Fly: Pink Squirrel

This basic, easy to tie pattern has become a staple for a lot of driftless area trout anglers. The fly was created by John Bethke from southwest Wisconsin. It’s a good winter season fly and can be tied in many variations.

The version I tied here is a little different, using a pink brass Bug Collar instead of pink dubbing.

pink squirrel

In case you’re unfamiliar with this pattern, here’s the recipe:

Hook: Size 14 Scud
Head: Brass Bead 1/8″, pink brass bug collar 1/8″ in this case, otherwise pink dubbing is usually tied in behind the bead head
Thread: pink or tan. I used tan since I wasn’t tying off at the pink dubbing but at the end of the squirrel hair dubbing
Tail: pearlescent krystal flash
Ribbing: Hot Orange, size: BR
Body: squirrel hair dubbing

6/27 Update: Summer


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…


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…



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.


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.


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.

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


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

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                         

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                         

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                         

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                         

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 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                         

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:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 🙂