Friday, March 28, 2008

Additional Flow & Temperature Resources for North Shore Steelheaders

Here is a great additional resource for keeping tabs on North Shore steelheading conditions:

Duluth Streams.org

Not only can you get an indication for what is happening with regards to flow, but you can also get critical temperature & precipitation data.

Simply click on the Real-Time Data & Water Chemistry links to load the current year's data. You can select from any of the parameters displayed & even change the temperature data back & forth from Celsius to Farenheight with a color display in the background. This is a wonderful tool for getting flow, temperature & precipitation data for tribs near or on steelheading hotspots.

Currently only the Tischer Creek data-collection sonde is back in the water, but the other sondes will be coming on-line soon.

Regards & Good Fishing
NMF

04.03.2008 Update-
There is a DNR/MPCA cooperative stream monitoring program that just became available:

Arrowhead Brule Gage
Click on the link to obtain discharge information for this tributary. What is really helpful is that you can use this link to obtain a picture of what's occuring with regards to flow on the upper-shore. You'll now be able to infer flow on tribs like Kadunce, Devil Track & a few others using this link. Keep in mind however that you won't be able to view current conditions until after the ice goes out which should be sometime in the next two weeks.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fishing Report - 3/24/08

The Northshore is froze up on all popular rivers. Lots of ice and snow. You can get into a few open areas when the ice flows out and they have been hooking a few fish out in the lake. This is a hit and miss chance, but is worth it if you take the time. Report Courtesy: Great Lakes Fly Company

Saturday, March 15, 2008

FLY REVIEW - Super Fly!

"The Superior X-Leg is the one fly I have to have when fishing Lake Superior river mouths for loopers and steelhead from early spring to summer. I have found this fly to work very well during the latter part of the steelhead run in the spring on the North Shore streams. I like to use the beadhead x-legs when fishing the Brule for fall run steelhead and Browns. Friends of mine have had success with the x-legs in far away waters such as New Zealand. This fly is a proven winner!!! "

Len Anderson - North Shore Steelhead Guide.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

That Versatile Yarn

If you don't use yarn, you should! Yarn is a simple presentation that can represent anything from a single egg, to egg clusters drifting downstream from a redd. Steelhead feed heavily on eggs during the Spring run, & yarn is a deadly way to imitate them. Advantages to yarn are that it is easy to use & is available in many different colors. You can mix & match colors to diagnose what the fish want, or even scent it for added appeal in cold water. Colors can be quickly changed & best of all it tends to stick in the teeth of steelhead giving you that extra split-second to set the hook.

Did I mention that you can purchase several seasons worth of yarn for just a few dollars? Not only that but it takes up very little room in your pocket. Just add a small folding scissors to your vest & you are in business.

To get started, a selection of up-eye octopus-style or egg hooks in size 8-12 can't be beat. Select larger hooks and bigger, brighter yarn for dirty water, & smaller hooks & natural egg shades for lower, clearer conditions. Pre-cutting yarn into 1/2" to 1" sections & loading it by color into a box is a good idea. Or you can simply put it into a small snack-type baggie, squeeze the air out & seal.

Next you need to know how to tie a snell knot. Here's a great link to an Animated Snell Knot
Tying snells takes a bit of practise, but is easy once you understand how although cold fingers are another issue all-together...

Once you've selected the hook & tied the snell, simply slide the knot back, pull up on the standing end of the tippet/leader to form a loop then insert the yarn (I apologise in advance for the feeble illustrations):

Now slide the knot forward & snug against the eye. Line tension is all that is necessary to hold the yarn in place. Fold the two ends of the yarn up between your thumb & forefinger, then trim to size with your scissors.
That's it! You can also mix or blend colors by using yarn sections divided in half, or make blood dots & fertilized eggs by laying a small separated section of different colored yarn on top of the first. To change colors, simply slide the knot back, remove the old piece & insert a new one.

Fish it on a dead drift using fly gear, drift & noodle rods , or even a spinning rod; it's that versatile. Just remember that water conditions dictate the size & color of yarn, & to select hooks accordingly.
Good Fishing!
NMF

Tools for Estimating Ice-Out

It's March & North Shore Steelheading is almost here!

If you're like me, you are getting the itch, but winter has the tributaries locked up under ice & snow. The question everyone begins to ask is, "When do you think the rivers are going to open up?" Fortunately there is a way to tell that it is coming & here's how you do it: Magic 8 Ball...

I'm kidding, it's really: Magic USGS Flow Data!
Take a close look at the following graphic-
What you are looking at are the effects of the daily warming cycle on snowmelt & flow. Note that the peaks in gage height (& therefor flow) occur just after mid-day. This is when the air is warmest, the sun at its most intense; & the most melting occurs contributing water to the river. The lows occur just after sunrise which is also typically the coldest part of an average day. At that point, very little if any meltwater is making its way to the river. However when the sun is high, meltwater begins to scour the ice from above & below. The more meltwater, the more ice erosion until the river opens up.

The above is the typical gauge signature of a river about to throw off its winter coat, & it can open up a medium-sized river in as little as a week. When you see a trend similar to this, it's time to get your gear ready!
Regards & Good Fishing!
NMF