4/3/2015: Cold and Cloudy with a Side of Smoked Char

IMG_6287A couple friends and I were joined by a gentleman from Denmark this morning. Thanks to his generosity, this (picture to the left) is how we ended the morning and it was the highlight of today’s fishing trip. He brought along a couple filets of smoked, Arctic Char from fish that he caught in Iceland. Delicious.

The weather was overcast, cold, and gusty with the temperature around 30-31 all morning. I’ve been out at least a half dozen times since January and this is the first time I fought ice on the guides. By the time we got home at 12:30 there was a 10° jump in temperature and the sky was sunny.

We each caught fish, the winning fly today was a black woolly bugger catching a few fish. Peeking caddis caught another, and a pink squirrel caught a beauty of a brown from underneath a fallen tree. Water was crystal clear, no water temperature taken, no insect activity or surface activity seen. We not only wrapped up the outing with a couple filets of smoked, arctic char, but venison sticks and cold coffee (by default of not bringing the thermos). Wow, it was good.

image1

This rainbow was caught a long distance from where any are stocked – the first rainbow I’ve caught there in years.

4/1/2015-4/2/2015 Rainfall

Showers, thunderstorms a welcome site to start April, and amounts were healthy but not enough to have a big effect on river/stream levels. Totals compiled by NWS La Crosse. The Stream Conditions page has been updated.

...SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA...

...DODGE COUNTY...
KASSON                       0.81 IN   0831 AM 04/02   44.03N/92.73W        
MANTORVILLE 1.9 ESE          0.62 IN   0600 AM 04/02   44.05N/92.72W        
DODGE CENTER AIRPORT         0.50 IN   0654 AM 04/02   44.02N/92.83W        

...FILLMORE COUNTY...
SPRING VALLEY 3E             0.46 IN   0700 AM 04/02   43.68N/92.33W        
FILLMORE                     0.41 IN   0830 AM 04/02   43.76N/92.27W        
PRESTON                      0.38 IN   0815 AM 04/02   43.67N/92.07W        
PRESTON FILLMORE COUNTY AIRP 0.37 IN   0655 AM 04/02   43.68N/92.18W        
MABEL                        0.33 IN   0630 AM 04/02   43.52N/91.76W        
SO.FORK ROOT RIVER           0.33 IN   0830 AM 04/02   43.72N/91.98W        
LANESBORO                    0.32 IN   0700 AM 04/02   43.72N/91.97W        

...HOUSTON COUNTY...
HOUSTON                      0.28 IN   0745 AM 04/02   43.77N/91.57W        
MOUND PRAIRIE                0.26 IN   0745 AM 04/02   43.78N/91.45W        
CALEDONIA                    0.21 IN   0700 AM 04/02   43.63N/91.50W        

...MOWER COUNTY...
LANSING                      0.81 IN   0730 AM 04/02   43.75N/92.95W        
DOBBING CR                   0.79 IN   0730 AM 04/02   43.67N/92.95W        
1 NNE VARCO                  0.74 IN   0800 AM 04/02   43.64N/92.97W        
TURTLE CREEK                 0.67 IN   0730 AM 04/02   43.65N/92.98W        
GRAND MEADOW                 0.66 IN   0600 AM 04/02   43.71N/92.56W        
AUSTIN MUNICIPAL AIRPORT     0.55 IN   0656 AM 04/02   43.66N/92.93W        

