Sunday, December 6, 2009

Things I saw this year

Some poop. Every tree down on this stretch had poop on it. Why couldn't they walk another few yards and do it in the bushes?


A decaying deer in the spring:

From May trout

A rare, naturally reproducing stream rainbow trout (not a steelhead):

From May trout

Caddis larvae in pebble shell casing:

From Some creek

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fishing Minnesota Fail

I got suspended from's forums for suggesting to other members that they use email to communicate with each other.

One member suggested that we all pay the yearly fee in order to have Private Messages. I responded with "You can always use e-mails."

Now, when I pulled up the site tonight, I got this:

PLEASE READ-You will only get these directions once.

You are only on temporary hold. To remove the hold please-
1. READ: Forum Policy
2. RESPOND: according to directions given in forum policy.
This is a permanent ban. If the Administrator has specified a reason for this ban, you will find it below.

You can always us e-mails.

A screen shot can be seen here:

This is very disappointing. I think now may be a good time to move over to

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Speckled Jewels

I really went on a brook trout binge this fall.

Last year I caught my first brookie. I was fishing a stream I knew to have a population of brook trout and trying my darndest to catch my first one. Let's have a look at that fine specimen:

At the time I had no idea it was a brookie. It was July of 2008. I honestly thought it was a young brown; that perhaps they just looked that way when they were very young. Later that winter I was going through google images and saw a trout that looked just like my little fingerling. I caught my first brookie but didn't find out 'til several months later.

Soon after catching my first monster brookie we had a baby and the rest of my fishing season got all screwed up. I'd forgotten how babies are selfish little creatures who have no regard for their father's needs.

You can see how displeased I am in this photo.

So, I never got to see a fall brookie. All winter and all of the 2009 season I was drooling at the thought of going out and catching a colorful fall brookie.

At one point on the FM forums Len Harris asked for everyone's favorite trout picture. Someone named "jpz" posted this pic of a fall brookie and I couldn't believe it. What an amazing creature. The red belly, white-lined fins and glowing blue and purple dots along the sides seemed unreal.

Well, I finally got out this last fall a few times and caught some beautiful brookies. I feel very lucky.

From my secret spot

This one flipped out of my hands just as my friend was snapping the photo

One night, after a particularly frustrating night of attempting to fly fish a narrow creek, I caught a tiger trout. I remember making strange sounds when the fish got ten feet away and I saw what it was.

Now the stream trout season is over and I am finally sitting down to write about the last few trout I caught this year.

I feel very grateful that I had the privilege to catch these fish. Can't wait to get my daughter into a couple of them.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Small brookies

Had a good time catching some small brookies. Been catching more and more trout drifting tube jigs lately. I love catching large trout, but sometimes the challenge is to find a seven inch fish...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Muskies! (kind of)

I got the chance to go out on the morning of the Minnesota muskie opener. I was fishing in my home lake that has plenty of tiger muskies. They are not pure-blood muskies, but they are close enough for me. The biggest tiger I'd ever caught was perhaps four or five pounds. Very fun on spinning tackle, but not a monster.

For me, a large muskie would be anything over ten pounds, or perhaps over three-feet long. I actually hooked a large muskie Saturday morning. I thought perhaps I'd snagged a carp as it slowly swam under the boat. Could have been a big bass. Then I realized that I could not turn it even with my medium-stiff rod and baitcaster with 12 pound test. Slowly it came up to the surface and leapt completely out of the water! She threw my spinnerbait and Adam and I sat in stunned silence.

We had two more chases that morning before the rain set in.

We were back out Sunday morning in the rain at 5:00 AM. Nothing.

That evening at 10:30 I caught a large walleye on a bucktail. I've never been so disappointed with such a nice fish:

Then before work on Wednesday, I was finally able to get one in the boat. It hit the same bucktail that the walleye hit:

Finally. I probably casted a line for muskies 30,000 times up until this point. I finally got a "real" one.

Then a few days later, Tony and I had a "big night" with another muskie (almost boated) a big bass, and a big walleye (this one on a spinnerbait!)

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Girlfriend

I think I have the greatest wife in the world.


She allows me to drive all around the countryside, obsessed with chasing little fish. We've worked out a schedule for household and parental duties so that I get one night a week to go fishing and she gets one night a week to do whatever it is currently obsessed with. I think it is currently making dresses and photography. She even lets me fish for entire Saturdays (of course I have to earn those trips.) Sometimes I don't really earn those trips and she lets me go anyways. Just because she's the best wife in the world.

