4/5/23 Minnesota Fishing Report (FFA Fishing Journal)

Minnesota Fishing Report
     TWIN CITIES METRO ICE FISHING- Last week was probably the last best shot of safe ice fishing around the metro. Shorelines are softening up and very warm weather next week will start to thaw our lakes.Season opener is May 13th!       MN/WI DRIFTLESS TROUT FISHING-  Lots of chocolate milk flowing in the driftless right now! Rain, snowmelt, and warmer temps will have things pretty muddy for the next week or two.Blue wing olive mayflies have been spotted on the Rush in WI and Root River area. As temps warm, they will be very active on cloudy days.  Lots of midge activity and some stoneflies on sunny days. Will have to put in some work to find water with fishable clarity. A little tea stain is perfect! Head to the tributaries and try throwing larger nymphs, san juan worms, or black streamers.Dark colored flies will show best in muddy water.  
      WI BRULE FISHING- Still lots of snow around the river, hiking is a little tough. Water levels are low and fairly clear. Won’t last long with warm weather on the way! Steelhead have been caught using tandem rigs with smaller stonefly patterns and yarn eggs in holding water. Swinging streamers in faster runs always works well too. Once the water rises and gets muddier, use larger dark stonefly patterns and dark colored streamers.  Click Here to Book A Guided Trip Online!Phone: 612-293-8058Email: fishing4all.llc@gmail.com  Bragging BoardCat’s out of the bag! Local angler, Ricky, caught this awesome sea-run brown trout below St. Anthony Falls on April 1st. Every spring we get an epic run of these fish from the Gulf of Mexico. Their ancestral spawning grounds in the heart of Minneapolis has been a fishing secret for generations, allowing anglers in the know to hook into some truly behemoth trout right in downtown. But in order to really put Minneapolis on the map as a fishing destination, it’s time to let the world in on the secret. 

Read on to see our exclusive interview with Ricky!
 Q: How long have you been fishing for the sea-run brown trout in Downtown?A: I’ve been fishing the Mississippi downtown for them every spring for my entire life! They swim up from the Gulf in March and spawn like crazy below St. Anthony Falls for just a few days before they return to the ocean.  Q: Why is the brown trout fishery so strong in the Mississippi?A: Honestly, it’s all about the water chemistry and habitat. Since Minneapolis became a city, the brown trout fishing has only gotten better too. Because we use so much road salt in the winter, all that salt melts into the river in March and travels down to the Gulf. Then, kind of like salmon smelling their way back to their home rivers, these trout pick up on the saltiness of the river water and follow it upstream back to their spawning grounds. The road salt turns the ice cold river water into a brackish mix, kind of like the everglades, and the trout thrive in it. The habitat downtown is perfect for them too. These stonearch browns or stonearchies, as some locals call them, prefer habitat with a lot of silt mixed in with some larger structure like logs, bridge pilings, and shopping carts to make their redds in. Q: What is your go to rig for catching a Stonearch Brown?A: I usually use a 10-12wt single-hand rod to target these guys because they are super strong fighters, but they are still snotty and spooky trout. So I usually use a 12-15’ leader with lots of split shot to get to the bottom quick and 5-6x tippet. I use my favorite driftless trout flies, for this fish in particular I was swinging a partridge and orange soft hackle because there was a BWO hatch and I could see trout rising for emergers.    Q: What was it like catching this fish? A: This was actually a pretty average sized fish for a stonearchie, but man did it fight hard! I was swinging the main current below the falls and let it go past a piling of the stone arch bridge when my line stopped and dragged under. I thought it was just another shopping cart, so I just lifted the rod tip to try and get unsnagged but then- BAM! The fish came alive and ran down stream so fast. I was worried I’d lose it because I didn’t get a good hookset in it. Then you’ve got to worry about your tippet breaking when you hook into one of these things, so you can’t really horse them too much. A few moments later I was into my backing and I could see it trying to jump over the lock downstream. I decided I had to risk it or lose the fish over the dam, so I tightened the drag and started reeling in as hard as I could. The fish finally tired out and I was able to land it, take a quick picture, and release it to spawn and fight another day! Q: Why do you think more people don’t fish the run, and what does the future of the run look like to you?A: Honestly, I think the downtown river gets a bad wrap. I’ve been telling folks for years that there’s huge brown trout- like LUNKERS- floating in the river down there and I think everyone just thinks I’m making stuff up or assumes I’m talking about something else. But this year I wanted to prove that this exists and highlight the awesome trout fishing we have in Minneapolis. It’s thanks to the awesome conservation efforts of dumping tons of road salt in the river every year and all the dams locking up decades worth of silt that the browns return here every year. There’s people talking about removing the dams downtown to make the channel rockier and shallower but then it’s like, where would the stonearchies spawn, you know? Then all we’d have is smallmouth bass and other trash fish. So hopefully by highlighting the stonearch browns and by getting more people out on the river, we can preserve their silty spawning habitat and keep the road salt flowing.    In-depth look at BWO’s
This is the first major mayfly species to hatch in the driftless during spring! The Baetis or Blue Wing Olive mayfly (BWO) is a medium-sized bug, typically a size 16 hook. But some species of BWO’s can be smaller at size 18 or 22. They have olive green bodies and dark gray or blue-gray wings. This species is famous for its prolific hatches on crummy weather days. If you don’t want to fish due to the weather in April, you should- because there will likely be an epic hatch of BWO’s. We’ll typically see the hatch start late morning or mid-day and last until the evening. 