...OLMSTED COUNTY...
BYRON                        0.75 IN   0814 AM 04/02   44.04N/92.64W        
ROCHESTER AP 2NE             0.68 IN   0700 AM 04/02   43.93N/92.48W        
3 NW ROCHESTER               0.67 IN   0830 AM 04/02   44.05N/92.53W        
ELGIN 2SSW                   0.65 IN   0700 AM 04/02   44.10N/92.27W        
ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL AIRP 0.64 IN   0654 AM 04/02   43.91N/92.50W        
CASCADE CREEK                0.64 IN   0730 AM 04/02   44.03N/92.47W        
1 SSE STEWARTVILLE           0.63 IN   0823 AM 04/02   43.84N/92.48W        
ROCHESTER 3W                 0.62 IN   0730 AM 04/02   44.02N/92.53W        
BYRON 4 NORTH                0.62 IN   0700 AM 04/02   44.09N/92.64W        
4 NNW ROCHESTER              0.62 IN   0520 AM 04/02   44.07N/92.49W        
ROCHESTER 2.6 NE             0.61 IN   0600 AM 04/02   44.04N/92.44W        
3 NE ROCHESTER               0.61 IN   0825 AM 04/02   44.05N/92.45W        
4 ESE DOUGLAS                0.61 IN   0823 AM 04/02   44.09N/92.49W        
3 ESE DOUGLAS                0.60 IN   0830 AM 04/02   44.08N/92.51W        
2 ENE ROCHESTER              0.60 IN   0730 AM 04/02   44.03N/92.42W        
BELTLINE-BEAR CREEK          0.59 IN   0730 AM 04/02   44.01N/92.45W        
MAYO HELIPAD                 0.56 IN   0654 AM 04/02   44.02N/92.48W        
2 NE ROCHESTER               0.56 IN   0814 AM 04/02   44.04N/92.44W        
ROCHESTER BELTLINE           0.56 IN   0730 AM 04/02   44.01N/92.47W        
ORONOCO 1W                   0.53 IN   0830 AM 04/02   44.17N/92.55W        
ORONOCO                      0.52 IN   0830 AM 04/02   44.16N/92.54W        
PINE ISLAND 1S               0.45 IN   0600 AM 04/02   44.19N/92.65W        
3 S ROCHESTER                0.26 IN   0828 AM 04/02   43.97N/92.48W        

...WABASHA COUNTY...
ZUMBRO FALLS 3.5 SSW         0.54 IN   0640 AM 04/02   44.24N/92.46W        
MAZEPPA 3ESE                 0.44 IN   0830 AM 04/02   44.26N/92.49W        
LAKE CITY                    0.43 IN   0814 AM 04/02   44.45N/92.27W        
BEAR VALLEY                  0.38 IN   0751 AM 04/02   44.32N/92.44W        
WABASHA                      0.37 IN   0700 AM 04/02   44.38N/92.05W        
ZUMBRO RIVER                 0.34 IN   0800 AM 04/02   44.32N/92.00W        

...WINONA COUNTY...
MINNESOTA CITY DAM 5         0.58 IN   0700 AM 04/02   44.16N/91.81W        
ELBA                         0.53 IN   0830 AM 04/02   44.09N/92.03W        
STOCKTON 0.1 SSE             0.36 IN   0715 AM 04/02   44.03N/91.77W        
WINONA DAM 5A                0.34 IN   0600 AM 04/02   44.09N/91.67W        
WHITEWATER RIVER NEAR BEAVER 0.31 IN   0745 AM 04/02   44.15N/92.00W        
WINONA MUNICIPAL AIRPORT     0.28 IN   0653 AM 04/02   44.08N/91.71W        
LA CRESCENT DAM 7            0.20 IN   0600 AM 04/02   43.87N/91.31W        
DAKOTA                       0.20 IN   0800 AM 04/02   43.91N/91.36W        
TREMPEALEAU DAM 6            0.13 IN   0600 AM 04/02   44.00N/91.44W

Non-dramatic Spring Runoff – Conditions Improving

Stream conditions updated March 11th.

A rapid turnaround from sub-zero temperatures on March 5th to unseasonably warm weather and near-record warmth beginning March 8th has led to a quick, spring runoff in southeast Minnesota. Waters have been running high and dirty at times, but in a not-so-dramatic fashion. Streams should be clearing nicely going into the weekend of March 14th.

