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Dragonfly Anglers

Offseason Explorations: Part 2

May 22, 2014
My girlfriend Elsa and I always take some time each fall to visit family in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Similar to this area, it can be cool there that time of year; however, fall seems to hang around a bit longer in that area than in the mountains. While on one such visit last fall around Halloween, Elsa’s dad Rockie and I decided to take the boat out on Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior for perhaps one last fish before the snow started falling. I brought my fly rod along as I always do if I’m around water; however, we were trolling with big Raps and spoons, which is a great way to cover water and figure out where the fish might be holding. We started picking up very nice sized browns, Coho Salmon, and Steelhead. We were both surprised to see such great action this time of year when Rockie pointed out to me that we were picking these fish up in less than 15 feet of water with relatively shallow lures. I immediately thought about my fly rod and the possibility of getting a few on the fly. We decided to finish the day trolling and trying to locate exactly where the fish were and ended the day landing several more large fish. Before we were off the water, a return trip for the next day had already been planned with Elsa’s brother Luke, and it would be done with fly rods. 

The next morning after Luke and I made a brief stop at some sand flats looking for smallmouth bass that were not there, we went right back to the area we had worked the day before. We fished a variety of water from shallow, sandy bottom river inlets, where we found the Coho Salmon to rocky shorelines with lots of structure where the steelhead and browns were cruising. This was not a trip where we boated 50 fish but every fish hooked was quality and the fact that we were able to sight fish for several different species made this a very unique experience for both of us. There we were alone on Lake Superior in late fall hooking fish in beautiful water from a flats skiff, it was perfect. It really does not matter what time of year it is, there are so many opportunities to explore, and I will always travel with my fly rod close at hand.
Posted by Zach Kinler
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Offseason Explorations: Part 1

May 6, 2014

With the offseason here, I got to thinking about some of my past offseason adventures, and I realized how much I enjoy the ebb and flow of a ski town. There will be times when every hotel and condo is occupied, the restaurants are full and work is easy to find. A week or two later and it is the exact opposite. That’s life in a town like Crested Butte, and you have to love it and be prepared for it if you are going to live here.  I think it presents a great opportunity to make a living but also provides time to explore the rest of the state and beyond…

Every year in April, the ski resort closes down and Crested Butte turns into a relative ghost town. This time of year is actually quite enjoyable, the crowds are gone and town is quiet. In between snow storms, we get nice sunny days in the 50s and there can be good fishing opportunities. It is actually a great time to be around town, I don’t feel that I have to leave to escape anything; however it is also nice to enjoy some warmer climates if you have the opportunity. While it is still winter above 9,000 ft in Colorado, spring is in full swing in other parts of the country. 

I grew up in southern Missouri near the Ozark Mountains where spring starts in February and by April temperatures can be near 80 degrees.  This area has about as much water as anywhere in the states, from large lakes and rivers to smaller streams and stillwater. One great spot is the Eleven Point River. The river is fed by the 10th largest freshwater spring in the world which turns this normally warm water river into a great trout fishery. There are about 20 miles of productive trout water downstream from the spring and a wild population of rainbow trout that are very aggressive. Canoes are the most efficient mode of travel and we spent four days during the week on the river and did not see another person camping, only a few people floating through. It was April, the weather was warm, the dogwoods were blooming, and we were wet wading in our bathing suits catching wild trout in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest. This is just one of many great places to extend your summer when the snow is still flying in the high country. 
Posted by Zach Kinler
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