Early spring — or late winter — stream trout seasons can be productive, sometimes very much so, if air temperatures haven't been too high, melting snow and muddying streams and creeks too severely.

Saturday, when the early catch and release Wisconsin trout season began, conditions were pretty good on western Wisconsin streams within an hour or so from the Twin Cities.

My son, Trevor, and I were out on Wisconsin's first day, wanting to wade moving water again, after a winter of fishing through the ice. Crowds, it could fairly be said, were sparse, with only a few other anglers spotted.

Turns out, those who didn't show up missed some pretty good fishing.

Here's what produced best:

• 9-foot, 6X leaders.

• Prince Nymphs, sizes 14 and 16, cast upstream and drifted along undercut banks, beneath ice sheets extending from shore, and along current seams.

• Hare's Ears and Copper Johns also took fish.

That's the good news.

Sunday was a fast warm-up day, increasing stream flows and putting the water off-color more than was the case Saturday.

And now . . . three or more days of rain are forecast, conditions that likely will frustrate anyone with a fly rod intent on bringing trout to hand.

That said, the water is still moving, spring is not so far off, and on Saturday, Canada geese flew overhead as I stood on a streambank a foot deep in snow, looking up- and downstream at surroundings that couldn't be prettier.

Upshot: Your days are numbered. Fish now.


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