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Driftless Region Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

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Old 01-02-2017, 09:36 PM
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Default 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

Here we are... 2017. At least there's plenty of fishing to look forward to! Don't want to start a thread? Just want to post pictures? Feel free to do it all here.

Started off the new year meeting up with Steve aka unknownflyman on New Years Day and fishing a little gem of a creek. Recently had HI done to it, so we started there. I'm sure in the long run it'll be nice but it looked stripped and golf course-y. I enjoyed the stream when it looked a little rugged and required a good cast. We caught a few trout but really wanted to fish the stuff we both enjoyed about it this stream prior to the improvements. Overall the day was good. Midge hatching lightly with a few risers. Took trout on a variety of steamers and nymphs. Nothing too much on the size but the numbers were there. Come 3:30-4 the action came to a halt.

First fish of 2017!
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Steve landing a trout in his new sexy fishpond brookie net
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Today I got out again. Snow and rain in the forecast but with warmer than average temps in the forecast, that's all that mattered. Trout were eager to take an orange hare's ear variant I've dubbed the "trout carrot" which was trailed by a variety of midge nymphs throughout the day. Also took a few on the simi seal leech. Snowed a little bit but once it turned to pouring rain it was time to call it a day.

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Old 01-02-2017, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

Beautiful brookies, nice start to the year!
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

Very nice day. Your photography just keeps getting better. The 2017 thread is a great idea Eric.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

Great pics. I wish they'd put a moratorium on habitat improvement. There's enough 'improved' water out there already.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

Talk about not seeing the forest through the trees. Instead of all this woody debris and hard armor approach (which does lend itself the golf course design....but it does hold), why is there not more of a soft armor, bank sloping and stabilization approach? Erosion and ag. chemicals are the largest threat to southeast Mn streams. Unfortunately, I don't see big ag. or the future government of this country holding back on that front, but the erosion control is an area that can be addressed.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheflymn View Post
Talk about not seeing the forest through the trees. Instead of all this woody debris and hard armor approach (which does lend itself the golf course design....but it does hold), why is there not more of a soft armor, bank sloping and stabilization approach? Erosion and ag. chemicals are the largest threat to southeast Mn streams. Unfortunately, I don't see big ag. or the future government of this country holding back on that front, but the erosion control is an area that can be addressed.
I'm actually concerned about the work done on this particular stream. I talked with one of the guys that owns the land/did the HI. Same folks that did CSB. I heard CSB's recent HI was pretty much wiped after the first flood event. It's a lot of sloping and soft armor. Logs used to stabilize the eroded banks. With some hard armor as well. Some holes looked like they didn't know what to do with all the logs they brought and just filled runs with them. I think sometimes they refer to this as making the stream "more technical" aka can't drift anything through it without snagging, wait till they're rising, dry fly water. One good flood and a lot of this work will be down stream.
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Old 01-03-2017, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

Lasting erosion control is no small task. Considerable money was spent on hard bank improvements during the last FED stimulus program. I can't say it doesn't hold at all, but it is far from a once and done proposition. Without expensive maintenance, a new problem appears a few hundred feet away the next time it rains 5-7. On some Iowa streams they have stopping planting crops nearly so close to the creek, and limit cattle access. It clearly helps. They were probably compensated but I am just guessing.

And we probably need a different thread for this conversation, or this one will lose it's purpose fast.
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Old 01-03-2017, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

I guess the thing I noticed was the improved water quality and seeing huge numbers of Brook trout, they would come through like salmon runs.

Met the landowner, came out to see us on a snowmobile very nice guy and seemed glad people were enjoying the river.

They spent a ton of money and in the long run I think it's going to pay off but right now yeah it's a golf course. Lots of trees planted and more on the way, it will be gorgeous in five years onward but I missed what I fished last winter and that steelhead size brookie that hit my fly in an area that was now gone.


The charm returned going up river into the woods, caught my biggest Brookies up there. It was cold but good to be out with Eric doing what we love.

Seen really big Brook trout but in the gin clear water out in the open I'd make a delicate cast on my 3 wt and see two hundred trout scatter in all directions. When I was swinging streamers and wets where fish had more cover and woods above the fish were far less spooky.

It was good, I don't fish smaller water much and it was very enjoyable. Yes I had to use my new net once even if I didn't have to.
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Old 01-03-2017, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

Good to see others out enjoying the great weather! I fished Sunday and Monday. Sunday was ok. A buddy and I hiked and fished a long stretch of a stream near my house. We landed around a dozen between the two of us with only one decent fish (14 inches).
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On Monday I got out solo and fished a smaller stream that has great numbers of brookies with some decent browns mixed in.
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On both days midges fluttered about but fish didn't take notice. All but two trout came on a Pink Scud trailed behind a heavy tungsten beaded pink squirrel of prey. Only two brookies came to hand which concerns me but maybe the water temps impacted them more than the browns which fed voraciously. I landed around 30 fish in just over two hours. By the end my hands were frozen as they never got a chance to dry off between fish!
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: 2017 Driftless Trout Pics and Reports

I wimped out and have decided not to brave the single-digit temps forecast for this weekend in Wisconsin, the trout season opener. We'll see what next week brings.
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