March 14th, 2015
A certain Staffer at Minnesota Steelheader was nearly brought up on dereliction of duty charges today...
Mea culpa, this is what you get when you have a full-time job with too many irons in the fire on a direct collision course with steelheading. Quick update for now, but more regular reports coming because things are a' movin' as they say.
The intense warmup has brought about an astonishing brownup along points north. What you are looking at is a 250m resolution satellite photo of Gichi from March 9th:
...And now from March 13th:
This is important because the process of opening the streams and warming water temps accelerates significantly once the snow-pack is gone. The danger now actually becomes low flows if/when we lose our snow-pack too quickly; drought could be a real problem at this point.
One thing we are not seeing are those all-important sediment blooms out in front of the rivers, at least they are not apparent in the photos yet. Those sediment blooms are part of the process which call the fish home.
The rivers are showing signs of throwing off their winter cloaks as well. You can see the effect of daily warming and increased melt runoff on the Lower Shore here on the 8th, 9th, and finally a classic ice-dam signature on the 10th as large volumes of snow-melt are dammed and held back by the remaining ice.
Upper-Shore shows signs of a much more reasonable schedule:
That classic heartbeat signature represents increased meltwater entering the stream following the daily cycle of the sun. The animals are all talking about impending steelheading as well: The male chickadees, cardinals and jays are all doing their best to impress the ladies in the morning, bald eagles are returning following ducks and geese, my masked bandit is back after a winter snooze and robbing the Bank of Black-oil Sunflower hanging from my deck. I won't be surprized if the toms in my area start gobbling and strutting soon, if they haven't already.
We at MS will keep our eyes peeled and report as necessary. If we keep on this pace, we may see a season similar to 2012 where the trap opened on March 25th. And while we don't like saying the "B" word here because, after all we are MINNESOTA Steelheader and it's someone else's gig, the Brule gage went live here the other day which means it's open for quite a ways down.
Regards and more to come-