Like many other mayflies, their lives start underwater as a nymph. After about a year, the nymphs are ready to hatch into an adult. They need water temps to be at least 40 degrees to hatch, and have evolutionarily come to prefer windy/cloudy/rainy days to hatch, though you can see them on sunny days too. The nymphs will fill with gas under their exoskeleton to buoy themselves to the surface. Once they get to the surface, which is a perilous journey in itself, they wiggle out from their old exoskeleton, pump fluid into their wings, and fly away into their first adult stage- a Dun phase. The dun will land on nearby vegetation for a up to a day and then hatch again in the spinner stage. The spinners will form a large cloud of bugs to mate above the stream. After mating, they will land on the water to lay their eggs and then die.
Fish will target this species at every life cycle stage and there are some good imitations for each that we recommend. Mend Provisions made this great diagram (above) of their favorite BWO imitations. A size 16-20 beadhead flashback pheasant tail nymph is a good general match for their larval stage. A sz 16-20 smokejumper is a great emerger imitation. And sz 16-20 sparkle dun or hackle stacker are good imitations for their adult stages. Depending on conditions, we will see the most BWO’s in April-May, then again in Sept-Oct. Visit your local fly shop and pick up some flies for this epic hatch! 
 Carpicide 2023We are so excited to host Carpicide 2023 on June 2-3, 2023 at Forgotten Star Brewery!This is the 9th year of Carpicide, a friendly fly fishing tournament in pursuit of common carp and good vibes around MSP.We’ll meet for a pre-party at 7:00pm at Forgotten Star Brewery on June 2nd for beer, food, door prizes, games, and carp fly fishing demos. Fishing will be open until 7:00pm on Saturday June 3rd, when all anglers must return for the after-party and award ceremony.All skill levels and ages are welcome to participate.Fly fishing only!-A portion of the proceeds will go to the Friends of the Mississippi River.- BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE! 
 Book your 2023 Fishing Adventures  We offer super fun fishing experiences for many different fish species on all the best areas of the state:St. Croix RiverMississippi RiverSoutheastern Minnesota DriftlessWestern Wisconsin DriftlessUrban WatersWe also enjoy working with all skill levels of anglers- especially beginners. Our mission is to grow anglers, and we want to teach you as much as possible while you’re on the water with us.We adhere to an “experience first, fish second” policy, ensuring that you’ll be safe, comfortable, and well-fed while fishing with us.We tend to book about a month out for day trips and our camps are starting to fill up now, so start thinking about what experience you’d like to have and reach out soon!    Fish local! Try something new! And reach out with questions!    Click Here to Book A Trip Online! Phone: 612-293-8058Email: fishing4all.llc@gmail.com  Trout Camps-    Our ever popular Intro to Trout Camp is returning this spring and fall, along with our new Dry Fly Camp! For those who are looking to learn how to fly fish for the first time or who want to “level up” their trout fishing skills- these are the camps for you. Join us for a day and a half of learning and fishing for trout in Minnesota’s driftless region. 
