Sunday, May 20, 2012

Looking for Help

So I'm working on compiling the rest of the 2012 run numbers as well as putting together some historical context, and a couple things come to mind.

First I'd like to offer a GIGANTIC Thank You to the folks in the Minnesota DNR Duluth Fisheries Section: People like Deserae Hendrickson, Don Schreiner, the creel clerks and many, many others provide us with so much incredible information not to mention doing boots-on-the-ground work that all too often goes un-mentioned, un-thanked or flat out un-noticed - So Thank You! We couldn't provide the wonderful information we do to the followers of Minnesota Steelheader without that great work.

Did you know for example that, "The Minnesota DNR Duluth Fisheries Area manages 349 lakes, 473 miles of trout stream, and 157 miles of river, including the St. Louis River Estuary. Management efforts provide diverse fishing opportunities with urban trout fishing, scenic settings for trout anglers, andromous fish runs, and pristine northern lakes." See This Factsheet for more great information on what this Section does for us, as well as some of the significant problems they face.

Secondly, the germ of an idea came to me here recently. The problem is that to implement it, we're going to need your help. As a test, I'm looking for the following types of information: If you fished in 2012, I'm looking for catch information similar to what's provided in the creel reports. All I need are the species caught (Kamloops, Steelhead or Brook Trout), the region you caught the fish (Lower, Mid or Upper Shore), and the date the fish were caught. I'm particularly interested in fish you may have caught after April 30th of 2012.

It is critical that you get the dates and locations correct. Again, not interested in specific streams, simply the region, so follow this format:
Lower Shore Region - All Tributaries from Mission Creek to Knife River
Mid Shore Region - All Tributaries from Stewart River to Baptism River
Upper Shore Region - All Tributaries from Little Marais River to Pigeon River including those on the Reservation.

Important Addendum!: Please make sure that you only report steelhead/kamloops numbers once. If you fished with a group, put your heads together and pick one person to report the TOTAL numbers, or only report fish you personally caught. I'm trying to prevent duplication as the numbers roll in and I forgot to mention that impotant point originally.

Example - If you and your partner(s) caught a total of two steelhead on April 24th, please do not both report back that you caught two steelhead, otherwise it will look like four steelhead were caught that day and it will skew the numbers.

You can send your information to: mnsteelheadernmf@hotmail.com
More on this exciting project as information comes in!
Regards- NMF






Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Spring Creel Final




2012 Spring Creel Final Numbers along with Trap numbers through 05.14.2012. We'll still see a few fish here and there on the Upper Shore with rain, but temps are getting awefully high so I'm not sure how long that will last. Not many people out fishing anymore so it's hard to say what numbers are truly like; the US numbers in particular. Unknown if the Traps are now closed as well...

Regards-
NMF

Post Season Happy Hour / Meet & Greet - MAY 22

The Crew at Minnesota Steelheader is hosting a happy hour / Meet & Greet next week, Tuesday, May 22 at 5pm, for any steelhead enthusiasts that are interested.

The Location this time around is going to be in the heart of St. Paul.  You will have to go to our facebook "EVENTS" page to get the details though.  We have learned long ago not to post specifics on our blog.... weird stuff always seems to follow.

This is open to anyone, novices and veterans alike, who are interested in meeting fellow steelheaders, the people behind the website as well as share stories, tips and other fishy things with fellow anglers.  No formalities here, just like minded anglers with an opportunity to meet eachother off the water with a favorite beverage.

Click HERE to head to our facebook page

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Where was everybody?

This time of year on the North Shore often feels like a ghost town when it comes to spotting fellow steelheaders.  Over the years I have found that once the Month of May hits anglers simply are not out like they are during the first April push of fish, or in this crazy spring - March push.  Still trying to figure this out.  Maybe people are discouraged from the news of poor creel reports or the perceived lack of water.  Based on experience and following flow and run charts, yes the same charts we link and post here, this time of year can be a steelheader's dream.

Maybe anglers think steelhead are like the smelt run,  within a few days it is done.  This is so far from the truth!  If fact, if the weather pattern stays the same along the North Shore this spring, I bet a few fish will still be around Memorial weekend.  That is well over 2 months of steelhead action!  Sure they are harder to find than standing in the lagoon on the Sucker River during the 2nd week in April, but fishing for active steelhead, in warmer water, without frozen fingers, is a pretty neat and rewarding experience.

Pictured here is a 29" buck caught on an upper shore river on the mid morning of May 5th.  He was caught in some nice 49°f pocket water on a 43°f overcast morning. This spot looked too good to quite  and subsequently gave up 3 more fish out of this little 14' pocket.  These were not lethargic fish either I might add. All nice steelies!

For those that will read this in the future, the 2012 season was a few weeks earlier this year due to an unseasonable dry and warm winter. In fact in my 30 years on the water this is the earliest spring run that I can remember.  More of a reason the average Joe would not expect to catch fish this late.  Do not under estimate the late season my friends and keep an eye on the flow and run charts.

DB  

Monday, May 07, 2012

Steelhead - Identified by the adipose fin

The North Shore Steelhead / Kamlops / Rainbow Trout regulations can be a bit confusing to some. Let's sum it up...

Recently we were asked out on the water about what you can and can't keep with regards to all North Shore Rainbow Trout strains.  In a nut shell, if is has an adipose fine, as illustrated here, it must be immediately returned to the river as these fish are our steelhead.  Even if you find one with a tag, as long as there is an adipose fin it must be released.  If this fin has been removed by the DNR, and obviously healed, you have a fish that is keepable. Read through the regulations though as there are size/bag limits that you must be aware of.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

05.05.2012 Creel & Trap Analysis




Updated Trap & Creel Numbers as of 05.05.2012
Don't get confused... We switched gears on you here recently. Early in the run it's useful/helpful to track the daily data so as to get a feel for what the fish are doing real-time. Later on in the run we switch to primarily a weekly format which gives you a better sense of where the runs are actually at in terms of timing: Start, Peak and Winding Down.

Note the strong correlation between numbers of fish caught and flows once the temps maintained above the magic 40°F mark. Lower Shore was a bit odd, but only in that flows were a dud throughout most of the normal run period. Things were actually starting to wind down when they got that last bump. Fish came in no doubt, but the numbers were lower than had the flow increase occured during Week 14. 

Keep in mind also that the creel numbers are based on interviewing people actually fishing. Right now it looks like Mid and Upper Shore numbers are winding down but it's a bit deceptive because there are very few folks out there actually fishing anymore. Less folks fishing means less fish to tally for the creel, not necessarily less fish in the tribs. Savvy?
Regards-
NMF