Author Archives: Randy

IFFF Fly Fishing School – July 24-26

In case you know someone looking to get into or advance in the sport of fly fishing…

When: July 24-26, 2015
Where: Rochester, MN – RCTC

All the details you’d ever want to know and more here http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Councils/UpperMidwest/Events

…and here: Fly Fishing School Poster 2015

6/27 Update: Summer

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Finding a great spot to fish Father’s Day weekend was a bit of a challenge thanks to recent, heavy rainfall. Another solid dose of rain fell Monday the 22nd, especially in extreme southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa. It was enough to make for flash flooding in northeast Iowa on the 22nd. Rivers have been running high, some dirty, but finding a clear stream is an easy task at this point.

The relatively prolific insect hatches of this season are tapering off, wild parsnip is in full bloom, and summer is in full swing. Terrestrials will need a home in your fly box. Speaking of, I’ve seen quite a few baby hoppers…

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6/14/15 Report & Conditions

Sorry for the radio silence here recently, I’ve been sloughing off my free time on the stream. The fishing around here has really been great lately. We’ve had some insect hatches in southeast Minnesota hitting a tempo that I haven’t seen in my short 12 years of fishing here.

A buddy and I fished a stream north of I-90 on Saturday the 6th. There was a tremendous hatch of long-horned caddis. The caddisflies had very long antennae in comparison to their body length, and their wings were a brown, mottled color. The trout were very selective, but we still managed to catch enough fish that it only made sense to trade off every 3 fish instead of every other. A caddis green wet fly caught the most fish, but we spent a good hour twitching an elk hair caddis with good results as well. Neither of us had a caddis dry that matched the species hatching, and there actually weren’t a whole lot of rising trout, but the fish were actively feeding.

We picked up a pop-up camper recently, so the past two weekends were spent camping. My boys and I camped at Forestville State Park the 7th-8th (love camping Sun-Mon when we can swing it) and then our whole crew + one extra dog spent the past few days at Whitewater State Park.

The boys wanted to fish, so…

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My oldest is still just starting out with fly fishing, but he did catch this nice rainbow all on his own. We worked through some sweet tippet knots as well, but I didn’t get any pictures of those.

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Last weekend, at least Sunday evening, there was an amazing mayfly hatch. There were March Browns, Light Hendricksons, craneflies, caddis, a few sulfurs, and a pale white mayfly. My boys and I stood in the river and watched the clouds of bugs until after sunset. We cast at a few risers, caught a few trout, and admired the bats as they flapped within inches of where we were standing.

A yellow humpy cast to the right spot yielded a nice brown.

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Next weekend we’re headed to a park much farther southeast.

5/22/15 Report: Caddis, Craneflies, Perfect Weather

A buddy and I hoofed it way back into valley Friday morning and didn’t climb back out until the late afternoon. Fish were rising to caddis and craneflies at 10am, steadily at first, but more sporadic as the afternoon went on. In a nutshell, fishing was fantastic. There was one particular hole that we fished for about 45 minutes, catching nicely sized trout on elk hair caddis. All fish caught were full and healthy, and rocks were alive with a wide variety of insects. There were a few light hendricksons and baetis in the mix of insects, otherwise fish were primarily keyed into caddis and craneflies on the surface. We caught fish on elk hair caddis, caddis pupa, pink squirrels, and pheasant tail nymphs. Most productive for me was a green wire-bodied caddis wet fly that I tie with a cdc wing, partridge for hackle, and a black or brown dubbed head.

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I gave a new rod a whirl yesterday and was very pleased. Limit Creek Rod Company has recently introduced a line of fly rods. The 5 weight I fished Friday casts and fishes well. It’s a very fast rod, at least the fastest of my relatively small collection, and really shoots line nicely. I was (and typically am) fishing a double nymph rig with weight and an indicator, and did so easily and effortless. It was also very fun to throw out a lot of line with an elk hair caddis and twitch it across a run. The water was very clear and a bit of distance was required, and the rod delivered.

