- Stream Location: MN Driftless
- Air Temperature: 20 °F
- Water Temperature: 40 °F
- Distance Snowshoed: 3.25 miles
- What Worked Best: Dead drifting nymphs
After having to cut the day short on January 1st, there was no question where I’d be going on January 2nd. I got an early start and targeted two different streams for the day. First, I wanted to pick up where I left off which was the stream that I can still so clearly hear, “Snap!”.
There was no way I was going to let that perfect hole go unfished and there was still a lot of that stream that I needed to explore. After selecting my fly and fixing my tippet, I strapped on my snowshoes and made a beeline for you know where. I meandered my way through the fallen trees and carefully avoided the slippery log. Once arriving to the hole, I noted the many obstacles both around and above that would inhibit my cast. Taking that into consideration, I shortened my flip cast but still giving it enough power to send it into the lane I was targeting. Just as anticipated, this produced the first trout of the day on the first cast of the day. Almost on consecutive casts, I landed another couple trout out of this perfect hole. There was a lot of stream to cover today, so it was time to move on.
I’m really impressed with this stream. It’s got a solid flow, good runs, riffles, and deep pools. It should be a strong performer during all four seasons. I had some more luck in the holes upstream and decided it was time for a coffee break. This picture to the right really captures the winter Driftless Area fly fishing experience – open stream, fly rod, coffee, and snowshoeing. It’s stuff like this that truly makes me feel wealthy beyond measure.
It was about 1:00 PM, so I packed up and moved onto stream #2. This one was narrower and colder. It had a solid flow and good runs, but I believe most of the trout moved from this tributary to the main stream during winter. There just wasn’t enough of the deeper pools to justify holding a decent number of trout. No doubt though, this one will be a regular season producer.
The highlight of this stream was seeing two trout rising to midges. Yes, trout rising on January 2nd. It’s a beautiful thing; I could sit here and watch them keep picking the midges off all day. Midges are one insect that hatches year-round. If you’re out fishing during the winter, often you will see them crawling on the snow.
I continued snowshoeing upstream so I could get a good feel for the stream and then retreated back to the car. Broke down my rod, packed up my stuff, and hit the road. A nice, long drive back home reflecting on another winter day well spent along the Driftless Area streams.
– Spirit Streams