Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 MS Creel Project

Whether you are new to Minnesota Steelheader, or simply missed it last year, we need your help!

The Minnesota Steelheader Creel Project is a non-scientific poll of catch information similar to what is provided in the Official MNDNR creel reports.

Your part is very simple - When you fish in 2015, simply record the following information:

Species & Number Caught: Kamloops, Steelhead or Brook Trout

The Region Where You Caught the Fish: Lower, Mid or Upper Shore. It is critical that you get the location correct. MS is not interested in the specific streams, simply the region, so please use 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.
The Date the Fish Were Caught: Well, the date....

That's it! Species, Region and Date, how simple is that? There is one other important ground rule.

Please make sure that you only report steelhead, kamloops and brook trout 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. This helps prevent duplication in catch data.

Example: If you and your fishing partner 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.

Click Here to
enter your data OR, send your information directly to: mnsteelheader@gmail.com
The data collected in our Creel Project ultimately provides us all with an increasingly better picture of steelhead fishing on the North Shore. MS publishes the information for you to think about and use whether you are brand new to the sport, or a veteran of 40 seasons. It's good stuff.
Last item is that we could really use more data on the Upper Shore, particularly late-season; so if you head up that way and have some success, please keep us in mind. We'll also take data from any time during the year, you'll be helping everyone out when you send it in.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Current State of the Steelhead Union

    In a word, Ice...

    I took a whirlwind spin with a fishing buddy down the Lower-Shore from Two Harbors to points south, and the story right now is ice and ice cover. Here's a picture looking both upstream towards the new Knife River trap, and downstream from the same vantage point:

    It was the same story everywhere. Water temps, even in the smaller tribs, are still low. And while there are occasional open slots here and there, and the mouths are open (sort of), there is still quite a bit of ice cover.

    Currently the best game in town is shore-fishing for staging kamloops, steelhead (and the coho which are just after lunch). For a great rundown on shore-fishing, check out this previous post by MS board member LM: Shore Casting for Winter Kamloops 


Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 March News Flash

AP - North Shore, Minnesota
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.

     Same story further along on the Mid-Shore:

    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-