Stream Conditions page updated

5/7/15 Rainfall Reports

Courtesy NWS La Crosse

Stream conditions updated

2015-05-08_09-19-14

...DODGE COUNTY...
CLAREMONT 2.5 SSE            0.58 IN                         
KASSON                       0.53 IN                         
MANTORVILLE 1.9 ESE          0.43 IN                         
DODGE CENTER AIRPORT         0.07 IN                         

...FILLMORE COUNTY...
WYKOFF 3.1 NW                1.23 IN                         
FILLMORE                     0.97 IN                         
PRESTON FILLMORE COUNTY AIRP 0.42 IN                         
HIGHLAND 2SE                 0.38 IN                         
SO.FORK ROOT RIVER           0.36 IN                         
PRESTON                      0.36 IN                         
LANESBORO                    0.36 IN                         
WHALAN 3.3 SSE               0.30 IN                         
MABEL                        0.06 IN                         

...HOUSTON COUNTY...
SPRING GROVE 4N              0.40 IN                         
CALEDONIA 5.4 S              0.24 IN                         
HOUSTON                      0.14 IN                         
CALEDONIA                    0.13 IN                         
MOUND PRAIRIE                0.12 IN                         

...MOWER COUNTY...
OSTRANDER 5.1 WNW            0.55 IN                         
AUSTIN 1.9 ENE               0.15 IN                         
DOBBINS CREEK                0.11 IN                         
AUSTIN 3S                    0.09 IN                         
AUSTIN WASTE WATER TREATMENT 0.08 IN                         
TURTLE CREEK                 0.02 IN                         
LANSING                      0.02 IN                         
AUSTIN MUNICIPAL AIRPORT     0.01 IN                         

...OLMSTED COUNTY...
ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL AIRP 1.05 IN                         
2 W HIGH FOREST              0.86 IN                         
BYRON 5.7 S                  0.75 IN                         
CASCADE CREEK                0.74 IN                         
3 ESE DOUGLAS                0.74 IN                         
3 NE ROCHESTER               0.73 IN                         
2 NE ROCHESTER               0.70 IN                         
MAYO HELIPAD                 0.64 IN                         
ELGIN 2SSW                   0.60 IN                         
ROCHESTER 3W                 0.56 IN                         
2 ENE ROCHESTER              0.55 IN                         
4 NNW ROCHESTER              0.52 IN                         
3 NW ROCHESTER               0.51 IN                         
BELTLINE-BEAR CREEK          0.48 IN                         
4 ESE DOUGLAS                0.48 IN                         
ROCHESTER BELTLINE           0.47 IN                         
BYRON 4 NORTH                0.43 IN                         
BYRON                        0.42 IN                         
1 SSE STEWARTVILLE           0.38 IN                         
ORONOCO 1W                   0.27 IN                         
ORONOCO                      0.26 IN                         
BYRON                        0.24 IN                         
3 S ROCHESTER                0.24 IN                         
PINE ISLAND 1S               0.04 IN                         

...WABASHA COUNTY...
ZUMBRO RIVER                 0.93 IN                         
THEILMAN 1SSW                0.37 IN                         
ZUMBRO FALLS 3.5 SSW         0.19 IN                         
WABASHA                      0.19 IN                         
MAZEPPA 3ESE                 0.11 IN                         

...WINONA COUNTY...
WINONA 3.8 SE                1.18 IN                         
STOCKTON                     0.67 IN                         
ALTURA 5W                    0.67 IN                         
STOCKTON 0.1 SSE             0.67 IN                         
TREMPEALEAU DAM 6            0.66 IN                         
LEWISTON 0.2 NW              0.65 IN                         
WINONA DAM 5A                0.46 IN                         
MINNESOTA CITY DAM 5         0.40 IN                         
WHITEWATER RIVER NEAR BEAVER 0.37 IN                         
STOCKTON                     0.36 IN                         
DAKOTA                       0.20 IN                         
LA CRESCENT DAM 7            0.12 IN                         
WINONA MUNICIPAL AIRPORT     0.02 IN

5/3-5/4/15 Rainfall

Here are the totals for southeast MN. Some needed rainfall. Impact on the majority of streams was low. Here is a link to radar estimated precipitation totals: http://water.weather.gov/precip/

...MINNESOTA...

