Wednesday, March 17, 2010

3-16-2010 Outing

Fished yesterday afternoon/evening for a couple of hours in La Crosse County after work. I didn't anticipate fishing and so didn't bring the camera along (again). I started out fishing nymphs under an indicator because that was how my rod was rigged up when I finished fishing on Saturday. I landed a number of small fish this way, and one 15-16" fish which looked very similar to the fish shown below that I landed on Saturday. Sorry for the rod/fish photo (unappealing, I know) but fishing alone stinks for photos.
I saw a handful of midges, but no fish rising. I also noted a couple of fairly large (#12-14) stoneflies in the air. After two fish came up and tried to eat my indicator I put the damn thing away. There is nothing like meticulously constructing flies and then having a fish try to eat your florescent bobber to make you wonder just who you are trying to impress. Taking the stoneflies in the air into account, and the attempts at my indicator, I put on a #12 caddis dry-fly and took a small fish on the first cast. Sweet. I fished that fly through a couple of runs without another strike and then switched over to streamers. I landed another 15-16" brown on a streamer and a handful of smaller fish.

In the last two outings to this little creek, I've landed almost exclusively fish under 10 inches, with three fish over 15 inches. There may be larger fish in this creek, but there seems to be a real lack of fish in the 10-15 inch range. The data shown below are quite dated, from Thorn and Anderson (1993, MNDNR Invst. Report 428) but still shows approximate length at age for brown trout from MN, Michigan, and the American West. You will have to add an inch or two to the fish I've been catching, since they are from Wisconsin and everything is a little bigger in Wisco. Am I right?
At any rate, a 15 inch brown will be starting its 5 or 6th year right now. -Which humbles me when I consider that this is a wild trout stream. These fish were born in this very stream 5 years ago, and have persisted through two incredible floods during their lifetime. I wonder if these floods did a number on the age 2-4 year old fish, as these fish would have been just born during the 2008 flood. I have yet to land a fish in this age-class in this stream. I suppose I'll have to keep fishing it to find out.

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