April 4, 2009

Operation Brown Blizzard

Flows have been sky high due to the record precipitation in the region this winter. I didn't expect much from the day on the river, I just needed some fresh air. Air temps rose from a crispy 14°F and hovered just below the freezing mark with a slight breeze from the northwest. A dense icy fog burned off into full sun. Water was turbid so sight fishing was out of the question. Even with the adverse conditions, I was pleasantly surprised with day's objectives.

Fishing blind can be a low numbers game. Typically when faced with such a situation, you try to present yourself with the best possible odds. Being able to make out silhouettes of fish or schools of fish can work in your favor. Unfortunately, spring flows always result in water the consistency of a wheatgrass smoothie or chocolate milk: the odds are not in your favor. These days typically are low productivity days and can be quite frustrating when you can't seem to see or hook up with any fish. It pays to be optimistic.

I was fishing my 7/8 switch with 380 grain Beulah Elixir, and 7 wt spey with a Rio 520 grain AFS head. The switch caught most of the fish today as it was easier to pull in line on the drift. I was on the right bank, in tight with cover down stream and behind, with high water and heavy current coming at me, making it difficult to swing properly. I fished purple early on without much success. I was thinking silhouettes would work due to the high turbidity. I managed a bigmouth buffalo caught on a Men In Black but that was it for the dark nymph squadron.

Bigmouth Buffalo
I worked a size 8 sparkle yarn caddis pretty hard. Fish were more eager to take this offering. So far this has been one of the most productive early spring patterns. Fish must love the sparkle yarn.

Carp Hero
The bonus catch of the day. This is the third greater redhorse I've caught in my life, my second on the fly. Some people spend their entire lives in pursuit of just one. I consider myself fortunate.

Greater Redhorse
Greater Redhorse
The greater redhorse is a species of management concern; it has little tolerance for pollution and siltation. This could possibly explain be why I've only managed to catch this species immediately downstream of a tailwater in an extremely silt-laden watershed. Long one of Minnesota's mystery fishes, the greater redhorse is truly a trophy catch.

Mission Accomplished.

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