Monday, July 15, 2013

Why a person might fish for trout:

(1)    They are in the backyard.
(2)    There are very many trout around.
(3)    Relatively easy to catch.
(4)    Good exercise and fresh air.
(5)    Trout streams of SE MN typically provide some sense of wildness and adventure.
(6)    Nymphing is soothing methodology, somewhat difficult to do well, and very pleasing in nature.
(7)    If you go to the right places and do the right things, you will catch trout (compare/contrast with carping).
(8)    While trout rarely require a reel of any sort, they can, if approached with the right gear, demand some technical skill at some points in the duration of a duel.
(9)    They are good to eat and can be prepared in various fashions.
(10) Relative to other food options, stream trout by all accounts provide a roughly-as-good-as-it-gets-purity.
(11) While there are no set rules for it, sensible harvest can provide multiple benefits.  Some anglers mistakenly assume that if a slot limit is good for the fishery, catch-and-release must be even better. The reality, says DNR's Vaughn Snook, is that anglers would be helping to improve the size structure of trout populations if they harvested fish under 12 inches.  – DNR Conservation Volunteer
(12) One could conceivably characterize harvest of RBT and BNT as invasive species control.
Report: July 14, 2013, fished 0730 – 1030
My home is very near the headwaters for three different major watersheds: Zumbro, Whitewater and Root systems.  Within about 20-25 minutes I can be on the headwaters of any of them.  In a rare last minute switch, I opted out of the two that I usually hit and went to the third…      backyard water.  No day trip needed.  Generally speaking the only difficulty in trout fishing SE MN right now is in the ambient condition one faces…  i.e. the streamside veg and the heat.  If you set up to endure these, you will be fine.  Wet wading is advised.  And accept the fact that you will be in many cases constrained to stay in the water, including during your walk-out route (unless you like bunching up parsnip and nettles in your crotch [kind of like a combine action]). 
(1)    Gear used: 2 wt Sage SPL, a legacy rod meaning it’s passed through some great hands to mine.  Tandem nymphing with an indicator.  The lead nymph was a LOD that was tied with a hook that is not sufficient for applications in carping. 
(2)    Significant rain in area, but it was focused west of here.  Water was slightly turbid, advantage angler, really. 
(3)    This stream is a great example, in my opinion, of lower fish IBI paired with larger size class trout.  Meaning depending on what you are looking for in your trout fishing…   you cannot simply go to the “best” and most classic fisheries.  A perfect IBI score would be given to a stream full of small BNT and sculpin. 
(4)    Fish came right away, many in the 11-13 inch range.  This felt good to me.  Can’t say how many fish I caught but this is my estimate: creek chubs (10-12), brown trout (20-25), rainbow trout (1), smallmouth bass (1).  I used a hybrid approach meaning stripping and dead drifting, and twitching on the latter.  For this I like to put a big nymph or small streamer in the lead and then maybe a smaller #16 trailer.  Can then quickly put the indicator on if depth regulation is required for dead drift…    or take it off for casting in slower water and stripping back.  On this day the fish were not responding to stripped flies in the dead water.  I didn’t spook any out of those reaches which leads me to believe they were simply not in that water.  The holes produced the fish.  Getting down was required.  Iterative approach with split shot and moving indicator.
(5)    Remarkable number of fish in low to mid teens.  Enough that I kept a couple.  These are the exact lengths and weights (after evisceration) of the fish I kept: 11inch BNT (7.0 ounces), 13 inch BNT (11.0 ounces), 15 inch RBT (17.0 ounces), 11 inch BNT (7.0 ounces), 14 inch BNT (14.0 ounces).  That is 56 ounces total, or 3.5 lbs.  I do not need an economic angle but we and many are trained to examine it; so, for reference, the local grocery store charges $12/lb for living RBT from a farm in Stockton MN.  That weight is whole-fish, no eviscerated.  So to compare I need to add the guts back into this creel…   guessing 20% addition.  Meaning 4.2 lbs would be the grocery store purchase, which would cost $50.40.  Call it a $50 harvest; this may have application in discussion regarding time spent, gear purchased, etc.  Also of note is the mass of the bigger fish more than doubling those of the 11 inchers.
(6)    The RBT was hooked at the red dot in the photo.  This was accomplished after pulling a number of fish out of that nice neck of water.  I don’t see too many RBT because I don’t fish their water much.  This fish leapt clear of the water twice, and on the third instance of note it tail-walked for 4-6 feet and then shot straight ahead as missile.  There was woody debris in play; some care was required.  In the end the fish succumbed. 
(7)    Tandem nymphing will produce “doubles” – meaning “solo doubles” – meaning a guy will hook two fish at once.  This has happened maybe ~6 times over the years for me; the most notable was a BNT and RBT some years ago; two species.  On this day, three doubles came to hand, none of which I’d logged before: BNT and SMB, chub and chub, BNT and chub.  Three drifts, six fish, none of which were kept.  Add that to the five in the creel and the countless fish released…  and estimate of fish total is reasonable.


Blogger John Montana said...

Good stuff!

4:27 PM  
Anonymous PF said...

Dear Mr.Berrell, having fished under your gentle and gracious tutelage and experienced your "easy" trout, let me kindly say with love, "I hate your guts!"
I refer you to my last post regarding my brown trout. Your pal PF

10:39 AM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Read that post and appreciated it,

After further deliberation I am revising my harvest approach. Going back to the old way of keeping 11-12 inchers whenever possible. I looked at some data. Reminder that those 14-15 inch fish are not always plentiful. There may be room for exceptions, applying best judgment.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Willy A said...

Thanks for the Blog, great read! I'm vey, very new to fly fishing and we're making our way to Whitewater State Park for the long weekend. Any tips you can share (especially on what kind of fly to use)?? Thank you!!!

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