First of the year

Yesterday was the start of the early catch and release season, but I waited until today so temperatures would be above freezing. I fished a part of the Mecan River that is open for the early season.

I started seeing browns, some of them whoppers, as soon as I got in the river. I saw over a hundred fish and had 30 or 40 of them follow the lure, bump it, or lightly suck it in. But they just weren’t in the mood to chomp down. I think the water might have been a little cold for them today.

I waded a mile and I didn’t land my first fish until I had gone ¾ mile. It wasn’t a big one, but I was happy to avoid the skunk.

I caught two more below the bridge where I climbed out. That was it for the first outing of the year – 3 brown trout.

2019 Trout Year in Review

2019 was another great year for
fishing. I caught some big ones in the sand counties, completed some nice
backcountry trips, and discovered a couple of promising new spots. I missed out
on the Driftless again because of schedule conflicts and the flooding there,
and that impacted my tallies a bit. I completed 47 trout trips and had no

I fished on four backpacking treks and in seven states including
North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Wyoming, California and

As usual, I used my hand made spinners exclusively, mostly in
silver. Recipes for my spinners can be found at

Stats since I started trout fishing 14 years ago are tabulated below. This
year, I caught 266 brown trout, 74 brookies, and 21 rainbows.

2019: 47 trips, 0 skunks, 361 fish
2018: 43 trips, 0 skunks, 369 fish
2017: 51 trips, 1 skunk, 469 fish
2016: 43 trips, 1 skunk, 411 fish
2015: 36 trips, 3 skunks,194 fish
2014: 35 trips, 3 skunks, 230 fish
2013: 38 trips, 3 skunks, 245 fish
2012: 36 trips, 1 skunk, 253 fish
2011: 27 trips, 0 skunks, 216 fish
2010: 36 trips, 8 skunks, 168 fish
2009: 36 trips, 3 skunks, 167 fish
2008: 33 trips, 5 skunks, 135 fish
2007: 23 trips, 1 skunk, 80 fish
2006: 1 trip, 0 skunks, 1 fish

The 2020 season starts on January 4 in less than a week!

Tight lines, and I hope to see you out in the streams this year.

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