Clover Spying the Trout I caught. (Can't see the fish in the photo, I tried though)I agreed to watch my neice Chloe yesterday and with the nice weather I decided that we needed to get out of the house for an hour or two. Being realistic with my expectaions I picked a place that was easy to traverse, close to a public restroom and a park so we could play around for a bit should she decide that staying in the pack was not what she wanted to do. We arrived and I rigged my rod with a Caddis larva and a Pink Patrick prior to getting the little one out of the car seat and into the pack. I was smart to think that once in the pack she would not want to sit still so I prepared everything I needed prior to getting her out of the car. In the pack we quickly set off, I brought the rod but really didn’t think I would be fishing that much.

Trout StreamWe hiked downstream walking near the stream and listening to the flowing water. Clover did well in the pack and we hiked downstream to the spot I wanted to attempt to take a few fish quickly with the random noise, burp or giggle coming from the fifteen month old along the way. With Chloe on my back I started swinging my nymph rig careful to keep the hooks in the water, the Pink Patrick immediatly took a smaller brown trout and as the fish jumped I heard laughter from behind me. I landed the fish showing the Clover what I had caught, her first trout.

I took another fish and sure enough as the splashing started I heard happy noises from behind me. I managed to nymph up a nicer brown but it released itself from my barbless hook before I could get a photo of it. We moved upstream and Chloe began to squirm a bit but as I began to hike she passed out taking her nap on my back. With the little one asleep I was free to swing at a few more fish and I took the opportunity. The Pink Patrick nymphed up two smaller browns and a brookie that I lost before it came to hand.  I fished for a bit longer and then I woke Chloe to play in the park before leaving. Fun to show fly fishing to the youth, probably more fun for me at this age but fun just the same.

Tomorrow I will be seeing for the first time what a section of stream that I drive by on occasion holds between its banks, this is private land and I’ve been thinking about calling this guy for a while now. I finally did and the landowner on the other end was more than willing to allow me access to his property and the stream, he gave me a place to park and granted access from two points on his property. I asked for his name and if he would be around tomorrow so I could introduce myself and meet him in person.

Private Section of Stream

Trout StreamI stopped by the bridge just upstream of the water I was granted access to and took a water temp and samples from the riffle to give me an idea of what I might find tomorrow. First thing I noticed was a lack of any Mayfly nymphs other than Ephemerella Rotunda/Invaria, I might find some hatching Light Hendricksons tomorrow. I caught my first Caddisfly pupa today, looked exactly like some of the pictures I’ve seen, pretty interesting, other than that the riffle contents were to be expected mostly free-living caddis larva, scuds, and the Ephemerella nymphs. The water temp was kind of interesting, only 54 degrees at noon over my lunch, on most other streams the temp would be in the higher 50’s. It might take this stream longer to warm, might find bugs hatching a little later tomorrow than I’ve been seeing.

Ephemerella Invaria Caddis PupaCaddis Larva

I need to continue to work on these situations, there is plenty of water even closer to my doorstep to fish if I can continue to build relationships with landowners. I have two other streams that I have been granted access by landowners but I have yet to fish in those locations, tomorrow will be the 1st private section of Southeast Minnesota trout streams I’ve fished. Wish me luck, if it is as good as I’m hoping it might be I will have a wonderful new place to visit close to home and if it turns out to be a bust then at least I won’t wonder about it every time I drive by.

Now when I say warmer water I’m specifically looking to the water temps between 44 degrees and 50 degrees. These water temps should, in the next month, start kicking off BWO hatches along with continued Midge hatches. Working to prepare for this situation I’ve tied two patterns that should help me. 

Jujubee Midge Adult  (Charlie’s Fly Box)

Jujubee Midge Adult tied by The W.F.F.

I tied these on a size 20 hook and I’m hoping they will provide me with a dry/emerger fly option for fishing the midge hatches that I’ve seen over the last month or so. Sparse was the key here, I’m excited to fish this pattern.

CDC BWO Emerger (Flytiers)

CDC BWO Emerger tied by The W.F.F.

This CDC BWO Emerger was tied on a size 16 hook, I used antron dubbing for both the body and the head, if you get a chance to pick up an Antron dubbing dispenser I highly recommend it. Hopefully I will be fishing these in the next month or so. Click the name of each fly to find the recipe from the prospective sites I used to model my flies from.

More About Art Lohman

January 2, 2009

Art Lohman's Fly Tying Box

The recent discussion regarding Art Lohman has proven very fruitful as I have found someone who knew Art personally and even fished with the man. Tom Dornack of the Hiawatha Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Minnesota had these things to say of Mr. Lohman.

“I knew Art Lohman very well,I fished with him quite often. Art was from Austin, MN and was employed as a supervisor at Hormel for years until he hurt his back and retired in the early 70’s. 

I knew Art and a few of his friends had built a cabin just on the edge of Forestville State Park on North Branch Creek/Forestville Creek in the late 60’s. That is where his reputation as a conservationist/fly fisherman began to grow. 