We’ll be staying at Troutopia near Lanesboro, MN which has been newly renovated and is just steps from Trout Run Creek. You’ll learn real world casting techniques, bug and fly identification, knot tying, and spend lots of time on the water with our guides. Comfortable lodging, delicious meals, fun-loving and knowledgeable guides, and all fishing equipment is included. $700/person. To book and for more info see the links below: Intro to Trout Camp: 4/28-30 & 9/15-17 *2 spots leftDry Fly Camp: 5/12-14 *2 spots left

  Youth Summer Fishing Camp-  
 Epic River Fishing Camp!For kids aged 10-15This camp is for kids who live for fishing and are bored of fishing from docks!Four epic days of the best river fishing experiences in MSP. We’ll bait fish for catfish and carp from shore, fly fish and lure fish for bass, pike and walleye while wading, and raft fish down the Mississippi. We’ll teach you all the skills needed to attain fishing epic-ness, and will have fishing gear for you to use if you don’t have your own.We’ll meet at River Park in Brooklyn Park, MN and hop around to the best fishing spots on the Mississippi River from there. 8:00am-12:00pm, Mon-Thurs, July 10-13 & August 21-24. $400/kid. 4 kids max, ages 10-15 Book your kid’s spot here!*We’ll be posting dates for Family Intro to River Spin Fishing and Family Intro to Fly Fishing classes in the next journal!  Click Here to Book a Guided Trip Online!Phone: 612-293-8058Email: fishing4all.llc@gmail.com  We want to hear from you!Follow the link to fill out a super quick survey so Fishing For All knows what, where, and when we can improve for our audience!I’m talking bluegill-bites-off-a-dock-in-the-summer type of quick or the I-just-fixed-my-birds-nest-and-got-another-tangle type of quick. It’ll be fast. And you might have some extra satisfaction at the next class, course, or trip that we offer because you recommended it and we made your dreams come true.Or something like that–   Send Us All Your Fishy Daydreams (and some thoughts for FFA)Guide Tips- Spring Fishing
     Guide Tip 1: Fishing the Sucker SpawnSpring sucker fishing is one of those perfect seasonal activities. Fish designated as non-game fish stay open for fishing even when seasons are closed for other species. And redhorse suckers spawn very early in spring making them perfect ice out species to chase to shake off the last vestiges of cabin fever.For the best discourse on redhorse suckers, check out this article by our very own Rough Report columnist Tyler Winter. If you are interested in these species, don’t skip Tyler’s article.      Bait: nightcrawlers or red wigglers (always fresh)     Hooks: Circle size 4-8     Rig: Slip sinker with no rolls, bullets, eggs, or slinkys     Habitat: Generally, look for areas with gravelly bottoms. 
      Guide Tip 2: Pay attention to water temperaturesFollow this link for live water temperature updates from USGSBy the time spring roll around and the air warms, spring spawning fish are always on the cusp of their major yearly event. Crappie, bluegill, redhorse suckers, and many other species only spawn during specific weather and water periods that signal to them that it’s time. Growing up, monitoring water temperatures wasn’t something I worried about. In fact, I would hazard a guess that most anglers don’t actively track water temperatures.However, let this year be the year. If you need a refresher on spawning temps, follow this link and read Tyler’s Rough Report from the start of the year. 
 Hiroto Hayashi – The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation     On Instagram     Writing and MoreThere is a looming shadow that undermines the ideals of hunters and anglers in the nation.  This shadow is the downturn in hunter and angler recruitment that continues to drop precipitously and has so since the 80s. North America’s wildlife management and research responsibilities have a funding problem. Funds come almost entirely from hunters and anglers and as those numbers drop in the nation, states continue to receive less funding for conservation, development, management, and research of our natural resources.In North America, our natural resources are managed under a “user play, user pay” model. Excise taxes from two acts funnel funding towards everything from wildlife conservation to land improvement and outreach projects. Since the US puts wildlife and wild places in the public trust, this funding comes from the public’s activities. Europe, by comparison, operates under the “European Model” which is essentially that wildlife and wild spaces belong to whoever owns the land anything happens to live or walk on.  Here’s some direct information drawn from a website I found with a very nice page name if I do say so myself.