3_9_2015_DuscheeCreek

3/7/2015 Report & Conditions

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Saturday, March 7th Report:
Fished from 9:30am-12:30pm. Sky was clear, wind in the valley was a non-issue (gusty on the blufftops), temperature started at 32 and was ~38 when we walked out of the valley. There was still plenty of snow on the banks and ice shelves in a few stretches. Fishing was slow, but there was one stretch with ample sunshine + emerging midges that brought fish to the surface. This was a first outing for 3 of us fishing, each caught our first trout of the year on a Griffith’s Gnat (and a couple more to boot). In this particular location, fish were up in the current, actively feeding. Additional fish were caught on an orange scud. In many other stretches that were still shaded, we caught nothing despite our best efforts.

Spring 2015 Flood Outlook – March 5th Update

(source) – NWS La Crosse

*** FLOOD POTENTIAL HIGHLIGHTS ***

OVERALL...NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED FROM THE FIRST OUTLOOK ISSUED TWO
WEEKS AGO. THE FLOOD POTENTIAL FOR THIS SPRING LOOKS TO BE BELOW
NORMAL AS COMPARED TO A TYPICAL YEAR.

THE WIDESPREAD LACK OF WINTER PRECIPITATION HAS CONTINUED...AND
CONTINUES TO BE WELL BELOW WHAT WE MIGHT NORMALLY SEE FOR THIS
TIME OF YEAR. THIS CONTINUES TO POINT TO A VERY LOW LIKELIHOOD OF
ANY SIGNIFICANT OR WIDESPREAD SPRING FLOODING FROM SNOWMELT RUNOFF
AT THIS TIME.

ONE AREA THAT REMAINS SOMEWHAT OF A CONCERN CONTINUES TO BE THE
AMOUNT AND THICKNESS OF ICE IN AREA CREEKS AND RIVERS. THE RECENT
COLD HAS HELPED TO THICKEN THE ICE. WITH WARMER TEMPERATURES EXPECTED
THIS WEEKEND AND THROUGH NEXT WEEK...RUNOFF MAY BE SUFFICIENT TO
RAISE WATER LEVELS ENOUGH TO BREAK THIS ICE UP ON SOME WATERWAYS.
AS THIS OCCURS...ICE JAMS ARE A DEFINITE POSSIBILITY...ESPECIALLY IN
TYPICAL PROBLEM SPOTS SUCH AS NEAR BRIDGES AND OTHER CONSTRICTIONS
IN THE RIVER...OR WHERE THE RIVER MAKES SHARP TURNS OR MEANDERS.
LARGE CHUNKS OF ICE MOVING DOWNSTREAM COULD GET HUNG UP IN THESE
AREAS...LEADING TO JAMS AND POTENTIAL FLOODING. IF ICE FLOES OR
ANY JAMMING IS OBSERVED...BE SURE TO REPORT THIS INFORMATION TO
LOCAL OFFICIALS OR THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

Snow depth, temperature, and water equivalent as of March 5th, 2015:
nsm_swe_2015030505_Upper_Midwest nsm_ave_temp_24hr_2015030505_Upper_Midwest nsm_depth_2015030505_Upper_Midwest

Images courtesy National Snow Analysis

Too Cold; Won’t Fish

GrumpyCat

But, after the 5th coldest February on record in southeast Minnesota, there is hope. Without giving it all away on a silver platter, here’s an outlook on temperatures the next 10 days.

KRST_2015030412_tx_240

 

Honestly, hats off (not literally, too cold) to those of you who have found the time and place to fish this winter without losing a digit. It’s a great time of the year to avoid crowds, and even better now that all streams are open for winter trout fishing.

Trout Fishing State Parks – Oct. 16-Dec. 31

The catch-and-release season on the majority of southeast Minnesota trout streams is now closed. This year was the first to be extended from the end of September into the middle of October.

However, there is still trout fishing to be had in a few of southeast Minnesota’s state parks. Here is where you can fish in Beaver Creek SP, Whitewater SP, and Forestville SP.

All of southeast Minnesota’s designated trout streams will be open on January 1st, 2015 for the catch-and-release winter season.

(source)

Pros and Cons Of The “Ghost Net”

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“Ghost Netting” is just translucent “rubber” (urethane?) netting. Trout colors really “pop” when photographed in this type of netting.

