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.
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.
*** 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 BELOWNORMAL 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:
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.
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.