Brown on a Trico Spinner #24Goals for the day:

  • Find Trico’s Hatching
  • Catch fish on Trico Pattern
  • Enjoy another day on a S.E. Minnesota Trout Stream
  • Work Hoppers Later in the Day

With the goals laid out before me I set out at 5am. Getting to the spot I wanted to fish was going to require a longer drive than normal but this provided the opportunity to find some rising fish, fish new water and see a stretch of water that I rarely get to visit. I met Joel, who became my Brother-in-Law this past Sunday at 5:30am. This outing was his last as a single man and it felt good to get him out.

Trico Mayfly

Trico (Natural) next to Trico Spinner (Imitation #24)Explaining the goals for the day to Joel was simple enough, first up, use a ridiculously small fly to tempt rising trout. Upon arrival at 6:40am the water temp was already above what I was expecting to find pushing past 60 degrees but the trout were rising steadily and we rigged a bit of 7x and a couple of #24 Trico Spinner patterns I had tied for this morning. We would have been better to arrive at 6am and no later, something to keep in mind for next time. Joel, still new to fly fishing was naturally going to have a difficult time taking a fish on a Trico pattern but tried just the same and although he walked away a few hours later empty handed he surprises me with his patience and lack of frustration even when his fly ends up in the trees/weeds more often than not. At one point he was less than 20ft from rising trout, standing in the stream up to his thighs and couldn’t quite get his leader unfurled far enough to present the fly well enough. I tried to help as best I could but he knew he just needed to practice and was content trying his best until the moment was over.

New Caddis Larva Pattern Tied by The W.F.F.I worked around Joel and managed to take a few risers, felt nice to finally get one of these fish to hand using this pattern. Although small there is something about catching these fish feeding in a frenzy on such a small imitation. Joel and I even caught creek chubs rising to eat the Trico’s. At 9:00am everything stopped almost immediately, no rising fish but still a cloud of Trico’s all around. We waited to see if the spinner fall would begin but after thirty minutes and burning daylight we pushed on to a second spot on the same stream. Unfortunately we found almost Trout Stream w/ Habitat Improvementno life other than a small Brook trout I nymphed up with a new caddisfly pattern and creek chubs. Water temp at 10:30 explained it all, pushing 66-68 degrees, I can only imagine that the trout were either concentrated in the deepest of holes or had moved downstream to colder water. At 11am Joel and I pressed on to a stream that I felt provided the best opportunity to take trout on hopper patterns. The section flowed through a cow pasture that was downstream from the source of the small creek, pouring out cold 51 degree water. Cow pastures and grasshoppers go hand in hand, combine that with the water temp being ideal for active trout at mid-day with the sun beating down and your in business. The second we got to the stream we knew we had picked the right spot.

Joel with a Brown TroutJoel and I set ourselves up with Hoppicators with trailing nymphs, I chose a Sparkle Larvae and Joel a Caddis nymph. I have walked this section of stream a few times before but had been unable to stop and fish it. I picked a run that I had previously spied a very nice sized brown hunkered down the last time I had been here. After getting used to the current and setting the right depth the Sparkle Larvae took a smaller brown and soon I was back at it. Second pass through and I felt a nice tug and soon my fly was heading deep, I tried to turn the fish but unable to do so soon enough resulted with the fish pulling me under old habitat improvement and soon I knew he had wrapped my line around something. I was forced to break my flies off and start again.

Trout Stream SourceWe worked upstream to where I wanted to relax and eat a bit of lunch before fishing our way downstream and out for the day. On the way I plopped my hopper pattern just outside of a deep run located next to habitat improvement and watched as a brightly colored brown shot like a rocket to my fly, hook set and soon it was hopper time. I took one more in a similar situation on the next run while Joel nymphed up a few downstream of me. We arrived at the source and took a water temp of 51 degrees. I managed to get a nice strike from a brookie on my hopper pattern in the hole caused by the pouring of water from the rock wall, very cool but I lost the fish before I was able to get a good look at it. We took a few pictures and smiled, this is one of the best places in Minnesota to be for sure. We worked our way downstream and out heading home at 2:30pm. All goals met for the day, very nice.

