Driftless Trout Anglers

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7/28 - Grant County Scenery & Struggles Options
#1 Posted : Monday, July 30, 2012 9:20:38 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 5/23/2011
Posts: 418
Location: WI, IA
I typically do almost all of my trout fishing in spring and fall, saving summer for the lakes and other outdoor pursuits, but after reading minnphatts' excellent "Duck and Cover" post, I was inspired to take a day and get back to the stream. On Saturday I fished three Grant county streams - Grant River, Little Grant River, and Borah Creek. Can't complain about the weather or the time spent outside, but I've definitely had better fishing days...

I got to the Grant River around 7 a.m. That was the first mistake. I meant to get there before 6 but apparently even two alarms set at 5 minute intervals can't wake me at 330 a.m. I suppose years of practice of sleeping through alarms trying to wake me for 7:30 a.m. chem lectures are coming back to bite me. I probably deserve that.

Grant River was running more off color than I expected it to be.

I assumed the accumulation from the Thursday rains would have dissipated by now (or Grant River just runs more cloudy in the summertime - I've only fished it in spring before), but either way the water clarity was not quite what I had hoped it to be. I'm all for off color water, but this was just a little too stained. Water temperature here was 65 degrees.

I got three smaller browns and a 5" smallmouth in about a hour. Here's a panoramic shot I took earlier this year - I love how this spot looks, really reminds me of the lower kinni. Also it was just full of trout...last time, anyway.

So I moved on to the Little Grant River. I had been curious about this stream, but the pasture sections upstream in the public access area seemed likely to draw the most attention. So I targeted the far downstream area near the confluence with the Grant.

The intersection of the two streams was wholly unexciting. Just a wide, deep, barely moving muddy pool with no cover or structure. And unfortunately, the water color did not change as I made my way up the Little Grant. There were a few nice stretches of fast moving water leading into decent looking pools, but again, not a lot of action. A few more browns in the 9-11" range. Water temps were maybe 1-2 degrees cooler than the Grant. In general, it was quite mucky and I had to bushwack my way through this kind of stuff, always a treat:

Fishing through the opening of this run (from the downstream side), I hooked something big on a holographic PM size 9. With the murky water, I had no idea what I was fighting. After a few runs and feeling like I had control of the fish, I reached behind me to grab the net, and felt the line go slack. Certainly not the first time this has happened, but not even getting a glimpse of the fish? That's just annoying. A trout, a smallmouth, or maybe I snagged a carp, who knows?

I had been switching colors and lures quite a bit, trying to find something that drew any kind of consistent action. I went to orange and met this non-trout friend in the hole shown below:

After the river straightened and I could anticipate a long, straight, muddy stretch coming up, I decided to head over to Borah Creek. Borah is a small clear stream that is running extremely low this year. It is full of fish, most in the 9-12" range, but with the lack of water the fish are really stacked up in the pools (see Exhibit A below), and it is difficult to get more than one fish out of a pool as they are all spooked very easily. In the sections I fished, it is woodsy and overgrown..but then again what isn't this time of year?

Some very pretty, dark colored browns here.

The water was just a little higher in the upstream area, which worked out to my advantage. I caught a few nicer ones from this pool.

I liked the looks of the "mushroom overhang" here, looks like high quality housing.

Water temps here were around 60. Realizing I'd been gone quite awhile and that bringing home dinner would make my girlfriend forget all about the fact that I woke her up at 330 while trying to snooze the rotating alarms, I decided I would keep the next decent one I caught for the grill. There is a stretch downstream where I have always found nice fish, and I got a strike from a 15" on the first cast. I slipped it into my creel. I very slowly continued to make my way upstream, trying not to startle any other nice fish in the area.

After a minute or so, I heard it start to rustle around. That surprised me a little bit, as I hadn't yet put water in the creel, trying to make it through this stretch first. As I cautiously moved forward, it kept moving about and I smiled to myself before I heard rustle RUSTLE RUSTLERUSTLE PLOOP! The fish had freed himself of the canvas prison and leapt happily back into the stream. As I whipped around, I grabbed my net and tried to scoop it back up quickly but the fish immediately darted off. In the commotion, I had completely stirred up the sandy bottom and assuredly scared away any other willing fish. I wish someone had been video taping this, just a hilarious scene of a man bested by his catch.

So I forced myself to keep going until I had two decent ones to bring home. Of course, when you HAVE to catch fish you fish like an idiot, and I'm no exception, casting terribly and pulling the lure out of the fish's mouth repeatedly. I finally called it a day around 1.

I'll be back Grant county...I'll be back. Just give me another month.

Mark Dahlquist
#2 Posted : Tuesday, July 31, 2012 12:06:12 AM
Rank: Administration

Joined: 2/27/2010
Posts: 4,787
Location: Minnesota
I club them over the head either by the end of my pole or a rock. That way they don't wiggle do much. Plus I think it's a nicer way for the trout to die. Guess that fish was a survivor. Guess it just wasn't his time to go yet.
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