I fished the lower section of the Kinny in Wisconsin early season last year and it was kind of a zoo. I guess it is a good thing that there are lots of fly fisherman out there. It was hard to find an open spot, but I eventually found my favorite spot just being vacated by another angler. I ended up with 4 or so on the day thanks to that spot. I only got one fishing new and slightly less desirable spots earlier in the day.
This year I decided to fish a smaller, less well known brook trout stream instead of the more popular lower Kinny. I got out at noon and fished until 3 or so. It was pretty warm but just cold enough to get a little ice in the guides. It also got windy. On this stream, I never fish heavier than a 3wt. The biggest brook trout I ever landed out of this stream was about 12 inches so a 3 wt makes the smaller fish more fun. I really had a hard time casting in the wind. I was fishing a tandem rig with a #16 parachute Adams and an orange scud about 18 inches off the bend of the Adams. Fighting the wind usually means making tighter loops that are more resistant to the effects of the wind but a tandem rig is best fished with open loops. Both cases were a mess. The stream is about 5 feet wide and down to as little as 3 feet wide and I felt like I was hitting the water about 60% of the time. Without wind I can typically place 3 drifts in this stream, my side of the current, in the current and the other side of the current. Yesterday, I was lucky to get my fly in the water. The stream meanders around an open field so each pool was either a head wind, cross wind or any other variation. The casts I did put in the water were catching fish though. I got maybe 3 off my Adams and 6 or so on the scud. I also tried smaller pheasant tails and midges as a trailer fly but go no hits on them at all. I had one on that may have gone 12 inches but I lost it after a few head shakes. I was fishing barbless and they were tossing my scud fairly often. I looked back at my pictures from last year and the orange scud was the ticket back then too. Orange scuds are supposed to represent dead scuds that are drifting down stream. Scuds that are alive are either gray or olive or, I guess, a bunch of other colors but not bright orange. Maybe the winter kills a lot of scuds and the trout see those more this time of year. Who knows, but that fly has been working pretty well for me this year.
I did see a few rises and I saw some blue winged olives that were about #18 or smaller. This is the earliest I have ever seen those guys. Baetis were a welcome site after a early winter season of no dry fly action.