 From “Wildlife For All” site:Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act“The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. 777 et seq.) was passed in 1950. Modeled after the Pittman-Robertson Act, it established a program of matching federal grants to the states and territories for projects for the “restoration and management of all species of fish which have material value in connection with sport or recreation in the marine and/or fresh waters of the United States,” i.e. species that anglers like to catch.Like Pittman-Robertson, the Dingell-Johnson Act required states, as a condition of receiving funding, to first enact laws prohibiting the “diversion” of license fees paid by anglers for any purpose other than administration of their state fish agency. Every state did as required. While this established a reliable funding source for state wildlife agencies, it also created an incentive for the agencies to sell as many fishing licenses as possible.”
 Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act“The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act (16 U.S.C.A. 669 et seq) was passed in 1937. The legislation took an existing excise tax on firearms and reallocated the proceeds to a grant fund for state wildlife agencies. It established a program of matching federal grants to the states for “wildlife restoration projects.” The Pittman-Robertson Act required states, as a condition of receiving funding, to enact laws prohibiting the “diversion” of license fees paid by hunters for any purpose other than administration of their state wildlife agency. Every state did as required. While this established a reliable funding source for state wildlife agencies, it also created an incentive for the agencies to maximize hunting license sales.The impetus for the Pittman-Robertson Act was a marked decline in certain game populations. The Pittman-Robertson Act was intended to promote the preservation and restoration of wildlife habitats. The Pittman-Robertson Act defines “wildlife” broadly to include “any species of wild, free-ranging fauna including fish.” Note that this definition includes invertebrate and non-game species. However, in 1956 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued regulations that restricted the use of Pittman-Robertson Act funds to birds and mammals, probably because these are the taxa of most interest to hunters and wildlife managers.“
 Astute readers may draw a number of conclusions from these paragraphs.Tyler Winter’s Rough Report includes examples where this system may fall short. Since “rough.” “trash,” and “non-game” fish aren’t the public’s knee jerk reaction for “species that anglers like to catch,” native species that we promote like redhorse suckers, buffalo, bowfin, and gar tend to receive little to no funding for research and media. The issue is far ranging. Across the board, except in the few states that can self-fund their wildlife and outdoor recreation communities, funding is dropping. How does this relate to Fishing For All?R3 is a term we hear a lot nowadays. It refers toRecruitmentRetainmentReactivationWhich are the three pillars of creating more anglers, helping the existing anglers develop their skills and experiences, and inspiring folks who haven’t fished for a while or who have aged out to begin fishing or spend their time doing things like volunteering.R3 is the industry’s solution to the drop in hunter and angler numbers and the corresponding drop in funds.Fishing For All’s tenets of education, growing our anglers, and saving our waters is all about this way of thinking. It addresses the plummeting number of anglers in the nation and does the dual duty of supporting initiatives that help all anglers.One thing to note is that “non-consumptive” activities like biking, wildlife watching, many watersports, camping, and other forms of outdoor recreation do not pay into these funds at all. While there are some components of these activities–a gas tax on boating fuel, for example–the majority of these forms of recreation are not considered under the “user play, user pay” model even though they are using the same resources. Do we change the model to include all outdoor recreation activities? Does this model already make it too hard for people who are financially burdened to get involved? Will it become worse if we tax other activities traditionally seen as non-consumptive?These are big questions.So, what do we do?Change, developments, and improvements start first with the people. So we the people can take it upon ourselves to be the change we want to see in the world.Getting involved with professional, personal, and social conservation organizations like Trout Unlimited, the Izaak Walton League, Friends of the Mississippi River, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and others help keep us in the loop, engaged with the activities going on in our area, and ensure that our voices as anglers using resources that we cherish are heard. And last but not least, when you go fishing, take someone new with you. Regardless of demographics, fishing is for all. I know we all hope that we can continue to keep it that way.    Want Fishing For All or Carp Unlimited MPLS Swag? Hit the link to check out our webstore for shirts, hats, koozies, and much more!FISHING FOR ALL Merch StoreThank you to all of those in the Fishing For All community! Without you, we wouldn’t be able to make the memories, share the fish stories, or grow the awesome world of fishing for new and veteran folks alike.    Have ideas for a program, a trip, a class? A guide tip you want to see on the newsletter? Want to submit photos to our bragging board? Let us know at the email in this newsletter below!Click here to Book Online!!Phone: 612-293-8058Email: fishing4all.llc@gmail.com    

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