...DODGE COUNTY...
KASSON                       0.41 IN   0943 AM 05/04   44.03N/92.73W
MANTORVILLE                  0.19 IN   0700 AM 05/04   44.07N/92.77W
CLAREMONT 2.5 SSE            0.18 IN   0700 AM 05/04   44.01N/92.99W
CLAREMONT 2.5 ESE            0.17 IN   0800 AM 05/04   44.04N/92.95W
DODGE CENTER AIRPORT         0.11 IN   0653 AM 05/04   44.02N/92.83W

...FILLMORE COUNTY...
HARMONY                      1.04 IN   0730 AM 05/04   43.55N/92.01W
SPRING VALLEY                0.87 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.69N/92.39W
SPRING VALLEY 3SW            0.80 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.66N/92.41W
CHATFIELD 9.0 ESE            0.72 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.79N/92.03W
WYKOFF 3.1 NW                0.70 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.74N/92.31W
CHATFIELD                    0.65 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.84N/92.20W
LANESBORO                    0.61 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.72N/91.97W
PRESTON                      0.53 IN   0819 AM 05/04   43.67N/92.07W
SO.FORK ROOT RIVER           0.50 IN   0930 AM 05/04   43.72N/91.98W
FILLMORE                     0.48 IN   0930 AM 05/04   43.76N/92.27W
SPRING VALLEY 3E             0.48 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.68N/92.33W
PRESTON FILLMORE COUNTY AIRP 0.29 IN   0654 AM 05/04   43.68N/92.18W
2 ESE CANTON                 0.01 IN   0920 AM 05/04   43.51N/91.88W

...HOUSTON COUNTY...
LA CRESCENT 0.7 NNW          0.95 IN   0730 AM 05/04   43.84N/91.31W
1 NNW LA CRESCENT            0.91 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.83N/91.31W
CALEDONIA 5.4 S              0.75 IN   0800 AM 05/04   43.56N/91.51W
CALEDONIA                    0.71 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.63N/91.50W
MOUND PRAIRIE                0.57 IN   0845 AM 05/04   43.78N/91.45W
HOUSTON                      0.56 IN   0945 AM 05/04   43.77N/91.57W
4 SSE MOUND PRAIRIE          0.01 IN   0920 AM 05/04   43.72N/91.44W

...MOWER COUNTY...
AUSTIN WASTE WATER TREATMENT 1.80 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.65N/92.97W
DOBBINS CREEK                1.59 IN   0930 AM 05/04   43.67N/92.95W
AUSTIN 3S                    1.57 IN   0900 AM 05/04   43.64N/92.97W
TURTLE CREEK                 1.02 IN   0930 AM 05/04   43.65N/92.98W
LANSING                      0.86 IN   0930 AM 05/04   43.75N/92.95W
OSTRANDER 5.1 WNW            0.45 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.65N/92.52W