I can’t remember exactly when it was I first saw a picture of a trout being held in a “Ghost Net”…probably a couple years ago…but I do remember thinking, “wow, that net is cool.  It really makes the colors in that trout pop”.  Soon I started seeing more and more great “in the net” trout pictures that actually looked really good thanks to the clear rubber ghost netting.

Then one day I was in my favorite fly shop and noticed they had my net…a Wolf Moon Oxbow...that had the ghost netting installed on it.  We called up Bill at Wolf Moon and sure enough, he could sell me a replacement bag for my net, so I ordered one up.  It only took me a year to get around to installing it, but it’s done now, and I’ve formed some opinions on it

Pros:

-Pics taken of trout in the ghost net can actually look really good.  The whitish, blueish, clearish, translucent netting really brings out the color in the trout.  Pics of trout taken in the standard black mesh netting never really can look good.

-You can’t get your hook caught in a rubber net like you can in a fabric mesh net.  I had several “hook holes” in my old bag from forcefully removing stuck hooks.  “Cockle burrs” and other “sticky” plant seeds can’t get stuck in the rubber bag, either.

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14 inch trout behave well in a rubber trout net, but what about a 20 incher?

-Rubber is easy on the fish’s slime coat…but so is soft mesh…so this one is a wash.

Cons:

-The ghost netting is a fair bit heavier than mesh.  Of course this isn’t going to keep you from using it, but it is noticeable.

-It doesn’t lay nicely on the back.  The rubber is too stiff to lay down properly, and so its common for the net to swing around when you bend down…more-so than a standard net does.  With my longish Oxbow net, my fly line seems to get caught on the handle more often now when wading deeper, because the handle sticks out at a greater angle from my back.

-Fish seem to be able to flip out of the net a little easier, particularly larger fish.  The biggest fish I’ve netted with the ghost netting has been around 15 or 16 inches and so far this hasn’t been too much of an issue, but I get the feeling a 20 inch trout would give me some trouble.  In the past, the Oxbow net with standard mesh handled 20 inch trout with ease.  12 to 14 inch fish are no problem, though.

I don’t regret putting the ghost netting on my Oxbow, but if I had to do it again, I’m not sure I would.  It certainly has its pros and cons.

July 16th, 2014

Due to weather and home projects, I didn’t fish between June 11th and July 11th. That’s just wrong.

However, from my experiences this past weekend…

-streams are, generally, in great shape
-the gnats have been obscene, but there seem to be spots where they’re worse than others and a little wind can go a long way
-hoppers! There are a variety of sizes of hoppers now, but there are some adults already and we caught a lot of nice-sized trout casting hoppers. There are also some small, bright green grasshoppers, probably a size 10?

Didn’t take a single picture…

I was fishing a hopper very similar to the Letort Hopper but with legs. It was getting some great strikes. I bought it a long time ago and it was my last one, so it’s time to learn to tie these.

6/13/14-6/20/14 Heavy Rainfall

Rochester has received 4.02″ of rain since Saturday, June 13th.

Here are radar estimated totals from Wednesday, June 18th through Friday, June 20th
2014-06-20_12-25-47

Here are 7 day totals from June 13th through June 20th
2014-06-20_12-25-31

River gauges

Rain measurements from June 14th through June 20th, courtesy of NWS La Crosse

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
119 PM CDT FRI JUN 20 2014

...PRELIMINARY RAINFALL TOTALS FROM JUNE 14TH THROUGH JUNE 20TH...

LOCATION                            COUNTY          AMOUNT 


...NORTHEAST IOWA...