Then a few years later he built his own cabin on Trout Run Creek that is where I met him. 

At the time I was just getting into fly fishing for trout and Trout Run Creek was only a few miles from my future wife’s parents home. Since I love to fish, I fished TR often, sometimes as much as three or four times a week. Being NEW to fly fishing for trout I had ALOT to learn. 

It seemed I always ran into Art out fishing when I was out on the stream at the same time. Soon a friendship developed and he became my fly fishing mentor. Art was one for teaching his fly fishing pupils ( he taught MANY to fly fish) that it is best to learn everything for oneself and not have every bit of info handed to you on a platter. He would always suggest good instructional fly fishing books to read or give you some insight into what inverts were hatching that the trout were taking. He might even give you alittle casting instruction but if you wanted to become a good fly fisherman in his eyes, you had to pay your dues and put in the time to learn the ropes for yourself. I believe Art taught people to learn to find the answers for themselves because those who really wanted to become good fly fisherman would be sorted out quickly from those who just wanted some half hearted fishing experience just like some passing fad!

Art was successful in teaching a number of anglers to fly fish who eventually became leaders in Trout Unlimited and formed the Hiawatha Chapter of TU (the Rochester chapter), this included myself. 

Regarding Art’s influence on stream restoration, he was always tinkering adding some little bit of extra trout cover/habitat to HIS stream. (that being Trout Run) He would always get permission from the DNR to install some trout cover structure and every once in awhile you would see some new trout structure he installed. Of course, when you fished the new cover it always held trout. Art basically is responsible for me becoming the Hiawatha & MNTU State Council Habitat Restoration Coordinator which is a position I have held since 1981. To date MNTU/HTU and our partners(including MN DNR) have completed over 8 miles of stream restoration work in SE MN alone. Without Art’s influence I doubt that would have ever happened.

Art, was also huge on C&Ring trout and let his students know he wouldn’t help them become better anglers if they were going to kill trout all the time! Art, very rarely ever kept trout unless they were hatchery fish. Indirectly he is responsible for all the trout regulation changes in SE MN too. The same anglers he taught how to fly fish and conservation ethics, later became the TU leaders who were able to work with the MN DNR to see new conservation minded trout regulations implemented.

I could go on forever talking about Art Lohman. In my life I have met few people who were more dedicated to being a true conservationist than Art. In my opinion Art is one of best fly fisherman/fly tyers I have had ever known and I have met some of the best believe me!

Regarding the fly tying box you received for XMAS, Art made at least 26 of them because I have #26. 

I don’t even think Art Lohman knew before his death a few years ago how much he directly or indirectly contributed to all the wondeful changes that have benefited our SE MN trout resources over the last dozen years or so!

The guy was a “TOP NOTCH PERSON”, they don’t get any better than ART!!”                                                                                                                                                   – Tom Dornack

 

He might even give you alittle casting instruction but if you wanted to become a good fly fisherman in his eyes, you had to pay your dues and put in the time to learn the ropes for yourself. I believe Art taught people to learn to find the answers for themselves because those who really wanted to become good fly fisherman would be sorted out quickly from those who just wanted some half hearted fishing experience just like some passing fad!

This line struck me hard. I hope that if I met Art that he would find me worthy of his box and his time. I agree with having to put your dues in, thats half the fun. If trout hunting in S.E. Minnesota was easy I wouldn’t find it appealing or interesting. Thank you Tom for posting your information and allowing me to reproduce it here. I am still looking for a photograph of Art, anyone who may come across this that has one please let me know.

Caddis Fly Entomology Pt. 3

December 8, 2008

Continuing the Caddis fly research for next season here is the next part of the series. I’m trying to keep things short and relevant I apologize for excess “fluff.” I would like to really point out what a resource Troutnut.com is, although most of you know that. 

 

The Summer Caddisflies pt.1 

Little Black Sedge (Chimarra aterrima) 16-18

  • Adult Length: up to 8mm
  • Wing: “Velvety” Black
  • Body: Very dark Brown
  • Legs: Brown
  • Emergence from May-Late June

Chimerra Larva

From the family Philopotamidae the Chimarra aterrima is a net spinning caddis and will look very similar to other free-living caddis fly larva but the picture on troutnut.com is of a yellow larva, I have not seen a yellow larva. They will live typically under rocks filtering food from the flowing current, they will emerge in typical fashion i.e. crawl out or swim to the top. The adults of this species dive to lay there eggs. I make this point because some of LaFontaine’s work and patterns take this fact into account. Note: Interesting point the book Caddisflies states “They share a particular rock with net makers of other families; Hydropsychidae larvae taking the exposed surface and the Philopotamidae larvae taking the protected pockets. pg. 292”  

 

American Grannom (Brachycentrus americanus) 12-14

  • Adult Length: up to 13mm
  • Wing: Almost White-Greenish Brown?
  • Body: Bright Green-Greenish Brown
  • Legs: Brown-Black
  • Emergence from May-June

American Grannom Larva

This is a tube-making caddis fly from the Brachycentridae family, one thing to point out right away is it has a distinct sharp square form to the shell with almost right angles, this is important when narrowing down the options in the field. These pupa do not swim to shore just to the surface of open water to emerge and they inhabit faster water being able to cling to the open surface of the rocks. This species uses an “Anchor” line of silk to catch them should they come loose from the rock. The book points to the fact that some fly fishermen have been known to color their tippet white with a marker when fishing the larval imitations. I don’t know if I think this is necessary but it might help. 

