- Stream Location: MN Driftless
- Air Temperature: 25 °F
- Water Temperature: 41 °F
- Other Conditions: Sunny/clear upon arrival, cloudy and slight wind later
- Distance Hiked: 3.25 miles
- What Worked Best: Double fly rigs/working streamers
I set out this morning wanting to target two streams, one of which I’ve never been to. After arriving at stream #1, I got out of the car and started scouting the stream before getting set up. This stream obviously had a much colder flow, noticing a lot of ice on the surface. Must not get a whole lot of pure spring creek flowage. It flows within a pasture and might be worth giving a try during the regular season. I hopped back in the car and set out for stream #2. As I was leaving this first stream, I noticed a ton of sheep on the hillside. Fishing in the Driftless almost always guarantees that you’ll be alongside numerous cattle or horses, but sheep would be a new experience; might have to give it a try just for that!
The second stream I chose was one I was familiar with from my later college years. This was a stream close to where I went to college and one of which I explored while learning to fly fish. I hardly ever see someone else on this stream, but I consider it a little gem. It certainly brings back a lot of memories.
By the time I got set up and hiked to the stream, it was around 10:45 AM. Just before my first cast, I saw a bald eagle flying overhead. This has almost become a common occurrence during each fishing trip over the past few months, but it still always feels like something brand new. I started out working my way downstream. The water levels appeared lower in most areas, but there was still the occasional deeper pool/run. I was fishing a double fly rig, where the dropper fly was positioned up the leader and the point fly was at the end of the leader. This gives trout more than one option and normally produces more action.
I covered a lot of ground downstream and only received a couple hits. It was pretty tough going and decided to change course halfway through the day. I hiked all the way back upstream and continued toward the headwaters. I knew there would be quite a few holes worth covering. Grabbed some coffee then hit one of these holes. While casting upstream, I was working the streamer a little different with each cast and targeting different lanes. A few casts into this hole, I received a strong, very positive strike. This one was a strong fighter and wasn’t giving up easy. After a good fight, it was landed. It almost had a golden hue to it; definitely much more pronounced than most and probably the picture doesn’t completely do it justice.
After releasing it, I continued upstream. Flipped my line in a small hole and almost magically a large trout appeared and just slammed my streamer. It still always amazes me where trout can be hiding and how they appear out of thin air to attack their prey. This one was thick and while holding it, I could feel is sagging at the back; no doubt a good eater.
A successful day.
– Spirit Streams