Brown Trout

Fished for two short hours and the Light Hendrickson’s were everywhere. I fished one dry fly the entire time, never lost it and it took a beating and still took fish, close to a dozen, maybe more, one really nice brown and a bunch of 12-14in others. Things are starting to really pay off for me, three casts in and I was onto some serious action. Light Hendrickson’s must be going strong on other area streams, keep a look out for the larger March Brown too. 


Hot Damn! Trout WaterCaught some time on a Southeast Minnesota trout stream with a friend of mine, we left a bit after noon to hit water in search of rising trout. Got on stream and saw a few Light Hendrickson’s, I figured they’d been coming off for a few hours prior to our arrival. I checked the rocks and I’m finding fewer Ephemerella nymphs which is leading me to think this hatch will be over soon on this stream. We both caught several on dries working out way through a jungle of Parsnips, stay away.

The last time I hit this spot I lost a Swimming PT to a trout that struck in a riffle next to exposed tree roots, not expecting to get dragged in, I didn’t get a chance to turn the trout before he broke me off. Today when we went back I wanted a chance to see if I could pull out what I thought might be that fish. I saw the a rising fish holding in the same spot, far up the run almost under a downed tree. 1st, pass, 2nd, pass, 3rd, there he was, sure enough in less than 8″ of water was a beautiful 15″ Brown just waiting to smack my fly. I pulled him back right away and kept him from the roots and landed him in the riffle downstream. Took photos and let him take off. We fished the first dig for another hour and hiked out to hit a questionable second spot. 

Brown Trout

New to both we weren’t sure what to expect. After a short drive we parked and assessed the situation, picked bugs and took a water temp. At 12:30 on the 1st stream the water temp read 61 degrees when I took it and at 3pm on the second stream I read almost 60 degrees. I found few mayfly nymphs of any kind, just the scant Ephemerella there were a bunch of 1st instar Beatis, almost too small to tell what they were. We saw a few March Browns hatching so be on the look out for those. Caught a few on streamers, little rising at 3pm on the second stream. Enjoyed a beautiful day in the sun, and the good company. I’m home now working on larger March Brown dry flies for next week should the opportunity arise. 

Mayfly Motivation

May 29, 2009

Light Hendrickson Dry Flies tied by the W.F.F.Light Hendrickson Dry Flies tied by the W.F.F. (Rear)Caddis SideMayfly Side


Light Hendrickson MayflyThe LandscapeI watched the Light Hendrickson’s hatch again today, I have been trying to watch this from the same section of stream several times during the entirety of this hatch to well, just to watch it and observe. Once again the cattle were around and that combined with almost an inch of rain yesterday made for some transparency issues on the stream today, that didn’t impede the hatch any, I think it prevented the trout from eating though.

I got to the stream and immediately saw several Light Hendrickson’s hatching, I collected a few and took photos, saw no rising trout. I waited for quite a while watching the same spot noticing a greatly increased volume of mayflies. I counted 5-10 pass every 10-20 seconds, this is much more than I observed last week. I expected to see rising trout and after a while and a little hiking to find some cleaner water I did in fact find rising trout. I love watching an excited trout rush your fly from the depths, keeps you on your toes man. I had a blast, caught several but most were small. I was a little disappointed that the hole containing the larger fish was being trampled by the cattle again, this kept the flow very muddy and I just watched hundreds of mayflies hatch without a single rise. I would be getting on stream earlier than you might think for this hatch, I would say to get a jump on it be ready at 10:30am and thats rigged and ready to go.

May 25th, Cattle Call

May 26, 2009

Trout Water Muddied by VisitorsFished the afternoon, caught some sporadic hatching Light Hendricksons. The plan was to nymph an area that I have been observing during this hatch but to my dismay I found I had company and not the kind with a fly rod. Interesting how the cattle grazing near the one spot caused it to muddy the entire time they were present and only downstream for a hundred yards, after that it cleaned right up. Fishing in a place where the stream frequently runs through a pasture, S.E. Minnesota farmers are in a unique position to affect the streams with the amount of grazing time they allow near the streams. 