 

Speckled Peter (Helicopsyche borealis) 16-20

  • Adult Length: up to 7mm
  • Wing: Light Brown with Dark Brown Speckles
  • Body: Pale to Straw Yellow
  • Legs: Straw Yellow
  • Emergence is from Late May-Early June (Shorter Period)

The Speckled Peter is the only caddis fly in it’s family (Helicopsychidae) of any importance to the fly fisherman. This is a tube making caddis but it is described as a “snail shell” building caddisfly, the shape is of a coil of small rocks. The larvae crawl around eating the algae and detritus off rocks. The pupa swim and emerge in open water. Apparently this species has an ability to survive harsh conditions which is why they are widespread and have important numbers. The larvae tend to inhabit moderate moving water. This caddis fly has a very wide range and has been found in almost every state.

 

Little Tan Short Horn Sedge (Glossosoma intermedium) 14-18

  • Adult Length: up to 10mm
  • Wing: Pale Tan-Medium Brown
  • Body: Greenish Brown
  • Legs: Brown Light-Dark
  • Emergence in Later May thru Early July

Little Tan Short Horn Sedge Larva

From the family Glossosomatidae this is a “saddle” making caddis fly. They build something that would be described as a turtle shell to live in while eating algae and such. Interesting that this genre can be broken into 6 major groups and then spaced cooler-warmer water with G. intermedium in the colder end. Of all the case makers these are the ones coming in last in class and are the most primitive. The larvae live entirly in the case and leave only to emerge or to build a new larger case, this is a point where they are vulnerable to trout. The larvae in the case are a pinkish color and I belive on one of my recent hunting events I found a rock covered with something very similar to this and photographed the larva as an orange/pink grub.

Trout Hunting

December 2, 2008

Thoughts:

Fly fishing for trout in Southeast, MN can be hunting, if you want it to be. I think about how one must be conscious of movement, location, relation to the prey. The fact that the nature of the skeptical trout constantly feeding makes the job of the fly fisherman challenging and exciting.

The spring creeks I visited this last summer made learning how to fly fish difficult at times. The tight proximity to trees, weeds, and any other object that might make a nice big back cast turn sour proved to be a great environment for me to learn.

Having to wade despite the obvious reasons not to, to present a fly to an unsuspecting fish less than fifteen feet away while standing in the water and still managing to fool it into the take. These are the things I think about when I remember my first summer of trout hunting. I enjoyed catching larger trout but found that even when I was in a place that only held eight inch trout I was pushed to learn a different skill or different approach. That is not to say you can’t find big open water, I just like the option to pick a challenge.

brown1

Fishing for trout on the fly is exciting and wonderfully peaceful. Hearing nothing but the sound of running water. Concentrating on nothing but the drift of your fly things like bills, work, back pain all seem to fade to a distant whisper. I always loved going to a new place, even if I didn’t catch anything I still had the journey of exploring around the next corner or in the next hole and since this was my first real season fly fishing in the driftless area there was a lot of new water to find. 

On a final note. I’ve learned more in the last six months than I ever thought possible. There is something about this that has fifty percent of my brain tuned in while the other half resumes mundane existence. At times I feel confident that I am using my time wisely and learning what I should in a way that applies to me, other times I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information I find and read. There can be alot to this if you want it to be, or you can be the guy who ties 10 patterns and fishes buggers the rest of the time. I guess for me this is more than a casual sport, this is life with my head stuck in the water.

The Parachute Hopper

November 24, 2008


Para-Hopper

The Parachute Hopper: 

  •  Hook #10-12 2xLong Dry Fly
  • Thread: Brown 6/0
  • Body: 1 1/2 in Light Yellow Polypropylene Floating Yarn
  • Wings: Mottled Turkey Feather
  • Legs: Turkey Feather Fibers Tied
  • Para-Post: Yellow Polypropylene Yarn
  • Hackle: Grizzly

I’m not very pleased with this fly and so I need to work on it. I had a rough time with the body and head. I wanted to use the floating yarn, a. because it floats, b. last longer than dubbing, c. it was on hand. I had problems after I tied in the legs and wings and then should have either tied in more yarn for another wrap in front of the para-post, or kept the 1st piece longer. I am going to look for some instructions and try try again. I’ll post the progress of course, it will get better.