Trout bite early and often

Joe Koch of Rochester holds a 15-inch brown trout he caught out of Duschee Creek Saturday.

LANESBORO — Duane Vonch and his grandson, Gavin Lobland, 14, were not going to be beaten to their favorite fishing hole. The regular trout season opened Saturday, and they hoped to catch their limits on Duschee Creek near Lanesboro.

They had a plan.

For the two from Fountain, fishing together is a hallowed tradition, especially opening day. Their special spot is just downstream of the state fish hatchery.

"It's close to home, and it's good fishing," Vonch said. "Last year, we lost our spot because someone was in it. That didn't set well with us." Luckily, they did find one more decent place last year, but it wasn't where they wanted to be.

On Saturday, they were up at 3:30 a.m. and got to the stream about 4:30 a.m.. That was an hour before fishing opened, and it was too dark to see much, but they claimed their hotspot.


When they walked out about about 8 a.m. they had their 10-fish limit — nine rainbows and a brown. Gavin had caught eight of them, and grandpa was so proud. He's been fishing with his grandson for 10 years and found he's eager to be outside, even if it is well before sunrise.

But they weren't the earliest to arrive on Saturday. In fact, you might say they were actually dawdlers, latecomers.

Ryan Scott of Inver Grove Heights arrived with his wife and two friends about 2 a.m., he said. They were ready to stake out their favorite sport just upstream of the hatchery bridge, he said.

"We were the first ones here," said his wife, Maritza Scott. "We stayed in the truck, listened to music, lollygagged and slept."

When it came close to opening minute, they got serious.

The two and Stephanie Fox went to the bank lit a propane lantern and were ready to fish with PowerBait and nightcrawlers. Daryl Fox, Stephanie's dad, went further downriver.

"We're pretty excited for opening," Ryan Scott said. "This is what we do every year."

At first, the two women were outfishing him, but he didn't gripe. He said he was too busy putting on more bait, taking fish off hooks, putting on new leaders and being the overall guide.


"I think fishing has to do with luck and good attitude," his wife said. "He can get a little bit upset when I outfish him, and I love it."

She had caught the biggest one so far, about a 15-incher. "It almost took the rod out of my hand," she said.

If things slowed, they said they would work their way downstream to where Daryl Fox was fishing. "Every year, he's the first one done," Ryan Scott said.

Sure enough, a bit later, Daryl Fox walked up with five rainbow trout. "I don't fool around," he said.

They laid them out with the ones the other three had and counted 14. They had six to go.

They would bring home about 15, and the other five would go to his sister-in-law's mother in Spring Grove. Her husband died, and she doesn't have a way to catch fish but likes trout, he said.

He's been coming to the same place for 28 years, and he always arrives early. "You have to be the first ones here, obviously," he said. "Look at it," he said, looking around to where all good places were taken well before sunrise.

They kept on fishing, and as Vonch and his grandson came off the stream with their limit, Daryl Fox and his group were driving off. "We got our limit, we've got them cleaned and we're heading out," he said. "Our job is complete."


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Duance Vonch and his grandson Gavin Lobland, 14, of Fountain hold some of the bigger trout they caught Saturday. They came home with a limit of 10 fish.

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