The past week has been filled with excellent weather for just about any outdoor activity. All rivers, and creeks appear to be clear and around average levels creating great fishing conditions for a variety of fish and anglers, there are many places to fish, yet so little time. Where to start? Stop by the shop! We will point you in the right direction.
The state parks as always will have catch and release trout fishing until the season opens back up next year. If you are searching for a different kind of trout fishing opportunity, Iowa supports trout fishing on their creaks year round. A temporary Iowa fishing license is inexpensive and will open up new creeks you may have never known existed.
Many of the local creeks and rivers in the South-East Minnesota area that are not designated trout water harbour fast and aggressive smallmouth bass. Whether you catch 30 little ones or 3 big ones the style of fishing is different from the more delicate ways of trout fishing and either something new to learn, or something to give variety to those burnt out from a bountiful trout season. A strong five weight flyrod up to a fiberglass six weight are the perfect tools for the job. If you are unsure of what fly to start with, most any bass will take a white Clouser.
I fished a local non designated creek last weekend and will post some of the pictures below. This creek had some of the most spectacular bluffs I have seen in this area. These little guys were a lot of fun, but next time I'll have to slow down and try for the bigger ones.
Today brought the end to Minnesota's regular catch & release trout season but don't fret, trout fishing remains open on waters within the area's State Park and Fall can be an excellent time to fly fish for Smallmouth! The last few days were often wet, dreary and cool but the streamer action was red hot. It was a phenomenal way to bring the season to a close. Be sure to stop in at the Driftless Fly Fishing Company fly shop in Preston, MN to replace that older worn out gear, upgrade that fly rod, restock the fly box or it's never too early to start Christmas shopping! How about a gift certificate for a guided fly fishing trip for someone special ..... or maybe just treat yourself :-)
The end of the catch and release trout season is near, however the end of fishing is far from over. Smallies and State Park trout will be more than willing to steal a few of your flies on many of the local rivers and in the State Parks for trout. Big flies for big small mouth are a great way to practice your cast on some of the more pleasant late fall days this year. On the off chance that you miss the sounds of the calmer streamside fishing, catch and release trout fishing will continue for state parks Beaver Creek, Whitewater and Forestville.
The cooler temps of late along with normal stream flows and fishable water clarity has made for some incredible trout fishing here in the heart of the Minnesota Driftless Area. Throwing large streamer, Leech and Wooly Bugger patterns have remained the key to success in landing bigger Browns. This time of year, during the pre-spawn / spawn timeframe, the larger breeding trout are on the move and feeding aggressively so they can enter into this period in peak form. This increased health and weight will also serve them well in the coming cold, winter months. The catch & release season closes here 10/15 but will remain open in the area's State Parks so take advantage of this great opportunity, enjoy the beautiful Fall weather and seek out your own trophy fish here in SE Minnesota!
- My streamer box is either half empty or bursting to the brim lately. While occasionally I can blame the teeth of an aggressive trout for a few of the flies, sadly trees rocks and bushes make up for most of the other flies that have gone missing over the past few days. Thus is the life of a streamer in the fall, low and bouncing in-between boulders or mere inches from grass and roots. As expected on much cloudier days I am allowed more room for error, and more strikes seem to be common place.
The root river below Lanesboro is now clear enough to fish, however wading is restricted still as the water level is quite high. Further up in the branches of the Root River wading is possible however canoe or kayak may be a more effective method. Be sure to prepare for any boating trips and check the water before hand to make sure for yourself that it is indeed at a safe level. Ever since the recent flood, blockages around narrow sections of any part of the rivers are possible and can be hazardous.
Many creeks in the south-eastern Minnesota region are not only fishable, they are a wonderful seasonal sight with fall color burning bright in most trees, and cold clear water cooling off the scene allowing for an amazing view from almost anywhere on any creek. Simply look around you as you are fishing to remember why we are all here fishing in the first place.
Melvin Hayner is the owner of The Driftless Fly Fishing Company in Preston, Mn. He has been fishing this area for over 23 years and guiding here for over a decade. Some reports will be from other reliable sources around the Driftless area. Thanks guys.