August 8, 2019:
Welcome Back to the NTC’s The Voice of the Driftless.
It seems that week after week we have a narrow band of intense rain that reaches all the way across the Driftless. Streaming thunderstorms move from west to east along a narrow track and dump 1.5 to 3” of rain in an hour and muddy all the streams under the storms. The good news is that if you travel north and south far enough from the storm track the streams are undisturbed, the water is clear and the trout are hungry. So, this week the 7-day precipitation maps shows Trout Run was spared but Rush Creek to the South Fork of the Root were awash.
It is interesting to look at the total precipitation for the last 30 days. A linear pattern of heavier than normal precipitation extends from west of Rochester all the way to Viroqua, WI. In this area every stream got flushed more than once from heavy rain and there has been an impact on summer insect populations. But north and south of the line precipitation was in normal range and things are fine.
It is worth repeating this week hoppers and other terrestrial fly patterns are hot. I fished two different streams this week, Rice Creek and upper Maple Creek. Both had recently flooded more than a week ago but the water had cleared and I caught fish in both stream. (it usually takes 4-6 days after the peak flow for the water to be clear enough to fish.) The effects of the flooding was evident in both and in Maple the caddis were back trying to build new cases on the rocks. In Rice most the anchored aquatic vegetation had been washed out so the fish were concentrated in the deeper water.
It is worth mentioning that summer edible mushrooms like Chanterelles, Lobsters, Shrimp of the Woods and Boletes are coming in to season. I love this part of the mushroom season as you find lots of different species and sometimes get lucky. Yesterday I went north of the Cities and collected 3-4 pounds of chanterelles, 2 pounds of Chicken of the Woods and two big King boletes. Yumm.
This week some of the levels are great, but some not so much. You can tell that we got some rain in the past week as the transparency levels aren’t as great as they were last week. So we will start off with the good news this week then! Over in Chatfield at Mill Creek the reading was at 80cm which is great and shows they didn’t get hit much. In town here at Camp Creek the reading was at 70cm which is down about 20cm from last week, which is disappointing but still good for fishing. Now for the bad news. In town at the South Branch Root River the reading was at 25cm which is down drastically from last week. It is pretty dirty so if you fish on the Root make sure to use something bright this weekend.