Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is an avid fly fisherman, mostly for trout and salmon, but he enjoys the occasional panfish and smallie bite, as well. He is the habitat chair for the Twin Cities chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Gotta love the rain!

Posted by: Josh Nelson under Fishing, Trout Updated: June 17, 2009 - 11:01 AM

All afternoon I sat and stared at The Weather Channel on the idiot box, and the NOAA radar on the other idiot box. Just a bunch of green on the radar, no yellow, no red, no cells. The plan was to hit the road by 4pm, and be at Paradise by 5pm. Just as I was throwing a couple barley sodas into the cooler, along with some pulled pork, I noticed the dreaded yellow and red within the green on the radar. Thunderstorm cells were forming north of the cities all the way down to La Crosse. I do not mind fishing in the rain, I actually enjoy it, but waving a long piece of graphite in the air when the possibility of lightening exists is just asking to go a few rounds with Darwin.

I decided to go anyways( no one ever compared me to a brainiac), figuring the cells would deteriorate by the time they met the thermal flux of the metro. Heading down 61 I realized, again, that I might be an idiot. The rain was torrential. It soon mellowed though, and the rationalizing could resume.

As I got to my spot there were three other cars there. Damn! But as I rigged up, two left, and the other guy was already talking himself out of it. An hours worth of driving had me convinced fishing was now an obligation. I mean standing in a river, getting wet, what's a little rain added to the mix?

The trout weree rising to emerging bugs, a mix of march browns, midges, and baetis. In order to get it out of the way I tied on a yellow and partridge soft hackle with a pheasant tail trailer. Nothing. Good, I wanted to fish dries anyways. It was difficult at times to distinguish the rises from the rain drops, but after a bit you got used to it. The rain came in cycles, heavy, the nothing, then steadily building again. By 7pm the fish were becoming very active. I had a heckuva time figuring out exactly what they were hitting, but an adult midge with a black body and a little white cdc wingcase seemed to be the ticket. Sulpher klinks with a shuck also worked. I won't say I caught a lot of fish, but I did catch some nice wild brownies.

The rain will be great for the rivers. Both the Kinni and Rush have been very low, lower than I have seen in awhile. It's going to be that time of the year where the terrestrials will start being more productive, and the hatches a bit more reliable. Summer is going too fast already.

On a side note, the many chapters of Trout Unlimited in Minnesota and western Wisconsin have a ton of projects that can use volunteers.

Got Rain?

Posted by: Josh Nelson under Fishing, Trout Updated: May 22, 2009 - 5:16 PM
The last time I got out to harass the trouts was Tuesday. On the drive over to Pierce County I had no idea that it was to reach 97 degrees that day. I hiked in from an anglers parking lot, and let's just say I was a bit over ambitious with the hike. That past Sunday I had cracked a rib playing a pickup game of baseball with the kids, and I underestimated the toll that would have on me as well.

Pretty much had the lower Kinni to myself, seeing two other anglers, and a few guys getting ready to float a raft from F down to the St. Croix. My hike took me upstream of the Weeping Wall of the canyon, and almost to what some call the Powerline section.

Water was low and clear. Midges were coming off profusely, but even late in the afternoon not many fish were rising to them. I have heard reports that the Ephemerella nymphs are plentiful, and just waiting for rain to emerge. I think the food sources under water are plentiful right now, and we won't see much in terms of qualty dry fly fishing untill we get a good soaking from above. My friend down on the Big River confirmed this in his post as well. Even swinging wet flies and streamers has got to be tough right now. Maybe targeting those panfish in the bays is a better idea until then.

This time of year rocks

Posted by: Josh Nelson under Fishing, Trout Updated: May 14, 2009 - 9:50 PM
I had hemmed and hawed all day yesterday as to whether or not this free Thursday should be spent fishing, or doing the things around the house that need to be done. Until a phone call at 7:30 A. M., I thought I was taking the, ahem, adult route this time. But my buddy Tim had other plans, and when the missus walked by with the thumbs up sign, I caved like the right side of the Purple's offensive line.

I had my mind set already on where I wanted to fish. Tim had the river right, but not the same stretch I did. That was fine though, it was his first time out since his Idaho steelhead trip, and I get out, umm, well enough. Tim could have this one. We headed for a popular Pierce County stream that can be Wonderful this time of year. We were pleased to find our chosen access site empty. We both needed to be back in Saint Paul by 4 P.M., yet we still wadered and rigged up with little urgency.

Today was a perfect day, in the sense it was cool, dry, and made you feel good about what we have around us to explore and enjoy. It was also very windy, which is a hack fly casters nemesis. A guy like Tim just calls it a challenge. Yet the bugs were out, with the birds swooping over the stream to catch them as they emerged. A bald eagle circled overhead, which I took to be a good sign. The lack of rain had the stream low and gin clear. Stealth, which is not a word used to describe me, was going to be an important tactic today, and the shadows from the high noon sun were not going to help.

  Tim spotted a nice pool that he must have been pondering the whole walk in. I left him there and hiked another half mile or so downstream, hoping to fish upstream to rising trout. A large rise is what caught my attention, and marked where I would begin. It seemed to me there was a small gray caddis hatch going on, but there was something else. I don't know if they were March Browns, or some kind of crane fly, but large brownish-reddish mayfly looking things were coming off pretty good, yet the fish were not keying in on either, Stubbornly I shortened my leader a bit and tied on a Hare's Ear with a beadhead. First cast brought me a nice little brown trout. Soon I had two of the prettiest brookies I had seen all year. Now I was happy, brook trout may be my favorite fish. I did get a couple photos, but I have not figured out the new camera yet, so I muffed that one.

Eventually I met Tim upstream. We both fished a nice riffle and run, finding fish rising a bit more emphatically. Tim took a couple on a dry caddis, and I had a few missed hook ups. Realizing time was no longer our friend, we hiked back out and headed home. I am glad I got out. I really enjoyed my new waders that my good friend Bill recently gave me. A very generous guy, that Bill, I mean Bob...

Take a kid fishing, soon.