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Jim W

Give them what they want!

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Jim W

New rain with more in sight brings a smile to this stream walkers face!
I have spent several outings prior to the advent of Trout Opener, wading and fishing for trout in very low streams and rivers.

One of my favorite haunts was no exception. Runs I have never seen bottom now portray the sand and rock lined substrate, leaving few places to hide for large hungry brown trout.

This leaves me very few options other than heading to "big" water! Typically, inundationg Spring rains and snow melt come together for full banks and waters filled with trophy class trout.

These browners, instinctively move with cold rising waters, up into habitat often not fished!

This has not been the case yet this Spring!

After witnessing favorite water in less than desirable conditions, I moved into the larger branches of the Root River.

Many, many "designated trout streams" merge with this multi-specie inhabited river. Generally, the Main branch of the Root holds temperatures above what most trout prefer.
However, the Brown trout tends to adapt and handle water temperatures much warmer than babbling brookie water sheds!

So, pursuing a fish over 20 inches I looked for stretches that connected to colder trout waters.
Right now the small water smallmouth are gearing up and entering spawning activities. IN turn making for easy prey. PLEASE return these fish immediately! I won't deny enjoying the surprising battle for minute, but prefer to target browners until the end of May when smallmouth are legal to "throw stuff at"!

A positive observation I must share.
Though the big browners aren't where I usually find them this time of year, they have plenty to eat in bigger waters!

THe shallows are plum full of baitfish, shiners, chubs, various minnows, spawning redhorse and suckers. They remain in the shallows for the obvious safe reason, they want to stay alive!!

I found the bigger trout adhering to faster shallower depressions in the middle of "runs" and flats in the river! Depressions where silt and debris cloudy the bottom enough to hide predator fish!

Generally, this sort of "Set-up" occurs "upstream" with Spring run off. Again, not this year......yet. (Forecast calls for rain).

So the subject of what to use to catch elusive Spring browners(and I must add, trophy Spring browners. This is not a numbers game for me, nor will it ever be!!)

Minnow baits, minnow baits, minnow baits!
Spinners will catch you quite a few out of season smallmouth, but the trout want minnows, shiners, chubs......and big ones!

To me it's common sense, why expend the energy eating 100 times a day when one or two meals suffice?? I don't know? DO you?

Those who have read anything from me in the past know what I use, but I will reiterate anyway.

#9 and #11 Original Floating Rapalas. They have created quite a few "sexy" minnow, shiner, chub varieties often found in SE MN streams and rivers. Know your stream and baitfish ,head ovr to Fleet Farm with a "C" note and have at it!(leave a few for me).

SO far this Spring, the trout reacted better on the stop rather than go during my retrieves!
I like violent rod shakes! Make that minnow bait dance, flash and shine...then stop.

Granted , with crimped barbs, I have lost quite a few fish this year, but I really am leaning towards always crimping. I rarely keep a trout meal so why not crimp?

Crimping is laying the barb of your treble hook flat with the shank! Or in some cases, snapping it clean off!

Saves the trout and already has saved me! I made a hard cast in high winds and immediately felt a slap on top of my head!
Crimped barbs = no emergency room visit this time!

If I may remind, if you feel the need to eat trout, keep the 12 inchers for the grill. Please don't take home fish over 16 inches!

Yes, by law, you are allowed one, but do it for the next angler or kid who would love to tussle with a hard fighting, leaping trout!

Now, if we get enough rain, where some run-off happens, streams rise, hit your favorite trib to larger, warmer water! The big girls should be waiting for you!I'll be waiting for them!!

Keep the rods bendin'!!!

Jim W

4th Annual Trout Day
May 1st
Forestville Mystery Cave State Park

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Excellent report Jim! For those of us that do not know or are just getting into trout fishing this was a wealth of information. Thank you very much! smile.gif

Good Luck & Good Fishing. Lucky

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tie flyer

Thanks for the informative (and entertaining) report, Jim.

Boy, it sure would be fun to stalk big fish in small waters. Maybe we'll keep getting rain 'till May 1.

