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tom_w

Winter trout

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Hello all,

I am considering some trout fishing this year. I saw Hay and Whitewater among others are open on Jan 1. I am a novice (at best) for trout fishing. In all honesty, I'd be ecstaticto catch and release a 10 inch trout. Any tips for winter trout? Spinning gear is still easiest for me.

Tom

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I'm a flyfisherman, but I would recommend to fish slowly with subsurface lures. There is the occasional midge hatch during the winter but most trout do not rely on it heavily for survival. During the winter trout will "pod" more in the deeper, slower water to conserve energy.

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I caught a couple last year during the winter on tiny (size 0 and 00) inline spinners. This winter I plan on trying to drift some small nymphs, scuds, and muddlers. I imagine those would be the primary diet for Minnesota trout in winter. If you get to using a flyrod, I have heard that a "pink squirrel" nymph can be killer on brookies in the winter.

Good Luck!

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Well, usually bring both the fly rod and the spinning. There will be less vegetation for me to get snagged on with the fly rod I guess. I still have to master the art of drifting flies.

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A decent ice fishing rod is also a great tool for casting small hardware into areas with lots of brush. And yes a Pink Squirel is a wonderful nymph to use in SE Minnesota.

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I am like so haaad and flyfish mainly. But my trout fishing is almost always in IA with my dad and uncle. My uncle is a spin fisherman and early and late in each season he uses very small crappie jigs. He switches over to spinners in late spring and through summer and does well. So you might want to try small jigs retrieved slowly. And if you want to practice your flyfishing use some nymphs and you will do well. And IA streams are open (just not stocked) at this time of year and there are always holdover trout throughout the winter.

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I a thinking of hitting Whitewater. Does anyone have advice for me?

Is there any chance Hay Creek would be (relatively) crowded right after Jan 1?

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Both streams you mention are good options, however popular. Hay is a smaller stream. If you are a novice WW may be a better option. Plus with the recent floods the stream is more wide open and easier to cast. I would go with scuds and the traditional PT or hare's ear nymphs. Go with a bead head and even add more split shot and do a dead drift. You want to get to the bottom and fish are not active. Also it makes no sense to get up at the crack of dawn and go fishing. Rather opposite I pick the warmest part of the day to fish when the fish could be the most active. Overcast ideal.

Good luck! There is rumor that MN may one day open ALL designated trout streams for pre-season, barbless C&R. I'm not sure about 09, perhaps 10 if the DNR passes the proposal.

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Look into how those Steelhead guys do it.

I am a big fan of drifting a small, small jig above a float along the veins of the river. Right where the water turns to that deeper green color. Assuming you are fishing the clear winter waters.

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