WAUCOMA 3S                          FAYETTE         7.44
NEW HAMPTON                         CHICKASAW       7.42 
CHARLES CITY                        FLOYD           7.19
POSTVILLE                           ALLAMAKEE       6.82
OELWEIN 1WNW                        FAYETTE         6.80
EL DORADO 1E                        FAYETTE         6.45
COLWELL                             FLOYD           6.28
IONIA 2W                            CHICKASAW       6.22
ELMA                                HOWARD          5.90
MONONA                              CLAYTON         5.80
YELLOW RIVER PARK                   ALLAMAKEE       5.64
STRAWBERRY POINT                    FAYETTE         5.55
NASHUA 2SW                          CHICKASAW       5.20
CRESCO                              HOWARD          5.06
OSAGE                               MITCHELL        5.02
DECORAH                             WINNESHIEK      4.89
CLERMONT                            FAYETTE         4.87
ELKADER                             FAYETTE         4.73
ORCHARD                             FLOYD           4.73
ION                                 ALLAMAKEE       4.21
LITTLEPORT                          CLAYTON         4.16
VOLGA 1NE                           CLAYTON         4.05
DORCHESTER - HIGHWAY 76             ALLAMAKEE       3.67
BLUFFTON                            WINNESHIEK      3.64
GUTTENBERG DAM 10                   CLAYTON         3.21


...SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA...

BYRON 6S                            OLMSTED         7.30
ROCHESTER 5SW                       OLMSTED         7.00
AUSTIN 2NE                          MOWER           6.55 
ELGIN 5SE                           OLMSTED         6.27 
OXBOW PARK                          OLMSTED         6.25
BYRON 4N                            OLMSTED         5.97
ROCHESTER 6ENE                      OLMSTED         5.96
ROCHESTER 3W                        OLMSTED         5.79
ROCHESTER - BEAR CREEK              OLMSTED         5.77
AUSTIN 3S                           MOWER           5.70
EYOTA 5W                            OLMSTED         5.61
VIOLA 4W                            OLMSTED         5.32
MANTORVILLE 2WSW                    DODGE           5.32
LANSING                             MOWER           5.27
AUSTIN 3NW                          MOWER           5.23
ROCHESTER - SILVER CREEK            OLMSTED         5.22
ROCHESTER - BELTLINE                OLMSTED         5.11
FILLMORE                            FILLMORE        5.08
ALTURA 5W                           WINONA          5.07
SPRING VALLEY 3E                    FILLMORE        5.05
MANTORVILLE                         DODGE           5.05
ELBA                                WINONA          4.95
ROCHESTER AIRPORT 2NE               OLMSTED         4.94
OSTRANDER 5WNW                      FILLMORE        4.82
EYOTA 2NE                           OLMSTED         4.81
ROCHESTER - CASCADE CREEK           OLMSTED         4.74
WHITEWATER STATE PARK               WINONA          4.73
ROCHESTER 6N                        OLMSTED         4.68
ELGIN 2SSW                          WABASHA         4.60
SPRING VALLEY                       FILLMORE        4.58
WINONA 4SW                          WINONA          4.55
DOVER 1E                            OLMSTED         4.52
MINNESOTA CITY DAM 5                WINONA          4.36
ORONOCO 1W                          OLMSTED         4.25
CARIMONA                            FILLMORE        4.22
ORONOCO                             OLMSTED         4.04
ROCHESTER ASOS                      OLMSTED         4.02
WABASHA                             WABASHA         3.99
PRESTON 3NNE                        FILLMORE        3.97
ROCHESTER 2SE                       OLMSTED         3.96
GRAND MEADOW 6S                     MOWER           3.96
PILOT MOUND                         FILLMORE        3.84
CHATFIELD 9ESE                      FILLMORE        3.79
THEILMAN 1SSW                       WABASHA         3.76
PRESTON 6S                          FILLMORE        3.74
LANESBORO                           FILLMORE        3.71
CALEDONIA                           HOUSTON         3.63
PRESTON                             FILLMORE        3.55
ROCHESTER 4ESE                      OLMSTED         3.46
LEWISTON                            WINONA          3.43
HOUSTON                             HOUSTON         3.41
LA CRESCENT 1NNW                    HOUSTON         3.37
BEAVER                              WABASHA         3.37
BRISTOL 1N                          FILLMORE        3.32
KELLOGG                             WABASHA         3.28
SPRING GROVE 4N                     HOUSTON         3.12
ZUMBRO FALLS 4SSW                   WABASHA         3.01
BRISTOL 3NE                         FILLMORE        2.99
MOUND PRAIRIE                       HOUSTON         2.98
RUSHFORD                            FILLMORE        2.96
MABEL                               FILLMORE        2.96
PLAINVIEW 3E                        WABASHA         2.93
WINONA 5WSW                         WINONA          2.76
LA CRESCENT DAM 7                   WINONA          2.71

...SOUTHWEST AND CENTRAL WISCONSIN...