I'm not too familiar with the sizing of Rapalas...how long would a number 9 and 11 Rap measure?

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Jim W

Tie FLyer,

I guess I never measured them, but I would say a #9 is 3- 3 1/2 inches and a #11 is around 5 inches.
There has been more than one occasion, catching a eager trout only to find a 5-6 inch shiner half way down it's throat!

Thanks again for volunteering for Trout Day!
Yes some rain would be great. Even with recent rains, most has sponged right up not effecting stream levels much.

Jim W

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tie flyer

Wow! That sounds like pike fishing. I just might have the ticket for those big guys.

I'm surprised that snowpack didn't do more for the water levels. I assume you got hit pretty good? Maybe the water tables are returning to normal now.

Thanks for the feedback on your Rapalas.

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I agree with Jim with respect to location and the fact that those raps definitely do the trick.

I also found that solid colors of silver, gold, gold/silver or copper spinners can be dynamite on those big browns as well. We did catch one smallie but with a ratio of 50-1 and the smalle being less than 7 inches vs Trout in the 18"-20" range.

I'm no expert on this but I do know what I've seen. I'm hoping to have some video coming out that shows a couple guys going after nice browns. One using Rapalas and the other using Super Bow and Big Bow spinners.

For a beginner, I believe a spinner is easier to use. It is also highly effective as is the Rapala.

For those of you just beginning, it might be easier to start with a spinner and move up to a Rap once you have the hang of the spinners.

What do you think Jim?

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 04-22-2004).]

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Jim W


I would have to concur to a certain degree.
It does take quite a bit of time, learning the ways of the rapala when fishing streams and small rivers.

I personally only use spinners in certain conditions and stream make-up.

I prefer spinners in shallower, faster, rocklined runs and stretches of water.

However, when it comes to hook-set, a spinner is much easier to set-hook if taken by a hungry trout. Not a lot of "skill" in the hook-set with spinners. If they hit it, more often than not, they are on!

If using proper weighted spinners, casting is easier and learning the ways of retrieving a lure in moving waters comes sooner as well!

One thing you'll have to learn quickly when using a spinner is engaging the blades and not letting it sink much after it enters the stream. You'll get hung up 75% more with spinners than a floating rap.

SOmething I feel needs attention. Wading.

Yes waders allow a fisherman to enter a stream, remaining all warm and dry. However, fishing with others and observing other stream walkers, waaay too many folk are in the stream or river. I am on the bank or shallows as much as possible unless a certain trout or bass hideout warrants entrance into the water.

Trout are spooky fish. Why risk missing an opportunity to catch by sloshing in the middle of the stream or stirring up the bottom? Especially in low and clear conditons!!

Plus you may risk damaging key structure elements in the stream!

BAck to spinners. Use appropriate weights and have a variety of color on hand.
If you can't get the cast you want, use more weight. If it is drifting too fast in the current, use more weight and a spinner with larger blades. Experiment until you find the right one.

GEar ratio on spinning reels is equally important. Higher ratios, usually more expensive reels come in handy! Takes less effort to bring the spinner or rappals in and adds to your over all presentations
effectivness! Much more to talk about.

Keep the rods bendin'!!!

Jim W

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I would have to agree with Rick 100% on this one.

There are only two ways to fish spinners. Straight retrieve and a jigging retrieve. Not to hard to learn.

Sliver and gold colored spinners, in size 2 and under will catch trout of any size and under any condition, anywhere in the world.

Rapalas, on the other hand, take some time to learn what works best under any givin condition.

Water color, fishing pressure, most common food in that river your fishing during that time of the year, lure action, action you give the lure, size of lure, depth the lure runs...and that's just the tip of the ice berg!

If you want to try solf plastics you should have a very good understanding of everything above, plus have a good understanding of what the lure is doing and where it is when its out of sight and drifting through a snaggy hole.

A good understanding of what your fishing with will result in the catching of more and bigger trout.

30 to 50+ days are now common for me.

"Study to be quiet"

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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      Sounds like a great time definitely looking forward to it ! 
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