionally heavy, is expected Wednesday into Thursday and there will be more runoff across southeast MN.

Discussion here

Recent Rainfall Reports

Most of this fell Sunday, 4/14, and it gave local streams and rivers another nudge out of their banks in places. Hopefully things clear up quickly this week like they did last week. Take a peek at the MBWW gauge on the Stream Conditions page.

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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
742 AM CDT MON APR 15 2013

...LATEST RAINFALL REPORTS...

LOCATION                       AMOUNT    TIME/DATE       LAT/LON

IOWA

...ALLAMAKEE...
DORCHESTER HWY 76              1.44 IN   0600 AM 04/15   43.42N/91.51W
LANSING 4SE                    1.15 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.32N/91.16W
3 SE WATERVILLE                1.14 IN   0707 AM 04/15   43.17N/91.24W
ION                            1.13 IN   0645 AM 04/15   43.11N/91.27W

...CHICKASAW...
NEW HAMPTON                    1.03 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.06N/92.31W

...CLAYTON...
MONONA WWTP                    0.97 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.04N/91.40W
VOLGA 1NE                      0.83 IN   0700 AM 04/15   42.81N/91.52W
STRAWBERRY POINT               0.75 IN   0700 AM 04/15   42.69N/91.53W
GUTTENBERG DAM 10              0.75 IN   0600 AM 04/15   42.79N/91.10W
ELKADER 6SSW                   0.75 IN   0700 AM 04/15   42.78N/91.45W
VOLGA RVR                      0.74 IN   0645 AM 04/15   42.75N/91.37W

...FAYETTE...
1 W OELWEIN                    0.84 IN   0500 AM 04/15   42.68N/91.93W
FAYETTE                        0.78 IN   0700 AM 04/15   42.85N/91.82W
OELWEIN MUNICIPAL AIRPORT      0.73 IN   0700 AM 04/15   42.68N/91.97W

...FLOYD...
CHARLES CITY                   1.35 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.06N/92.67W
COLWELL                        1.04 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.16N/92.59W
NASHUA 2SW                     1.00 IN   0700 AM 04/15   42.94N/92.57W

...MITCHELL...
ST ANSGAR                      1.55 IN   0630 AM 04/15   43.38N/92.92W

...WINNESHIEK...
4 S SATTRE                     1.35 IN   0625 AM 04/15   43.34N/91.64W
DECORAH MUNICIPAL AIRPORT      1.20 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.28N/91.74W

MINNESOTA

...DODGE...
DODGE CENTER AIRPORT           0.46 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.02N/92.83W

...FILLMORE...
PRESTON 1SSE                   1.81 IN   0718 AM 04/15   43.66N/92.08W
LANESBORO                      1.74 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.72N/91.97W
SO.FORK ROOT RIVER             1.67 IN   0630 AM 04/15   43.72N/91.98W
PRESTON FILLMORE COUNTY AIRPOR 1.60 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.68N/92.18W

...HOUSTON...
SPRING GROVE 4N                1.75 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.61N/91.62W

...MOWER...
GRAND MEADOW                   1.17 IN   0600 AM 04/15   43.71N/92.56W
2 NNE VARCO                    0.83 IN   0600 AM 04/15   43.64N/92.97W
AUSTIN MUNICIPAL AIRPORT       0.67 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.66N/92.93W
1 ENE DEXTER                   0.07 IN   0716 AM 04/15   43.73N/92.68W

...OLMSTED...
SILVER CREEK                   0.90 IN   0530 AM 04/15   44.03N/92.43W
2 NE ROCHESTER                 0.89 IN   0600 AM 04/15   44.04N/92.44W
BYRON 4 NORTH                  0.70 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.09N/92.64W
ROCHESTER BELTLINE             0.68 IN   0630 AM 04/15   44.01N/92.47W
ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL AIRPOR 0.64 IN   0700 PM 04/15   43.91N/92.50W
MAYO HELIPAD                   0.51 IN   0652 AM 04/15   44.02N/92.48W
2 SE EYOTA                     0.02 IN   0716 AM 04/15   43.96N/92.21W

...WABASHA...
WABASHA                        1.06 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.38N/92.05W
LAKE CITY                      0.93 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.44N/92.28W
THEILMAN 1SSW                  0.90 IN   0715 AM 04/15   44.28N/92.19W

...WINONA...
WINONA DAM 5A                  1.55 IN   0600 AM 04/15   44.09N/91.67W
LA CRESCENT DAM 7              1.50 IN   0600 AM 04/15   43.87N/91.31W
MINNESOTA CITY DAM 5           1.37 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.16N/91.81W
TREMPEALEAU DAM 6              1.34 IN   0600 AM 04/15   44.00N/91.44W
WINONA MUNICIPAL AIRPORT       1.31 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.08N/91.71W

WISCONSIN

...BUFFALO...
ALMA DAM 4                     1.17 IN   0600 AM 04/15   44.33N/91.92W

...CRAWFORD...
DE SOTO 1SE                    1.30 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.42N/91.19W
LYNXVILLE DAM 9                0.93 IN   0600 AM 04/15   43.21N/91.10W
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN               0.90 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.05N/91.13W
STEUBEN                        0.84 IN   0630 AM 04/15   43.18N/90.86W
STEUBEN 4SE                    0.78 IN   0655 AM 04/15   43.13N/90.84W
SOLDIERS GROVE                 0.73 IN   0725 AM 04/15   43.39N/90.78W
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN  AIRPORT      0.72 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.02N/91.12W