The cattle disrupt the stream causing the water transparency to decrease, if this happens enough it can affect the life in the stream by limiting the amount of sunlight able to penetrate the water. Also cattle can erode the streamside by eating and trampling the vegitation, the root structures provide strenght during rain events to help soak up large amounts of water so that the stream doesn’t get dumped on and to provide stability to the banks so they don’t erode as easily when significant rain fall occurs. 

Brown TroutAlthough I didn’t fish for very long it stuck in my mind how many miles of S.E. MN trout stream run through pastures and if farmers are careless and allow cattle to constantly graze, a stream can be negatively affected, some grazing is fine but when they are allowed to stay for too long the stream and the life in it can suffer. Rotational grazing is an idea in the works but it takes effort on the part of the farmer, money to purchase the fencing and time to actually move the cattle so I can see how it might not happen as often as it should. One thing we might do is petition the state legislator to use some of the money set aside from the recently passed Constitutional Amendment to subsidize the cost of making this happen more often.

Trout Water

I moved on and found myself driving for a ways before stopping. Fished to a few rising trout and caught a few but I perhaps should have spent more time nymphing rather than concentrating on getting the perfect drift to entice picky trout. Something to think about next time I see the splash from a rising trout. I did get the opportunity to check out a new stream and the images say it all.

Starting My CSMP Work

May 25, 2009

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency works with volunteers that live near, or visit often, water that needs monitoring. Volunteers request a kit and work with the MPCA to choose a good testing/assessment site for which to collect data. I received my CSMP Kit yesterday.

Materials From MPCAThis includes:

  • Instructions/Data Sheets/Laminated Cheat Sheet for Field Work
  • Rain Gauge with Mount
  • Transparency Tube

The Minnesota Pollution control agency uses data collected regularly by volunteers to help assess the water quality of the lakes, rivers and streams. I will be choosing a regular site to visit weekly and daily after significant rain occurrences. Using the transparency tube I will take measurements that help determine the turbidity of the flow at a specific time. Recording this over time I believe helps the MPCA assess the streams reaction to rain runoff. The MPCA sends volunteers a collection envelope each fall to gather the data sheets. 

Clear PlacementPart of the deal with this is daily rain fall readings logged and sent in with the stream assessment data. To make the job of taking a daily reading at a similar time easier I placed the rain gauge along my walk to the truck out our back door. I will keep the data sheets in the truck and record each morning when I get in. Deciding an optimal assessment location on a stream within 20 miles of my doorstep is the goal for next week. Photo’s and information to come later.

Sage Flight 8'6" 3wtToday was AWESOME! I got to test the new rod I recently received and with it caught one of the sweetest trout I’ve seen in a long time. I got on stream and took a water temp immediately, cloudy skies made me think it wouldn’t happen today but I was dead wrong. First water temp, 58 degrees. I took some samples and then rigged a larger scud trailed by the usual Swimming PT. I have other flies but this PT pattern has really held it’s own and it represents well the Ephemerella Invaria nymph well so it would be counter productive to not use it in my opinion. I started swinging…

Swimming PT StrungFelt a light take, the new rod felt weird the first few casts. I lost three takes in a row and then saw the first one. Floated right past me and I almost jumped in the creek. I quickly reeled in all the line I had out and headed downstream. I lost that one but knowing that these nymphs hold in fast riffles and let loose to emerge I positioned myself and got ready. 11:28am 59degree water temp. I actually watched several of these flies hatch in the crystal clear water. With what seemed like almost one wriggle most were out of the shuck in the blink of an eye. I caught a few and took photo’s, noticing two different body colors I’m wondering if this wasn’t Invaria and Rotunda hatching at the same time. I saw rising trout a few minutes later and switched to a Compara-dun patter I tied for this hatch during the off season. Never seeing this before I was unsure if my flies were going to work but I tried a lead Trailing Shuck Compara-dun followed by a Deer-Hair Emerger pattern, both took fish.