...OLMSTED COUNTY...
ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL AIRP 0.66 IN   0654 AM 05/04   43.91N/92.50W
1 SSE STEWARTVILLE           0.48 IN   0934 AM 05/04   43.84N/92.48W
ROCHESTER BELTLINE           0.45 IN   0930 AM 05/04   44.01N/92.47W
BELTLINE-BEAR CREEK          0.41 IN   0930 AM 05/04   44.01N/92.45W
ROCHESTER 3W                 0.40 IN   0930 AM 05/04   44.02N/92.53W
BYRON 5.7 S                  0.33 IN   0720 AM 05/04   43.96N/92.63W
MAYO HELIPAD                 0.33 IN   0653 AM 05/04   44.02N/92.48W
2 ENE ROCHESTER              0.32 IN   0930 AM 05/04   44.03N/92.42W
3 S ROCHESTER                0.32 IN   0943 AM 05/04   43.97N/92.48W
2 NNW CHESTER                0.29 IN   0900 AM 05/04   44.05N/92.37W
2 NE ROCHESTER               0.24 IN   0945 AM 05/04   44.04N/92.44W
3 NE ROCHESTER               0.23 IN   0945 AM 05/04   44.05N/92.45W
4 NNW ROCHESTER              0.21 IN   0700 AM 05/04   44.07N/92.49W
CASCADE CREEK                0.19 IN   0930 AM 05/04   44.03N/92.47W
ELGIN 2SSW                   0.19 IN   0700 AM 05/04   44.10N/92.27W
3 ESE DOUGLAS                0.16 IN   0945 AM 05/04   44.08N/92.51W
3 NW ROCHESTER               0.13 IN   0940 AM 05/04   44.05N/92.53W
4 ESE DOUGLAS                0.12 IN   0937 AM 05/04   44.09N/92.49W
ORONOCO 1W                   0.11 IN   0930 AM 05/04   44.17N/92.55W
ORONOCO                      0.11 IN   0930 AM 05/04   44.16N/92.54W
BYRON 4 NORTH                0.10 IN   0700 AM 05/04   44.09N/92.64W
BYRON                        0.06 IN   0942 AM 05/04   44.04N/92.64W

...WABASHA COUNTY...
ZUMBRO RIVER                 0.36 IN   0900 AM 05/04   44.32N/92.00W
WABASHA                      0.36 IN   0700 AM 05/04   44.38N/92.05W
LAKE CITY                    0.34 IN   0941 AM 05/04   44.45N/92.27W
THEILMAN 1SSW                0.28 IN   0745 AM 05/04   44.28N/92.19W
MAZEPPA 3ESE                 0.23 IN   0930 AM 05/04   44.26N/92.49W
LAKE CITY                    0.21 IN   0800 AM 05/04   44.44N/92.28W
BEAR VALLEY                  0.16 IN   0751 AM 05/04   44.32N/92.44W
1 SSE LAKE CITY              0.15 IN   0800 AM 05/04   44.43N/92.27W

...WINONA COUNTY...
LEWISTON 0.2 NW              1.05 IN   0700 AM 05/04   43.99N/91.87W
STOCKTON 0.1 SSE             0.69 IN   0735 AM 05/04   44.03N/91.77W
WINONA 3.8 SE                0.68 IN   0700 AM 05/04   44.02N/91.61W
MINNESOTA CITY DAM 5         0.51 IN   0700 AM 05/04   44.16N/91.81W
DAKOTA                       0.46 IN   0900 AM 05/04   43.91N/91.36W
ALTURA 5W                    0.45 IN   0700 AM 05/04   44.06N/92.04W
WINONA MUNICIPAL AIRPORT     0.42 IN   0653 AM 05/04   44.08N/91.71W
WHITEWATER RIVER NEAR BEAVER 0.23 IN   0845 AM 05/04   44.15N/92.00W
1 E RIDGEWAY                 0.01 IN   0920 AM 05/04   43.91N/91.54W

5/1/15 Update: Make hay while the sun shines

Stream conditions updated.

Per reports, caddis have been hatching, as have a few other insects in the mix.

Warm, spring weather continues into the weekend with rain becoming likely late Sunday afternoon.

It should be a great opportunity to take a kid fishing.

I'm totally fine with you knowing EXACTLY where this picture was taken. :)

I’m totally fine with you knowing EXACTLY where this picture was taken. 🙂

 

4/17-4/20 Report: Trout Camp

Due to a number of scheduling conflicts, this year’s Trout Camp had to fall on the same weekend as the catch and keep opener. As frightening as that was, it turned out to be much better than I anticipated. The campground and the streams were busier than usual on Friday through Saturday, otherwise everyone cleared out rather quickly Sunday and we didn’t see anyone else out fishing on Monday. Overall, great friends, good fishing, and a welcome reprieve to a river valley with no cell phone reception.

