June 20, 2019:
Welcome Back to the NTC’s The Voice of the Driftless. The fishing outlook is great. The smaller streams are clear, larger streams slightly cloudy but fishable and the fish are HUNGRY!
Last Saturday night a 1.5 to 3” rain hit the South Branch Root River Watershed in just a couple of hours and brought that stream to near flood stage in Preston, but most of the rest of the region got much less rain and as of this morning most stream have settled down to be in great condition.
This week we will start publishing stream clarity measurements again. Water clarity of less than 20 cm (8 inches) is marginally fishable and any readings over 30 cm (12”) usually makes for great fishing over hungry fish.
The Whitewater River tributaries and all the small streams in the region look great and now we are seeing insect hatches…and plenty of buffalo gnats, but still no mosquitos. Fly anglers can settle in over the right spot using bead head nymphs and emergers with some sparkle, or big black woolly buggers can all expect to do well and dry fly anglers will run into some great hatches at the right time of day. Spin anglers just need to keep moving along the stream and make the right presentation with bait, spinners or realistic looking crank baits.
Now that the crops are nearing canopy stage the fast-growing crops are both sucking up all the water they can get and the plants are shielding the soil from the direct impact of rain drops. This means that the stream conditions will continue to improve for the rest of the summer, even when we get normal rainfall. From now until the crops are harvested in the fall, an inch or 1.5 inches of rain will barely make runoff and the streams will stay pretty clear.
This is the time of year I like to start tossing “big-bite” items like frogs, mice, and the staple: crawfish. It always amazes me what lurks in the shadows.
Rain showers are predicted for Thursday through Sunday, but it will be spotty with only a few tenths of an inch, so, get out fishing!
If you don’t know wild parsnip LEARN IT NOW! This plant is spreading across SE Minnesota and is a real hazard if you get the plant oils on your skin. If you are angling in areas with wild parsnip, always avoid it and wear waders or long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
The plant is distinctive with the bright yellow, flat topped flower bouquets and it can grow head high. The sap destroys your skins’ natural ability to protect from sunburn.
This poster from Ontario, Canada’s Oakville Independents Community website, a nonprofit promoting health, safety and community action, really shows what can happen.
I first encountered this weed in the early 1990’s without knowing what it a hazard it was. Now I have permeant scars on my forearms from the sunburn blisters I got on a single fishing outing. Don’t let wild parsnip spoil your fishing trip.
Today out at The South Branch Root River the transparency levels were exceptional as they were at 47cm, which means it will be very good fishing right here in town at the South Branch of the Root. Right at Camp Creek which flows into the Root right here in town the transparency levels were not as exciting. Camp Creeks levels were only at 28cm which is alright for fishing, but would like it to be around 35cm. Up the road a little bit at Mill Creek in Chatfield we got the best levels of the week at 50cm. Having the transparency levels this high makes for great fishing!
The rainfall (Green bars) that we got on June 15th made the flow (Blue) of the river speed up, but with no rainfall in the past few days the discharge has slowed down making for the good transparency levels taken today. Sadly though it shouldn’t last too long though as it is supposed to rain this weekend which will muck up the water again, so if you’re able to get out there while you can! Good luck!