Brown Trout

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Early AM DimpleSunrise in Mid-Stream

#22 Trico tied by The Winona Fly FactoryStarted the day early, waking to coffee during the pre-dawn hours preparing to take on the day and hopefully a few trout on dry flies. As it were it was not to be this day. Think of three points A. The house, B. The Spot for the Day and C. Trico Possibility. C was smack between A and B so I pulled over and watched the water for ten minutes drinking my coffee. I spied enough rising fish to make me think it was worth the effort, 6ft tall weeds soaking in morning dew made for a very wet fly factory. I knew the difficulty based on the stretch of water, slow, very slow. No virtually still, especially in the early hours of dawn. I rigged a long leader and a bit of 7x tippet for my trico attempt and then waited for the sipping to begin, it never really did. I put the fly on several risers and struck out every time, my casts were alright but I’m sure I could have landed the fly a bit gentler a few times. After close to an hour I picked up and left for point B.

I love this picture.

Excellent View! Erosion at work.Point B was beautiful, I love being here. The water was stained upon arrival but in the distance upstream I saw a few dimples so I left the Trico on for the time being. I tossed it a few more times to risers but nothing again. Second stream with little to no rising fish, I was beginning to question why I got up so early just to walk around in the water when I thought I was rather fortunate to get the opportunity to try, to just have the opportunity to attempt a difficult task. I’m hoping before the season ends I can take a few trout on a trico pattern but first I’ll have to find a few hatching. Check out Wendy B.’s recent trico outing, great pictures.

I put the Trico pattern away and busted out a Bead-Head Caddis Pupa pattern and a Sparkle Larvae and expected to do fairly well. I missed my fair share of takes and landed a few fish. After my recent strikeout I was looking forward to seeing any, even the smallest of trout so that was good. The sun was quickly warming everything up as the morning hours faded. The Caddis Pupa and the Sparkle Larvae were each taking fish, almost every other strike from about 9am until 11am then everything slowed way down. I nymphed my way far upstream and spent more time hiking than Brown on the Pupacasting but I had the opportunity to be here at this time and wanted to make the most of it. I put my fly places that I have previously encountered trout of the Brown kind but today was different. Chub, chub, chub. Chub. Chub. Chub. My thought here is that at a certain point the trout were holding deep and were not feeding as actively due to warmer water temps and the chubs were taking advantage of the situation. Honestly, I didn’t put two and two together regarding the water temp and lack of activity until I was driving home realizing that I never took a water temp later after 11am, bummer.

Brown Trout.

Double Chub Rig...I took a few more chubs heading back to the truck and lost out on two decent brownies with poor hook sets after I switched over to the SMB for the last leg out. Notables include: While casting today I saw rustling from the stream side veg, expecting an otter/beaver I waited and watched as huge snapping turtle walked out. He looked at me and jumped right into the stream. Very cool. I was scared shitless by gun fire less than 200 yards from my put in. I stopped fishing a bit early and carefully approached the bridge I needed to cross to get to my truck finding three kids (under 18) shooting a variety of weapons at beer cans. I heard shotguns, rifles and I think a handgun. I was uncomfortable and wanted out of there, I announced my presence and desire to ascend to my vehicle. I rarely hear gun fire while fishing. On a lighter note I felt my casting was great today. I didn’t have to pull flies from weeds or trees but once or twice and I didn’t get the nymph rig knotted up at all. I concentrated on my roll cast almost 100% while fishing the nymph rig today and I was getting good close to the end. All in all a slow day for fishing but an excellent day to hike around a driftless area valley.

Rainfall between 6am and 2pm.Fished early this morning attempting to find Trico’s hatching. Water temp was 56 degrees upon arrival and the stream was tea colored making for good conditions but no real hatch to speak of. I saw a rising trout and put a Trico pattern on it for a strike but a miss on the hook set. I was hoping for more from the trico’s but no luck so I swapped for a nymph rig. Caddis and Sparkle Larva on my line makes for a deadly fly factory.

I left the camera battery at home which may have been a blessing in surprise as the rain began at alittle before 9am and did not let up, I can see myself getting it soaked. I fished with my soon to be brother-in-law this morning who has only fly fished for trout once before. He did well and I only had to tie a few knots, for the most part Joel was on his own. The rain let up and the sparkle larvae out fished the caddis larva five to one. I took seven trout from a single run of twenty feet, that was sweet. I’m catching fish after fish and I look over and Joel has a fish on, and what a fish! He took the size prize landing a 15in brown for his second trout for the day. We left at noon walking out in the mud and rain, I loved it. The streams need the water, so does my garden. At home I checked the rain gauge at 6am when I left the house, nothing. By 2pm we’ve had more than a half an inch of rain which is more precipitation than we’ve had since I started taking daily measurements on July 1st. I will have to swing by my CSMP site tomorrow.

