2020 Driftless Pictures And Reports

pickadrake

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I enjoyed a long weekend in SE MN. Good water conditions until the rain came Friday PM...2.5" overnight in my location muddied up all the main creeks. As I drove home and got further East and North things looked much better. Here's a couple pic's from the weekend. Weiliwen, I caught a couple 'red fins' too! Always neat when I get one
 

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2bornot2b

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I enjoyed a long weekend in SE MN. Good water conditions until the rain came Friday PM...2.5" overnight in my location muddied up all the main creeks. As I drove home and got further East and North things looked much better. Here's a couple pic's from the weekend. Weiliwen, I caught a couple 'red fins' too! Always neat when I get one
I believe they are Sandhills Cranes not Whooping Cranes.
 

FlymanSJB

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Got out last Saturday evening 4 till 10pm. Beautiful evening mayflies coming off and happy birds singing and trout rising up occasionally.

They were not eating sulphurs, I`m almost willing to believe they like the bug that's hatching the least, I did see a few caddis, larger march browns and a few crane flies. there were also sparse tiny mayflies that were not blue wing olives. I went caddis and did alright. Went toe to toe with a few beasts one jumped and showed himself which made my knees rattle and one was hooking the bumper of a passing car.

The birds were singing so much they made me laugh, so many different calls, teaching young ones and eating all those bugs, really interesting and relaxing.













 

FlymanSJB

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Well I wish I had better news but we had another 100 year flood last night, across the northern Driftless of MN and WI bigger than the 5 or 6 --100 year floods last year. My local trout havens are larger than the Mississippi River. 6 to10" of rain over night and more the rest of the week.

I stopped and viewed some areas last time out where springs feed in and there is some widening and ponding and lots of weeds, the amount of tiny trout, brook and brown was great to see, with little flooding this year, it looked good and now I`m pretty bummed.

The amount of brook trout landed before 2018 was in the several hundreds range per year and since the flooding it has dropped to less than a dozen per year for 2018, 2019, 2020. I would say brown trout numbers are down this year as well, quality fishing but noticeably reduced numbers.

And that's the way it is for wild fish, up years and down, but these massive floods year after year are really hard on them I think. Brook trout more than browns, Brook trout can't live in a warm mud lake.
 
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Ard

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That sucks but it's that hydrologic cycle I talked with you about. When billions of metric tons of ice melt a great deal of that additional H2O ends up as evaporation and will cycle it's way back to earth in greater and greater amounts with each passing year. Hold out hope for some of the fish but if it's as bad as you say many will be left high & dry when the water drops and yes that sucks.
 

Bent Undergrowth

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Sorry to hear this Flyman. I was looking at rainfall amounts earlier and it seemed like the southern area got less rain.

A couple years ago, I persuaded my scientific organization to invite a driftless TU guy (whose name escapes me at the moment) to give the keynote at our annual conference. Not exactly toxicology-related, but the event was in Lacrosse so I pushed for a driftless theme.

He talked about the increasing severe flood events. Apparently, the vast majority of fish, aside from very small, weak swimmers, are able to survive by hugging bottom, where hydrological forces slow the current to a surprising degree.

He said the real tragedy is the destruction of habitat improvement structures. I believe they are reconsidering some of the less resilient methods due to this unfortunate "new normal".

On top of it all, it looks like the hot temperatures are going to persist. I have been getting out just about every weekend, but may give it a rest for a bit. The trout and I both prefer it a little cooler.

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pickadrake

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I'm heading down to SE MN on Thursday for the weekend so I'll see what's happened in that region. From what I can tell, they got much less rain than further North. I was down there a couple years a go during a 7" rain and it was amazing driving around after to witness the amount of water moving through. You would think no fish would be left after, but in a couple weeks it was business as usual. I'm not sure about the smaller young of the year, etc. but they probably took a hit in some areas. I guess it all works out in the end if the habitat remains intact.
 

FlymanSJB

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Thanks for the optimism guys and I agree with you to a certain extent however river levels are the highest ever recorded and the highways washed out, water levels halfway up mature trees and entire valleys full of water From the headwaters down. It will be a very long time if ever that runs will be restored.
 

smoke33

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I am looking to get out this week to SW Wisconsin this week if anyone would like to partner up at social distance. Open to time and location.


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dpnoll48

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Went out again this morning for a couple of hours. The water is starting to get a little warm and it is darn hot. Although wet wading did help today. We landed 15 or so but I lost a really nice one about 2 feet from the net. They were a little tougher to find today.A535A78E-01FD-4033-A00A-1D2743D3C542_1_201_a.jpegFE3C0013-D5ED-4A0C-B39B-F08BED560052.jpeg6A6E1063-31CB-45E9-9FE7-204903BB2570.jpeg
 

ontheflymn

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I have been out on and off, mainly mornings when temperatures start to climb into the upper 80's. Wet wading is the best way to go right now. I wear shorts with a pair of 5.11 tactical pants over them. 5.11's are thick enough to keep the nettles and what not off, but aren't heavy and cumbersome. I highly recommend those if you are looking for a decent pair of wet wading pants.

Lots of dry/dropper right now. Tricos aren't far off.

This one was from a few days ago:

6_30_20_8.jpg
 

pickadrake

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I got out for a couple days in SE MN this weekend. Early and late in the day were all I could take with the heat & humidity. Dry fishing was solid. Hoppers are starting to come into play where I was fishing. I also noted that one creek fished seems to be getting into the 60's for water temp. I didn't measure the temp with thermometer but because I was wet wading it felt warmer than usual. Fish on that creek had pushed up into the riffles to stay cool, Stay safe everyone
 

pickadrake

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I have been out on and off, mainly mornings when temperatures start to climb into the upper 80's. Wet wading is the best way to go right now. I wear shorts with a pair of 5.11 tactical pants over them. 5.11's are thick enough to keep the nettles and what not off, but aren't heavy and cumbersome. I highly recommend those if you are looking for a decent pair of wet wading pants.

Lots of dry/dropper right now. Tricos aren't far off.

This one was from a few days ago:

View attachment 24302
I'll be looking at those pants. Thanks for the heads up....and beautiful fish!
 

FlymanSJB

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Water is in poor shape yet but many fish seen rising and I have a reliable source that fish were caught on a dry fly in murky water. Man those fish are tough, of course we are in danger of flooding again this week. Its really hot, the fish have been through hell, I say head south on the driftless and the give the fish a break up here. Thats what I`m doing. See some new water. That's my report for this week.
 
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