Friday Brook TroutFriday: the weather was amazing, maybe even too warm with the lack of wind although we didn’t have too many complaints. First fish, first run, first cast – great start to the day. On an upper reach of a spring creek, water temperatures stayed around 48 degrees despite air temperatures in the mid-70s and full sunshine. The catch rate was fair to good. Fish were caught on peeking caddis size 16, caddis larva size 16, pink squirrels, orange scuds, copper johns, and pheasant tails. Farther downstream in the afternoon there were quite a few caddis bouncing around on the water. Unfortunately, despite the hatch, there were no rises seen, very few fish caught, and very few fish spooked. Something seems amiss through that popular stretch of water.

Trout FiletsSaturday: opening day. We ventured into the big woods south of I-90 and fished a relatively popular stretch of water. Every access point was loaded with about 6-8 cars when we arrived, which we expected.Trout Tacos What I didn’t expect was the majority clearing out of the stream before lunch. The water temperature was 58 degrees on this stream; warmer than the waters fished previously. By the end of the afternoon there were very few people left fishing. We caught a lot of fish, kept a few, and had an amazing dinner of fried trout filets, trout tacos, and altogether too much to eat. I hadn’t fished on opening day in at least 10 years and it was well worth the extra effort.

Sunday Rainbow TroutSunday: we took a long walk on a cold stream and caught a few fish. There were showers, but not much rain, it was overcast and cool with temperatures in the 50s. The fishing was difficult through the morning although we did catch a handful right out of the gates. The fishing picked up a little in the afternoon. Fish were caught on midge larva, copper johns, peeking caddis, and san juan worms. A few, nice glory fish were caught in front of the camping onlookers who said those were the first fish they’d seen caught all day. This was another stream that seemed to have a much lower population of fish, and that was confirmed by recent DNR shocking statistics. One of the highlights of Sunday was catching a handful of nicely-sized rainbow trout that had been planted in years prior as yearlings. They put up a hearty fight and were a pleasant surprise.

Monday's stopping pointMonday: it was the worst weather day of camp, but the fishing was close to the best of the 4 days. We ventured far back up a river valley and saw no other anglers the entire day. Fish were still actively feeding up in faster water although no hatching insects were seen above water. Successful patterns included a variety of nymphs, midge larva, woolly bugger, and that stinkin’ worm pattern.

 

It’s really simple; be respectful

I was saddened to see this bit of information on the MNTU Facebook Page.

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A Heads-up on the loss of an Access to Rush Creek:
For years trout anglers had been able to drive in the long lane off Winona Cty. 25 and park by the red barn at the Wunderlich farm, and from there walk into a fine stretch of Rush Creek where several projects of HI work had been completed, near the confluence with Ferguson Creek. Several thefts of items from outbuildings and an angler who insisted he didn’t have to move his vehicle from in front of grain bins because “There is an angler easement here,” were cited by the landowners as reasons for their decision to close off the access. An easement has never been purchased. Access had always been granted as a courtesy before.
For the time being, the DNR suggests walking in by way of Ahrensfeld Creek (see map).

The most difficult part of this story is that an individual wouldn’t move his vehicle and disrespected the landowner. As a result, this has capped off access that many anglers have enjoyed for many years. We can do better. Always respect the landowner, and respect the rules of the angling easements.

4/6/15-4/10/15: Wet Week

Recent Rainfall Reports for southeast MN, northeast IA, southwest WI.

The rain and snow from a week soaked in showers and thunderstorms is wrapping up, but streams and rivers are still on the rise as of this posting.

Precipitation from 4/3-4/9
4_10_15_Precipitation

In addition to the totals linked to above, I got a call from my buddy who lives on the Middle Branch of the Whitewater, near Quincy, and he received 2.05″ of rain from 10pm on the 8th to 10pm on the 9th in addition to 0.5″ of snow late Thursday.

While most streams will be high and dirty going into the weekend, it’s nice to come through a week with rain every day and not see any issues with flash flooding due to excessive precipitation. At least we can stop talking about drought for a while now.

NWS La Crosse Hydrology Monitor
Stream Conditions updated