...GRANT...
BOSCOBEL AIRPORT               0.62 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.16N/90.67W
1 ENE BOSCOBEL                 0.60 IN   0703 AM 04/15   43.15N/90.68W

...JACKSON...
1 E BLACK RIVER FALLS          1.22 IN   0615 AM 04/15   44.30N/90.83W
BLACK RIVER FALLS              0.75 IN   0600 AM 04/15   44.28N/90.87W
BLACK RIVER FALLS AREA AIRPORT 0.57 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.25N/90.86W
HATFIELD DAM                   0.38 IN   0647 AM 04/15   44.41N/90.73W

...JUNEAU...
VOLK FIELD AIRPORT             0.79 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.94N/90.25W
NECEDAH 1W                     0.66 IN   0648 AM 04/15   44.02N/90.08W

...LA CROSSE...
MISSISSIPPI RIVER AT LA CROSSE 1.60 IN   0600 AM 04/15   43.80N/91.26W
HOLLAND                        1.34 IN   0635 AM 04/15   43.97N/91.29W
LA CROSSE MUNICIPAL AIRPORT    1.34 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.88N/91.26W
FOUR CORNERS                   1.12 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.07N/90.92W

...MONROE...
SPARTA/FORT MC COY AIRPORT     0.81 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.96N/90.74W

...RICHLAND...
RICHLAND CENTER 1NW            0.47 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.36N/90.42W

...TAYLOR...
3 NE LUBLIN                    0.74 IN   0614 AM 04/15   45.11N/90.69W

...TREMPEALEAU...
ETTRICK 4WNW                   1.57 IN   0709 AM 04/15   44.19N/91.34W
GALESVILLE 2WSW                1.32 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.07N/91.39W
OSSEO                          1.30 IN   0700 AM 04/15   44.58N/91.22W

...VERNON...
STODDARD                       1.36 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.66N/91.22W
GENOA DAM 8                    1.25 IN   0600 AM 04/15   43.57N/91.23W
ONTARIO 3E                     0.74 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.72N/90.53W
HILLSBORO WSW                  0.69 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.65N/90.35W
VIROQUA MUNICIPAL AIRPORT      0.57 IN   0700 AM 04/15   43.58N/90.90W

Today’s Tie: Zoo Cougar

This is my crappy version of a popular streamer from the mind of Kelly Galloup. I watched this video to get a little refresher…it’s been a couple years since I’ve tied one up.

Ingredients:
Hook: Size 4
Thread: I just used the thickest thread I could find…happened to be tan
Tail: Yellow Marabou
Body: Gudebrod Flash Braid
Underwing: Calf tail is called for, but I had a similar, artificial white hair
Wing (not really a wing, but it’s behind the head and extends to the tip of the tail): Mallard Flank Feathers
Collar and Head: Yellow Deer Hair

Not as much mess as usual…I could do better.
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I did alright with the collar
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…and really not too bad with spinning the head…
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but I struggle a bit with shaping the head well without chopping off too much of the spun hair.
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Still…they’ll fish. T-minus 6 days to trout camp.

Opening Weekend Stream Conditions

In short, things are looking alright for this weekend’s traditional trout fishing opener. Despite high, muddy water earlier this week, most streams are clearing quickly except for the larger, main branches. If you’re itchin’ to fish, it should be worth your time as you should be able to find plenty of fishable water.

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Just bundle up…it’s going to be a touch on the chilly side Saturday with occasional flurries. There does look to be showers and a few thunderstorms Sunday with the potential of a few heavy downpours in portions of southeast Minnesota.

Streams will run high, dirty again into the “opener”

Radar picture showing moderate to occasionally heavy rain over southeast Minnesota and there is fairly consistent thunder within this round of rainfall.

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At this time there hasn’t been a noticeable change in stream/river levels on local gauges, but that’s likely going to change over the next 12-24 hours and continue through the week.

Here is a projection of liquid equivalent precipitation by the end of this week. Another 2-3″ of liquid equivalent is on the way. Hopefully less, possibly more.

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If there’s an upside, and I think there is, the frost is now out at the Olmsted County gauge, which I hope is a relatively good representation for much of southeast MN. There will be exceptions, of course, as there is likely still frost on the slopes and valley walls that were still holding snow through the last few days.

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We’re in for rain and drizzle today, then a bit of freezing rain/drizzle tonight through Wednesday, then sleet to snow late Wednesday through Thursday. Snowfall totals may exceed 3″ depending on when exactly the transition from a mix to snow takes place Thursday.

Stream level rollercoaster not as dramatic today

Temperatures still hit the 40s today…even upper 40s from the Whitewater to Winona. The graph below is a good sign the majority (but not all) of the snow in and around the river valleys has diminished in the past few days. The MBWW peaked today at less than half the level it did yesterday.

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Then we picked up another shot of this…stuff…which, at least, didn’t amount to much.

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