July 18, 2019:
Welcome Back to the NTC’s The Voice of the Driftless. If you look around to find local areaswithout heavy rains this week the fishing outlook is great despite the continuing heat advisory and localized rainfall. But I woke up this morning at 5:30 to severe thunderstorms that dropped ¾” of rain and left a thin band of 1-2” rain along I90 from Rochester to Winona and the North Branch of the Whitewater has had rain every day since Tuesday, so the water has came up 0.6 feet on Thursday making it muddy again. Areas 10 miles north and south of I90 had much less rain and not much runoff to spoil the fishing conditions. As always look for the small spring fed streams that don’t get as much runoff and that clear quickly.
The North Branch Whitewater and South Branch Root River at Carimona demonstrate the difference, Carimona has had no runoff events since July 6 and is running clear.
Water temps in the spring fed streams near the springs are in the high 50’s and larger streams in the mid to upper 60’s so it is really refreshing to wet wade in the cold water at the end of a hot day.
Because of the persistent muddy water hatches have still been impaired, but I am seeing little midges, a few caddis, and an occasional large may fly. The trout fry are growing so larger crank baits and spinners are a more realistic mimic for the large bite items and frogs and toads are dropping into the streams attracting larger fish. I am also starting to see the first grasshoppers so Madam X and hopper patters will be of growing interests to the trout.
The Big Hatch:
If you want to talk about fish food you need to see the pictures of the mayfly hatch on the Mississippi. Photos from the landing at Lake Pepin and Lock and Dam 3 at Welsh show the scale of the biomass that emerges from the mud in a healthy river.
As stated earlier there was a thin strip of heavy rain that hit around I90 from Rochester to Winona, which shows why Mill Creek in Chatfield had a transparency reading at 4cm(1.57in). Here in town though was not hit hard like them. At the South Branch Root River the levels were at 40cm(15.75in) which is good for fishing. Over at Camp Creek the reading was 32cm(12.6in)
There is a chance for rain this weekend so just keep an eye on the weather to see how much we get. As of right now the streams look good for fishing especially when looking at the flow(blue line) on the chart above. So get out there if you can and have a great weekend!