Light HendricksonLight HendricksonLight Hendrickson

The first on the new rod was small but felt good just the same. A few more followed and I was getting the feel for the new rod, everything about this thing felt excellent. I felt confident casting, this made for a few mis-steps but I was getting used to it. I moved upstream to the real targets. Casting the same two flies I made the first cast count, always a good thing and it payed off immediatly when a beatiful brown launched from below. Took my fly right to the bottom, the fight that ensued made me love this new rod. He went straight for weeds at the bottom and wrapped himself up, I waited, a few minutes later he knew he couldn’t stay there. He ran me downstream and after another few minutes surfaced for good. I wore him out good so I hung around for a few minutes to see him off in good shape.

Brown Trout Release

The rest of the afternoon saw a few sporadic hatching and rising fish, I caught a few more until another nice trout struck and because I thought I could man-handle him I lost both flies and was forced to start over. I re-rigged and took a few moments to take pictures, relax. I trailed my lead fly today with the Deer hair emerger but at one time also with a Swimming PT and both produced trout. I ended up catching only two more fish but I know there will be more of this hatch. On a final note I must say, if your new to this be confident, not cocky but confident. I tied the flies that caught these trout from information from books, the Internet and other anglers before seeing the real thing and it can work. What a sweet time on the water, I will not take this for granted and I will stew on this time for a while to come.

May 19th, A Quick Run

May 19, 2009


Fished for just a few hours today, saw some cool things and met a fellow fly fisherman looking for alittle advice. It was excellent to feel knowledgeable enough to help steer this guy in the right direction. Let me back up, got on stream and took water temp right away, today I was hoping to find some mayflies hatching. I took an initial temp of ~58 degrees and picked bugs finding, as I have on several other area streams that the Ephemerella nymphs were in full force and just about ready to pop. The date I’ve been hearing is May 20th and although I didn’t see any hatching Light Hendricksons I did see a few sporadic rising trout, my thought is due to some light Caddis activity. During my bug picking adventure I lifted a rock with my strainer downstream to catch the contents and when I pulled it out? A Sculpin! I’ve tried catching these things before but they are quick, it was cool to see this one up close.

A Comparison? Sculpin from under a Rock!Ephemerella Invaria/Rotunda Nymphs

I fished a larger Caddis pattern trailed by a smaller PT and both were catching fish today. Second cast and I was onto trout, small trout but trout none the less. I’ve yet to be frustrated with size but I have been catching 6-8″ trout in large numbers but few larger than 10″. Today saw two larger than 12″ and one that threw the hook would have been a larger trout. I enjoyed the warm sun, standing in a few inches of cold trout water was refreshing. I fished until a fellow happened by wanting to know if I was catching anything.

Trout Water Flowin' To My Feet After a few minutes of having a conversation across the stream I decided that I would rather chat about fly fishing than keep working the spot I was on. I crossed the stream and met a fellow who introduced himself as “Bruno.” He asked about trout, places to fish and what flies I was using. I popped open the boxes I had on me and gave him a few Swimming PT’s and a few new Scud patterns. It was great to talk trout and help someone out, afterward I decided to pack it in, I had obligations and I was satisfied I had put the trout demons down for the time being.

Swimming PT Variants

May 17, 2009

Swimming PT's

Flashback Swimming PT's

Tied on a Mustad 37160 (#20 shown here), these flies have been great the last few times I’ve been out. I tie them in light brown, dark brown, and black to imitate the naturals in the water. I tied several with a traditional brass bead and several with craft store beads that I found appealing. The black flashback versions that have a black wire rib rather than traditional copper have been producing very well as they imitate an Ephemerella Invaria nymph that are in full force on our area streams right about now. I lost a few this last time out but I tied a few extra, for those who love to tie flies I suppose.