Then I come home with pictures of big, fat trout and I have to explain why I had to let them go. She'd rather eat a trout than see a picture. I bring home a walleye from time to time to earn my keep.

So thanks momma. Sorry about the C & R.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bass opener

Got the boat out of storage and got her ready in time for the bass opener.

It feels really strange to say it, but I think my interest lies more with trout than any other species now. I enjoy all different types of fishing for several different species, but if I have one evening or one day to fish, I most likely will hit a trout stream.

That being said, I got perhaps twelve bass. Biggest was perhaps four pounds. Many bass in the lillies. Fun day indeed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sweet mama

Went out the other day to explore a new section of a favorite creek. It's a marginal trout stream. I saw a section via satellite imagery that is harder to get to than other areas. Certainly people fish this stretch, but much less compared to the stream portions nearer the highway.

First fish came on a Panther Martin, the next on a small tube jig. Both were nice sized and both fought like bulls.

Then I set a new personal best at 17 inches. I couldn't believe it. When this fish jumped out of the water it came down with a kerplunk! I never heard a trout make such a splash. Then I lost a trout that felt like a freaking otter. That was very sad. I could not keep it out of the tree limbs. I did not get to see it at all.

Then a few minutes later I caught a trout that barely fit in the net. She measured 20 inches. This one spent some time horsing around under some tree branches, but I got her out this time.

Another monster:

I was home in time to kiss the boy goodnight and rock the baby girl to sleep. It was an amazing night.

On a side note, I took Len Harris' advice and I got a net. It seemed to be very gentile on the fish and it was nice to not have to attempt a hand grab. Good investment.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Adam and I found a special place in the north country where once can find nice brookies. I would have been happy with a decent one and I got a thirteen incher. It was a special day. Mad props to the wife for making this trip possible. Once again Adam and I were near death by the end of the trip. Recovery time was three days.

Got a small video as well:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

First trip of the spring - two biggest trout ever

Had a good time in SE MN on Thursday. Got out of work and raced through traffic in no time.

I was really hoping to catch some brook trout, but brookies are hard to find anywhere near the metro. I got lucky and landed my biggest brookie yet. Of course I have only now caught twelve in my life. It was not a big fish, but I am delighted to catch such a beautiful fish.

I caught several in a few hours:

Then to end the night I decided to hit one more stream. Normally "taking a few more casts" doesn't result in anything. This time it worked. With 20 minutes of twilight left, I hit a small stream. I hooked something right off and I thought I had a monster brookie on. I was really freaking out. As it turns out, I hit a load of browns. I caught five nice ones in ten minutes. Wow.

My biggest brown ever:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Drunk on fishing

The wife went to Michigan a few weeks back for six days overlapping a weekend. She took baby girl with her. I couldn't take time off of the new job to watch the boy, so grandma and grandpa stepped in to take the boy. This all meant that I was free for an entire weekend of fishing trout in southeast Minnesota.

It was not projected to be a warm weekend, but we didn't care a whole lot. I got new, lightweight waders that are easier to move around in. I purchased a panther-martin-like spinner making kit and slapped several together.

Once again it was myself and Adam on this sojourn. I don't know exactly what a sojourn is, but it sounded good in the last sentence. We started hitting a favorite area of ours only a few hours away. My friend Brian, who is the most knowledgeable trout fisherman I have ever met, joined us for the first part of Saturday.

In the first creek we hit we must have encountered a hundred trout (that we're aware of.) We caught a nice 12 incher right off the bat caught on one of my custom spinners. That felt good. Then we spent the next couple hours wondering what the trout could possibly want. No more fish. It was still very cool to see so many trout in the bottom of pools and hiding in place you wouldn't think they could possibly hide. It was unreal. Sometimes when trout fishing I don't need to catch them to have an awesome time.

Adam got some great pics of Brian fly casting:

For lunch Brian fed us with venison polish sausages made from a deer he murdered in the fall. They were bitchin'. He also told us a very funny hunting story and we had a good time.

We then hit our special honey hole. The one place where I am certain I can go and catch a trout. Due to some special and possibly temporary geographic circumstances there exists a large hole that is stacked with trout. A few trips ago we caught thirteen out of the one hole. This time we only got six-or-so, but they were larger. I tied my personal best of fourteen inches. Brian got a couple on the fly. Despite his guides constantly icing up.

