Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mid Summer Stride

There have been a number of river floats the past few weeks.  Some days fish are taking small stuff on top and others its big articulated streamers.

But first things first - these are the two best floats I've ever seen (courtesy the Spooner Rodeo Parade).
Great idea, I don't know how I didn't think of it.
Musky Princess from Hayward.
And remember, the river isn't just for fishing.
Some nice catches.  Sprinkling from the St Croix and Namekagon.

Whiffed on my two good musky takes.  Rivers have been slow for Mr. Mooskey but the lakes have had some good action.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

And I thought I was having a bad day

I took Henry and my dad out for a float on the Upper St Croix Saturday after the monsoons passed.  From the previous week's success (sorry Russ and Scott about not getting pics) I thought we'd have a great float.
It was a little slow.  Dad hooked a few fish but nothing for Henry (he thought he lost a musky however).

What really caught our eye was a twisted canoe.

I check everything since I found a loaded Ruger 45 in a duffel bag on the river 2 years ago.  We even tried to free the canoe so it wouldn't take up the river but no luck.  High water I'm sure will bust it free.  I hope everyone was OK.  Fortunately the flows over the past week right around the 2,000 cfs so it wasn't dangerous.

Fishing should become more consistent in the coming weeks.  Good flows will keep the larger fish up river and allow us to get to them in the boat.  Normally after July 4th it's wade fishing time but we might catch a break this year.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Big "Mo"

I just got back from fishing the Missouri River near Craig, Montana.  Awesome trip and I highly recommend it anyone.  My buddy Matt from work has a friend Jordan living in Helena which is a great base camp.  Not that Craig isn't fun but a town of 100 with 150 driftboats has limited night life (tap room scene is doing well in Montana FYI).

We got to the river Thursday morning and had to stop by Headhunter Fly Shop.  Headhunters has probably one of the best report/blogs
We picked up the hot flies and put in right below Holter Dam.  It is a big dam and they are letting a lot of water out - over 8,500 cfs and the bumped the flow to 10,000 that day (ideal range is 3,000 to 4,000, or so I've been told).
I put on my freshly pink painted anchor and we were ready to go.  A little side note - I spray paint my anchors because I have lost them either in the river or by leaving at the boat ramp.  The pink really stands out and I received many complements on it.  If you're in Craig and see pink anchors let me know, I think I started a trend.

Thursday was really difficult with 30-40 mph winds and trying to figure out a pattern.  We did manage some nice fish however.  Friday was lights out - we double floated the river and found the hot sow bug fly.  The 3 of us hooked about 50 fish but had a hard time landing some of the larger fish because we'd put the anchor down to not blow by our spots but reeling a 20+ inch fish into the current has many variables that often go wrong. 

Buffs are fashionable on the Missouri and it beats sunscreen - I even find them cool just to wear.

Really the main stretch with the highest density of fish is the bridge at Wolf Creek to Craig.  It is about 3.5 miles of river but you can really work sections and with lower water wade around islands.
Above is a shot at the Wolf Creek bridge.  In general they call the Missouri the largest spring creek.  It is a big river but fairly easy to fish.  We indicator fished almost exclusively and needed 2 BB split shot to get down in many spots.  Flies are your typical tailwater selection of sow bugs, lightning bugs, San Juan worms, midges and may flies.

Almost all fish were in the 18-20 inch mark with a handful outside the range. 

There are lots of fish, and lots of people.  We got on the river at 7:00 am and did a double float to avoid the crowds as everyone floated down the river.  Overall great trip, phenomenal fish and very good fishing.  I'm sure I'd be amazed to see the epic dry fly fishing mentioned in the Fly Fish Film Tour movie "Sipping Dry"

Get a guide, do it your self, whatever, it's just fun to fish new water.

Friday, May 2, 2014

We'll Miss You Brian

Sorry for not posting in a long-time.  I haven't had any good reports to relay and the main reason for that is that my great buddy Brian was diagnosed with cancer in July.  Unfortunately after a brutal battle he passed away mid-December.  He was 40 and left a wife and two young boys.
I met Brian about 5 years ago on the Brule.  It was fall, the water was low, and a few of us floating line, indicator fishers were being pushed out of the deeper slower holes to the riffles.  We exchanged numbers like school girls and bumped into each other on the Kinni twice the following spring.  That fall I invited Brian to stay at the cabin instead of the luxurious accommodations in Brule.  Both of our wives had some concerns about this overnight with a person neither of them had met.  Brian's wife was worried we were swingers.

After a successful steelhead trip, we stayed in touch, introduced the families and became best of friends all around.  The boys love hanging out together (and still do of course).

I am very blessed to have known Brian and be able to share a number of great fishing trips with him.  He was becoming proficient on the sticks we were working on trips this summer.  Brian always joked with me that "even if we retired today and lived to 100 we still wouldn't get all the fishing trips in we had planned".  At least we had a few.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

End of Summer Report

We'll we're hitting the end of the summer which is sad in some ways but it means good musky action is just around the corner.

The upper St Croix is running really low and we've been primarily wade fishing the river.  Action has been steady with topwater but the fish are not relating to the banks as much because of the low water.  It is a little harder to find that mid river break when you're wade fishing the river, especially before you trip over it but when you do there are more than one fish schooled up.
The Mississippi is flowing perfect right now and fish are really active with this heat.  We floated from St Cloud down to Clearwater the other day and had two dozen nice fish (missed a bunch as well).  We've been waiting almost 3 years for the river to be fishable in August.  With this heat and stable weather it should be good through mid-October.

I don't really care about SMBs anymore because starting Labor Day weekend it is full into musky.  Sunday we're planning a musky float and B. Marshall has lent me his new Sage Pike rod that he wants stunk up with Esox slim - I will do my best.

Tomorrow however I am in Washington trying for some more Pacific steel.  Trying my lunch at spey fishing the Cowlitz. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What happend to summer?

July was going along great - good SMB popper action and then last weekend happened.  It was a 45 degree drop from the previous week's high to the low Saturday.  We were wet wading to cool off and then Saturday we did it to warm up.

What was weird is how it triggers musky and pike to bite.  Friday we floated the St Croix near Grantsburg and although we managed a dozen nice smallies on topwater the highlight was Jeff's 36 inch musky on a topwater.
The best part is I didn't have my net along.  When I picked up he and Bob in the morning I said "muskies have been biting but if I put the net in the boat we won't catch one".  Of course we were in waist deep water and I had to try and grab the thing.  The water was really low and we (me) dragged the boat a lot.

Saturday it actually got colder and cloudier.  Smallies slowed more but the pike started biting.  I caught this beauty on a flash tail streamer on a jig hook (PS I think that helps the hook setting - note the fly in the top of the mouth).
Going to do an evening float Monday and then Mississippi Friday.  I'll try and take less grip and grin photos.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

St Croix Early July

We were on the river (both St Croix and Namekagon) over the 4th a number of days.  Flows looked good but the rivers had some color to them from the heavy rain the previous week.  Fishing was pretty slow even though we managed to catch fish each time out.  Smallies weren't chasing topwater and you really had to drop it right on their head.  Muskies on the St Croix were really active and we landed a nice 32 incher wade fishing (very fun) and missed two others.  The Namekagon musky bite was slow and we had one take early on and saw a nice fish right in the middle of the river below a riffle. 

Here are some good early morning pictures on the St Croix the morning of the 4th.