To say the least, we are experiencing a somewhat abnormal (or should I say the new normal) start to the 2014 fishing season. Super cold winter, heavy rainfall and wild temperature swings have all contributed to the conditions. Mother Nature has thrown us a curve, and as good midwesterners we adapt or move on.

The trout streams for now have settled down. Rocks scoured clean in many stretches, abundant wood piles, eroded banks and reconfigured channels have made the game a bit more challenging. Insect populations have been deplete for the short term and hatches that have been reasonably regular for the past few years are not showing up at all or are present in such small numbers  that trout feeding frenzies have been greatly diminished.

DSC00214One pattern is that trout appear to be moving into the summers, Early AM or late PM  activity period. Catching has been much better during this time period than in the afternoon hours,  even though stream temps have remained cooler than average for this time of year. Sub-surface fishing has been the best method except for the spotty caddis hatches that have been happening just before dark. To catch the “witching hour”, you must be on the stream from 8:30 to after dark, for the best dry fly action,,,,,,if you are in the right spot.

In the last week I have also noticed that trout over 11- 12″ tended to be either fat as footballs or skinny as snakes. Smaller fish all looked normal.  Through the first high water periods it seemed that this larger class of fish were fat and happy.  The food that was dislodged from the rocks buy flooding or had entered the stream from the terrestrial world was probably readily available. Stomach content examination during this time period confirmed this. Worms, grubs, nymphs, crawfish, minnows and a variety of unidentifiables were found.  Now that flows have settled back down, normally abundant insect forage may be in a bit of a shortage. The fish of this size who have not adapted to taking larger forage may be on the short end of the nourishment stick for a while. I would be interested to know from others, what they have found.  This is only an observation but seems reasonable.


At the end of the day yesterday, I sat for a while watching the cottonwood seeds fall like snow. It was mesmerizing. I contemplated what the fishing would be like tomorrow. I thought about where I would take my client and how the river may have changed in spots I not seen in two weeks. I was anxious, in a relaxed sort of way. After this short chat with myself I realized that I had no worries. The trout were still there and the rivers still flowed. The wild flowers were awesome and in full color.

The picture on the box of the trout puzzle is still the same.  Fitting the pieces back together in a different order than in the past, is key. Work by trial and error, and take a slightly different approach. If  you become mired in the frustration of working on one portion of the puzzle, switch to another.  The pieces that seem to be lost now are really just hiding under the table or the flap in the box, eventually they will be found. Some days you will be more successful at putting the pieces together, other days you’ll  feel unaccomplished. Mostly though, you will learn a little bit more about how all the pieces fit together. Go fish!