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.


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

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

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.


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.


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        

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                      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        

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        

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        

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        

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