My brother called me up again wanting to know if I was interested in taking him out again, I obliged thinking that an interest may be developing here. He drove to Winona the night before and hung out again, even if the fishing stinks it’s still a good reason to hang out with family. The night before saw Winona getting .54 inches of rain which isn’t much but has been known to throw a few systems near by off, picking the location for the day wasn’t going to be easy. In this situation I went with my gut and we drove South.
Jake got a bit lucky again, the stream we picked was just stained from the rain making the mistakes and fumbles of a beginning angler less noticeable to the wary trout.
On stream at ~6:30am rigged and ready to go. I set Jake up with a two fly nymph rig consisting of a #14 Black Wet Fly for the lead fly with a #18 Pink Patrick trailer. Knowing that reports of fish eagerly taking terrestrials have been posted I felt it appropriate to tie on the BWF as the summer season and all the activity that comes along with it is here to stay for a while. The night before Jake and I tied leaders and worked on knots a bit which ended up helping throughout the day. Good to teach him how to do it so I can fish a bit while he is learning the ropes the hard way. That’s not to say I didn’t help
him but today was a bit less instructional than the first time we went out, although I stayed by his side and watched I offered advice when necessary otherwise I stayed out of the way.
At the first spot we worked on getting the feel for a weighted two fly nymph rig, going over all the potential disasters that come with tossing this set-up especially when you consider the ever-growing jungle around us. Jake was working a smaller run with weeds on the side, the stained water allowed us to get in pretty close for a shorter cast. What he took away from this first spot was the notion of a good long drift. Casting across slower water holding vegetation can pull your line causing your flies to be pulled out of the deeper part of the run, to help extend the drift we worked on mending line. I turn around to grab my coffee mug and Jake is playing his first fish of the day, after about fifteen minutes stream-side. A smaller brown
on a #18 Pink Patrick. Well the fear of a skunked day was set-aside, the sun was out and it was going to be an excellent day.
Water temp at 7:51 am was reading warm pushing 58 degrees, I wasn’t expecting it to be that warm before 9am. Between a few knots/tangles, one or two trees and the occasional snag Jake was getting the hang of casting this rig, trying to make sure he opens the forward cast enough to allow the flies, weight and indicator to land on the water correctly. He picked up a few dinkers, a couple of 10-12 inch Brown trout that were taken home for dinner and a Brookie all before 10am. The #14 BWF was taking more fish than the #18 Pink Patrick but enough were taking the pink attractor fly to keep it on and put a second one on after Jake busted it off on a fish setting the hook too sharply, alot of this comes with time and getting used to the feeling of it all.
The morning wore on and Jake was consistently able to pull a few trout out of each spot we stopped at, the stained water and active trout made for excellent day to nymph. A few rises were seen but nothing too exciting. Jake hooked into a larger (14-15in) Brown at the head of a run in the shallows, he had a great time playing the fish around the weeds and right as he got his hand around the fish to land it the fly let loose and the Brown knew it, forced a tail whip and away he went. By this point we were both
fishing, I stayed behind offering a bit of advice as I watched but Jake was on his own for a good portion of the morning. I landed a few smaller Brown’s here and there as we went.
We pushed further upstream looking to get to a particular feature I wanted to fish, on arrival we noticed a shallow back water area that held the highest concentration of tadpoles I had ever seen. Thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of immature frogs. A sign of the water quality, frogs are good. Jake hooked into and lost a second larger trout as a result of just not being used to the rod/reel and entire feeling of hooking and dealing with a running trout. A few throughout the day were lost when excitement took over and the line was pulled to hard or he didn’t give the trout enough room but we couldn’t have been happier. Hooking fish every ten minutes for a beginning fly angler is good progress and practice. On the way out we stopped at a run we fished earlier, to my surprise Jake was able to hook and land six trout out of this one spot and once again as my back was turned he hooked the larger trout of the day. A nice 14in Brown nymphed from the deeper part of the run after he had already landed 5 others, not too shabby. I sat back and watched, again grinning. Photo’s were taken, the trout was released and we left certainty for uncertainty at a second location. The day had already gone
well so I wasn’t going to be disappointed if the second spot was a bust. On the way out we were trudging through a mucky half-marsh section and Jake looks at me saying “is that a Turtle?” I turn around and sure enough Jake had seen me accidentally step on the shell of a snapping turtle pushing him down into the mud. Jake picked him up out of the mud to get his picture taken and then to be left alone.
Spot 2 wasn’t a total bust, Jake landed a few smaller rainbows while casting in the sun. We were looking for something easier, open casting lanes and the chance to fill the dinner table with stocked rainbows. There were a few about but all smaller, one as small as six inches? We fished in the sun until it was time to leave for home. A second great day fishing for trout in Southeast Minnesota, with a bit more time Jake will be a fly angler. Helping another learn to fly fish is a good way to test yourself, perhaps make you think a bit more about why you do some of the things you do onstream. All in all we couldn’t have asked for better, yet again. Thanks Jake, glad you had a great time. Again soon…