The Tiny Trico

August 3, 2009

Front ViewWhile out of town recently I visited a few fly shops in West Virgina and Pennsylvania, unfortunately my time was limited and I was unable to fish except for the last day, to my disappointment it rained pretty solid the three days prior causing the stream I planned to fish to become un-fishable. Every fly shop I visited had very nice staff and in particular a man by the name of Larry took the time to show me how he ties his Trico spinner.

Trico's #24

Tiny Trico tied by The Winona Fly FactoryFairly simple tie here were it not for the #24 hook. The process begins with the hook and the 10/0 black thread that is very, very thin. The body of the fly is just wrapped thread enough to coat the hook once on the way to the bend and once back to the eye. Gather two CDC feathers of equal size and spin a small amount of Wing N’ Flash in your fingers. Place the small amount of Wing N’ Flash between each CDC feather making sure to line the tips of the feathers. Wrap with two loose wraps around the CDC and Wing N’ Flash then pull the two feathers out until the smallest amount of stem is in the wing. Wrap a thorax of counter wrapping figure eight thread wraps and whip finish behind the wing to keep from crowding the hook eye, at this size it is imperative. Pinch the two wings together forward and clip to the correct size. No tail on this fly, I think it best fished in the film just a bit.

A very good source swears that the Trico in S.E. Minnesota is a size #24 and no larger. I have attempted to tie the best Trico’s I can in order to take a few “sipping” trout in the coming weeks. I will be bringing my scissors just in case I need to shorten the wing or thin it out. Trico time is going to be early in the morning but this season the weather has been a bit cooler than usual and I am thinking the best time to be rigged and standing in water is going to be 7:00am. That might be a bit early due to the cooler weather but as a general rule this hatch is early around here, might even want to get there at 6:30am just because its better to have more time on the water. Enjoy the fact that you will be unlikely to find another soul on the water and if you do, holler at them, you definitely have something excellent in common.

Daiichi 1110 #24 Hook UsedThread UsedWing N' Flash (Ice Blue)White CDC

Jan. 18th The Return

January 19, 2009

On the 17th we hit the spot, midge were emerging and the trout we found were in consistent feeding patterns. We decided to go back and pull another fish or two from the depths. My main reason/goal was to use what I witnessed the day before to test my abilities. We picked up James and hit the stream, I have to admit I had alot of fun fishing with two other like minded anglers. At one point the three of us were all casting to fish within a fourty foot section of stream and all catching fish. Casting to the Trout Photo By Heath Sershen

I fished my PT nymph with a Black Midge Larvae trailer again and due to the midge activity it worked out rather well. I left the split shot off again noticing that the fish were striking close to or on the surface. I made two casts and pulled a nice rainbow from the stream, I managed to do this before James could even get to the stream. Heath snapped a good photo and we let the fish calm for a few minutes. I returned with the same approach only this time I was deliberatly casting to one fish, the big one in the pool. I managed to make several decent attempts presenting my fly and with a bit of patience watching both the fish, and my line at the point where it entered the water I set the hook on a larger trout. The colors were excellent and I was very excited, this was a bigger fish for sure. W.F.F. Caught TroutUnfortunatly I learned the hard way to relax and give the fish some space, after pushing the fish perhaps too hard he broke my midge off and gave me the fin. Oh well, learn from your mistakes.

W.F.F. Catching Winter Trout

James working his DryThe goal for Heath was to get a shot of a fish caught on a dry fly. James promptly stepped up to the challenge, he fished a size #20 Hi-Vis Trico pattern and after a bit was getting strikes. He caught a smaller one and Heath caught one so we let the fish relax again, pleased we hadn’t put the fish down. I kept seeing a rising fish hit the same spot over and over again every minute or so, I put James on it. A few moments later we heard a big splash and sure enough James had a fish on that #20 Trico and it would turn out to be the same fish that took my midge which was awesome because we got to see it out of the water, what a beautiful fish. With that we sent it swimming and decided to find a new stream to explore.#20 Trico, Beautiful Rainbow Photo by Heath Sershen. Caught by James

This first stream was a test to examine the fish and their behavior and modify my presentation to maximize my time on the water and it worked, this is trout hunting. I did pull one more small one from the stream before we left to new water. We hit bigger water and chucked streamers, I’m not the best at this and didn’t catch any fish but I got to see new water which I will return to another day. All in all I had a blast fishing with good company. I got to ask quite a few questions and received great advice and opinions, sometimes it great to fish with others.

   Net-Extension for the Steep BanksWater FallingSershen Chucking StreamersThe Boys