ETTRICK 4WNW                        TREMPEALEAU     7.86
BLAIR                               TREMPEALEAU     5.94
BLACK RIVER FALLS 2N                JACKSON         5.59
LA CROSSE - RIVERSIDE               LA CROSSE       5.57
ROCKVILLE                           GRANT           5.53
OSSEO                               TREMPEALEAU     5.37
TAYLOR                              JACKSON         5.36
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN                    CRAWFORD        5.35
WHITEHALL 4SSW                      TREMPEALEAU     5.24
LYNXVILLE DAM 9                     CRAWFORD        5.24
BURTON                              GRANT           5.20
HIXTON                              JACKSON         5.04
GALEVILLE 2WSW                      TREMPEALEAU     5.04
BLACK RIVER FALLS RAWS              JACKSON         4.75
FORT MCCOY YARD ROAD                MONROE          4.74
SINSINAWA                           GRANT           4.58
TREMPEALEAU DAM 6                   TREMPEALEAU     4.44
CASTLE ROCK DAM                     ADAMS           4.43
TUNNEL CITY 1S                      MONROE          4.38
STEUBEN                             CRAWFORD        4.26
HATFIELD DAM                        JACKSON         4.25
ONTARIO                             VERNON          4.18
MATHER 3NW                          JACKSON         4.17
WHITEHALL                           TREMPEALEAU     4.13
SPARTA                              MONROE          4.13
DE SOTO 1SE                         CRAWFORD        4.06
GENOA DAM 8                         VERNON          4.04
CUBA CITY                           GRANT           4.04
READSTOWN                           VERNON          4.02
WESTBY 3ENE                         VERNON          4.01
RICHLAND CENTER                     RICHLAND        3.98
LA CROSSE WFO                       LA CROSSE       3.94
WHITEHALL 6N                        TREMPEALEAU     3.86
FOUR CORNERS                        JACKSON         3.86
PIGEON FALLS                        TREMPEALEAU     3.82
STRUM                               TREMPEALEAU     3.81
READSTOWN 4NE                       RICHLAND        3.69
WARRENS 5WSW                        MONROE          3.67
GAYS MILLS                          CRAWFORD        3.56
NEILLSVILLE 3ESE                    CLARK           3.56
LA CROSSE 4NNW                      LA CROSSE       3.50
VIROQUA                             VERNON          3.44
ONTARIO 3E                          VERNON          3.42
HILLSBORO 2SW                       VERNON          3.35
BOSCOBEL ASOS                       GRANT           3.20
MAUSTON 1SE                         JUNEAU          3.13
STODDARD                            VERNON          3.03
NECEDAH RAWS                        JUNEAU          3.02
LA CROSSE ASOS                      LA CROSSE       3.00
ALMA DAM 4                          BUFFALO         2.99
DIAMOND LAKE RAWS                   TAYLOR          2.95
WEST SALEM 1W                       LA CROSSE       2.93
HOLMEN 2S                           LA CROSSE       2.93
PETENWELL DAM                       JUNEAU          2.91
HOLMEN 1NW                          LA CROSSE       2.90
FRIENDSHIP                          ADAMS           2.80
NEILLSVILLE                         CLARK           2.77
MELROSE 8SSW                        JACKSON         2.69
OWEN 2N                             CLARK           2.60

OBSERVATIONS ARE COLLECTED FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES WITH VARYING
EQUIPMENT AND EXPOSURE. NOT ALL DATA LISTED ARE CONSIDERED OFFICIAL.