Heath Sershen

Heath Sershen has been fishing creeks in southeast Minnesota for 25 seasons.

Posts about Trout

Late Season Trout

Posted by: Heath Sershen Updated: September 25, 2009 - 1:14 PM
Late Season Trout.

    Late season trout angling in Minnesota is a prime opportunity for catch and release anglers to hunt trout.  Minnesota's late season trout angling runs from middle to end September.  An angler can catch and release trout with an artificial lure with a barbless hook.  All of the designated trout streams are open during this special season.  An angler can choose to fish their honey hole or to seek sight-fishing opportunities at places that hold late season Rainbows that average nine to 14 inches.
    Rainbows are typically stocked in streams that receive most of the region's angling pressure throughout the harvest season.  Rush Creek (Rushford area),  the Whitewater System streams (Elba area), South Branch Root River (Preston and Lanesboro areas) Preston, and Duschee Creek are fishing well with 30 catch and release fish days awarding skilled anglers.
    Anglers can expect success with a good drift and a good fly.  Drifting your fly properly is imperative to fool a trout with your fly.  If you have a good drift and a bad fly you catch fish.  If you have a bad drift and a good fly you will catch very little.
If I only had one fly it would be the Pink Lab.  The Pink Lab is similar to the Pink Squirrel however has its own esoteric aspects. 
     Firstly, a Pink Lab is tied on an offset scud hook when a Pink Squirrel is tied on a straight shank hook.  It is believed that many anglers loose fish because of a barbless hook.  Anglers can increase their catch rates by using a barbless off set hook.
    Secondly, a Pink Lab's body material is collected from living Yellow Labrador Retriever's.  This is the secret ingredient that has fooled countless trout.  
     The great thing about the late season is that harvest pressure for trout is non-existent.  An angler can truly find himself on a creek, in the middle of the forest, two miles from the car, and alone.  This is southeast Minnesota backcountry paradise.     
    Further, the majority of the Rainbows are not very spooky.  An angler keeping a low profile can sneak up on pods of fish.
    I suggest to all catch and release anglers that fish being caught for sport are best left in the water at all times.  This includes when unhooking the fish and photographing your catch.  It is known that an angler can catch the same fish multiple times over multiple days.  This is dependent on the fact that the fish was properly handled after being hooked.  Playing a fish to exhaustion is not recommended.  Squeezing a fish is also discouraged.  

Please consult Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources Minnesota fishing regulations for more information on Minnesota's late season trout angling opportunities.  

Seeking Trout in Houston County.

Posted by: Heath Sershen Updated: May 4, 2009 - 1:30 PM

2009-04-28 Houston County, Minnesota.
Conditions: Sunny, 65 degrees, light breeze. 

    I accessed the creek at a bridge on a gravel road that shoots east off the highway.  My intensions were to scout the creek downstream to the confluence with the river.  This hike is about three quarters of a mile.
    I know the upper section of this creek intimately.  I have fished it several times.  Near its headwaters the creek winds through an active pasture.  The trout habituate in undercuts and log jams.  There are enough trout however one or two is about all you will get per trout house.  The water runs fine and clear.  The creek bed is white sand with gold cobble rocks mixed with grebe watercress.
    The section I am on today has a sand bottom and log jams.  There is no watercress.  The sand is a different color and the logjams are comprised of large mature trees.  The creek is 15 feet wide in this lower section.  It is a mere five feet near its headwaters.
    The farmer has been felling trees on the creek bank.  They appear to be Boxelder.  There is sign of recent rodent activity which is apparent through visible gnaws found on the trunks of some trees.  The farmer is winning the tree-felling contest with the rodent.
    The trout habitat is less frequent in this section compared to the headwaters section of creek.  There are few dark pools.
I had one hook-up with a decent sized Brown Trout in the pool above the log dam.  Other than that I saw no signs of fish and only a handful of caddis.
    The thicket on the creek bank was so thick that I ended up wandering through a grove of Elms.  The wildflowers are blooming here.  There are Spring Beauty, Virginia Bluebells, Birdsfoot Violet, and Swamp Marigold.   My keen eyes were glued to the forest floor.  I found no morel mushrooms.
    The confluence with river is plain.  It is a sandy creek that meets a sandy river.  It is marked by a 25 year old sugar maple.
I spooked a 10-inch pike out of the hole at the confluence; with my #2 Ugly Tom streamer fly.  Bottom fishing with crawlers awarded me with one 8-inch White Sucker.   
    I did manage to pull two trout out of logjams.  They were both Brook Char (trout) over 14-inches.  One of the trout was missing a large section of his lip, which is a sign that it had been caught and released before.  I am guessing that an angler caught it with barbs on the hook because fishing barbless does not have that effect on fish lips.  It is best to leave lips the way they were before catching a fish.  This goes for all species of fish and there are viable techniques available to a keen angler to do just that.



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