Blog: Winter & Spring Trout Fishing


January 29, 2018
When I think of trout fishing on the Namekagon River, I am reminded of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  "There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.  When she was good, she was very good indeed, but when she was bad she was horrid."  This little poem perfectly describes the nuances of trout fishing on the Namekagon.  When it is good, it is very good.  Trout Unlimited includes the Namekagon in its "Best 100 Trout Streams in America" collection.  So, when it is good, the trout fishing on the Namekagon rivals any trout stream in the country--no questions asked.
However, when it is bad, it is, indeed, horrid.  Summer trout fishing on the Namekagon can be frustrating, maddening, upsetting, non-productive and disgusting.  In short, horrid.  Many summertime anglers leave the river empty-handed and go off grumbling that "there are no fish in that river".
Both of the above paragraphs are correct.  The difference between good/great trout fishing and bad/horrid trout fishing is one very key element--water temperature.  Trout require cold water to survive.  When water temperatures soar past 70 degrees, trout are stressed and cannot extract enough oxygen from the water to survive.  Their metabolism shuts down and they move about to find colder water.  Typically, they are in total "survival mode" and not interested in eating.
Winter typically finds trout fishermen tying flies, organizing gear, stocking up for the coming season or just dreaming about trout fishing.  That should change!  Winter and Spring offers the best trout fishing the Namekagon offers.  There is plenty of open water and, most importantly, abundant cold water.  The trout may be a bit more lethargic than they will be in May, but they will certainly provide fishing entertainment for those willing to venture forward and go fishing.  It is very accurate to say that trout fishing on the Namekagon is generally better in January and February than it is in July and August. 
The Namekagon River offers plenty of Summer fishing for warmwater species like bass, walleye, pike and musky, so the fisherman can enjoy the river in Summer in a different way.
As the water cools  in the early Fall, the trout fishing gets good again, and will be good until the season ends on October 15
So, the message should be clear--trout fishing on the Namekagon is best when the water is cold.  That is, Winter/Spring and again in the Fall.  For us "Norterners", 35 or 40 degrees feels balmy and is plenty warm enough to fish.  Get out there and enjoy the cold water of the Namekagon as well as her trout.  The solitude is magnificent and you may feel a bit like someone just shared a really cool secret with you...



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