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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Water Sky Mountain Cloud Plant


Went up to Leech Lake on Wednesday and the road into the campground was still closed. There is a bit of snow still in the campground, but it is melting quickly:

Plant Natural landscape Road surface Asphalt Fluvial landforms of streams


The launch area is all clear, but soggy from all the snow melt:

Water Water resources Plant Sky Natural landscape


In the campground area there were lots of trilliums blooming:

Flower Trillium white trillium Plant Petal


There were only 4 of us on the lake all day, so it wasn't very crowded. The water temperature was 58 to 60 degrees, but kind of murky, probably due to the snow melt. The water level was quite high. I landed 32 fish, all Brookies, most in the 7 to 9 inch range, four in the 14 inch range like this one:

Vertebrate Salmon-like fish Fish Fish products Fishing


The carryover triploid rainbows were conspicuously missing (new triploids haven't yet been planted). I'm speculating that the overabundance of small Brookies caused most of the carryover triploids to starve over the winter, but it may also just be that the numerous small Brookies were able to grab my fly before any rainbows could. Last spring there were hardly any small Brookies, but this year there is a glut of small Brookies. My thinking is that the hot, dry summers of 2014 and 2015 resulted in poor spawning rates, but a wetter 2016 allowed decent spawning so that's why we're now seeing so many small Brookies. But, I'm definitely not a fisheries biologist, so who knows?

Rex
 

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FISHON206
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Hey Rex,
I'm wondering if the cold snowy winter we had killed off the hatchery trips? I've had good trip fishing before the new plants years past, but the winters were mild compared.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Rex,
I'm wondering if the cold snowy winter we had killed off the hatchery trips? I've had good trip fishing before the new plants years past, but the winters were mild compared.
It could be since it is such a shallow lake. On the other hand, I'm guessing that the lake has a lot of small underwater springs that provide oxygen to the fish through the winter, but I really don't know. If the extended winter killed off most of the carryover triploids, why didn't it also kill a lot of the Brookies? It could be that Brookies are tougher than rainbows. Or it could be that the numerous small Brookies just out-competed the rainbows for food. Maybe we have to encourage fishermen to keep the small Brookies to thin out the Brookie population so that the rainbows have a better chance of surviving?

Rex
 

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FISHON206
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Several years ago while staying at the ski condos, we kept some brookies for dinner. I was disappointed in their pale white meat instead of orange and they tasted like the soy sauce we had to add for flavor....:confused:
Did you catch any with your boatman??
 

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Several years ago while staying at the ski condos, we kept some brookies for dinner. I was disappointed in their pale white meat instead of orange and they tasted like the soy sauce we had to add for flavor....:confused:
Did you catch any with your boatman??
did he? probs all he fished :D

Rex I hope I'm fishing like you in my later years! it's damn impressive!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Several years ago while staying at the ski condos, we kept some brookies for dinner. I was disappointed in their pale white meat instead of orange and they tasted like the soy sauce we had to add for flavor....:confused:
Did you catch any with your boatman??
Yeah, the Leech Lake Brookies don't have much flavor, but I think it depends on what they eat, as Brookies from other lakes sometimes have a deep orange color and better flavor.

I had 110 hits on my T-Waterboatman and 1 hit on a damselfly nymph. Of course, I fished my T-Waterboatman the most, but still, it gives you a pretty good idea of what the fish preferred, at least on that day. There was a huge hatch of micro-midges, but there was no way to match that hatch. My friend tried fishing chironomids under an indicator, but didn't have any luck using that technique.

Rex
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
did he? probs all he fished :D

Rex I hope I'm fishing like you in my later years! it's damn impressive!
Hi, Billy! Thanks! My friend caught one fish that had two dark brown leeches in its mouth, so I did try a dark brown rabbit fur leech, but didn't get any hits on that fly. I also tried a minnow pattern, thinking that with the multitude of small Brookies around, maybe the bigger fish were eating the smaller fry, but didn't get any hits with that either. I know Leech Lake has a lot of water boatmen as in the shallows I can see lots of very small water boatmen swimming around. So, I think the fish really key in on water boatmen through the winter and in early spring soon after ice-off they are still onto them. Once the chironomids and damsels start hatching, the fish will probably not chase the water boatmen as much.

Rex
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
FYI: I've just been advised by Eric Anderson, the fisheries biologist, that Leech Lake would be planted with the triploid rainbows on 6/20, Tuesday. At least, that's the plan, but these things can get re-scheduled, like if they don't get someone to move the jersey barriers so they can get in there. So, if you show up on 6/21 and don't catch any triploids, don't blame me! :)
 

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Yeah, the Leech Lake Brookies don't have much flavor, but I think it depends on what they eat, as Brookies from other lakes sometimes have a deep orange color and better flavor.

I had 110 hits on my T-Waterboatman and 1 hit on a damselfly nymph. Of course, I fished my T-Waterboatman the most, but still, it gives you a pretty good idea of what the fish preferred, at least on that day. There was a huge hatch of micro-midges, but there was no way to match that hatch. My friend tried fishing chironomids under an indicator, but didn't have any luck using that technique.

Rex
Hi Rex:
I know you have shared about water boatmen before, and you think the pattern is not that critical, vs depth and retrieve, but I don't remember what specifically the "T-waterboatman" is. some initial searching did not come up with it.

Jay
 

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FishyJere
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I just called the FS at Natches and they say it is not open. The site was vandalized and needs repair. In an earlier call, I did hear that the damage was lock tampering so that could explain the open gate. I would really hate to do the drive and find out they fixed the locks.
 
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