On the way out I was in a great deal of pain from my fingers, toes and ears feeling like they were actually freezing solid. I was in a great deal of pain. Adam thought for a minute he may have to carry me (I was being a little dramatic) But when we got into the sunlight and passed one more hole. So I took a few casts and caught one more, a rainbow:

On a tip from Brian we decided to stay in Saint Charles Saturday night so that in the morning we'd only have to drive an hour or so to get to our next destination.

When we got to town we stopped at the first motel we saw. It was a nice looking little place. The owners were on vacation. So we stopped at a gas station and I had the following conversation with the shy young lady behind the counter:

ME: Is there another motel in town?
HER: Well... there's the "Downtown Motel"
ME: Is it close?
HER: Yeah...
ME: What?
HER: Well, umm... uh...
ME: Is it a bad place?
HER: Well... I've just heard some things...
ME: Like what?
HER: Well, I'VE never stayed there myself...
ME: What did you hear?
HER: Well, umm....
ME: Is it dirty? Are there dead bodies?
HER: Um... I've never actually stayed there...
ME: Ok, what did you hear?
HER: Well maybe they don't take great care of it
ME: Ok. So it's just a little dirty?
HER: (Tiny little nod)

So with that recommendation we went and got a room at the Downtown Motel. It was not the greatest place, but it was perfect for two tired, dirty fishermen.

We ate dinner at Dels Cafe. It was freaking awesome. I had a beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy. One of the best meals I've had in a long time. Nutso good. Go there.

That night I won a competition of "See who can build the tallest structure with four sheets of toilet paper" Adam made a tee pee of sorts that stood 4 inches tall. My stack of triangles stood 4 1/4 inches and better resisted wind. After a quick game of Rapala catch (a daring game: first one to drop the rapala loses) we called it a night.

I popped up at 5:30 AM and harassed Adam until he woke. We hit Dels again for breakfast.

At 9:30 we got to the river. We were perhaps twenty minutes from Iowa at this point. I noticed that it was very cold. Painful cold. I found out later it was 5 degrees. I was seriously wondering if it was worth it. There was ice forming IN THE RIVER on rocks as well as ON THE LURE. I did not know that was possible. I hooked a twelve incher and landed a twelve incher.

Man, it was wicked cold. I ended up losing feeling in the tips to two toes for several days. I think that's frostnip.

At one o'clock we felt tired and weak and thought perhaps we should call it a day. So of course we drove back to the honey hole to catch a few more.

It was very cold in the dark valley that the honey hole lives in. Adam caught a nice trout though.

And here's one of Adam's masterfully painted custom spinners:

Come 4 o'clock, we were very tired and discombobulated. Drunk on fishing. Adam's eyes had glossed over and was having trouble enunciating his words. We were in rough shape. I felt OK at this point, but after driving the first hour home, I was ready to pass out. Adam, fresh off devouring a Rockstar, drove the last hour.

It seriously took us two days to recover. The Monday after the trip I was having trouble forming thoughts in my head. I was afraid my coworkers would think I was (even more of) an idiot. But it was worth it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2008 in review

I think it was in 2002 or 2003 in the dog days of summer that I stopped fishing. I had lost my passion for catching fish. I was having a hard time catching fish. I was tired of not catching fish. I was always explaining to my wife that we were experiencing a "tough bite."

Then in winter 2008 I felt the old magic again. I bought a very cheap boat on craigslist. I got my gear together, re-spooled and greased up. I cleaned out the tackle box. I ended up having a great year despite climbing the learning curve again. Here's the highlights:

The boy and I found a good carp spot:

Got close-up footage of an odd tiger muskie behavior:

Here's more on Tigers with their heads out of the water:

I caught a huge bass:


I finally figured out how to catch walleye: (though not with great consistency)

Nov 5 2008 002

I discovered river fishing:


and I caught some trout:


I am starting to get the itch again very badly. The boat is still in storage at Shakopee marine but we'll be picking it up in March. I can't wait.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trout in winter

A friend and I headed to a creek in southeast Minnesota in January and caught some brown trout. I can't explain how nice it is to go out in the winter and actually cast for fish. The friend is a great photographer so I end up getting real nice pictures of the trip.

We used Panther martin spinners and caught a few small trout. I am still a novice trout fisherman so a ten-inch trout still brings me great joy, especially when it is 17 degrees fahrenheit out. Eventually I may learn how to catch more than 0.3 trout per hour. In the meantime I love it.