I hate daylights savings time. My alarm went off at 6:30am which the day before was 5:30am. The view from my bedroom window was black as far as I could see, the horizons edge hadn’t even begun to show a hint of sunlight. My usual routine proceeded first with coffee, then a shower, a bit of breakfast and my gear check. The plan was to meet up with Carl and search for big brook trout on new water. Two of my favorite things, new water and brook trout. I love brook trout. After the pleasantries of meeting with a guy I haven’t hung out with for quite a while we were focused on the task at hand. The further we drove the more the scene turned to one of early February and further from the March days I had been fishing prior. The water was ever so slightly stained as we pulled up, boots hit the snow at ~9:30am and sunk four to six inches. My first thought was of the airtemp (32ºF) and the wet snow beneath my boots. Then knowing we had almost an hour hike downstream before we could fish up made me weary of the potential for late afternoon cold brown water.
We hiked past some of the most beautiful rock formations I’ve seen in the 10 years I’ve been hiking around S.E. Minnesota. The water looked excellent and I’ve heard stories of massive brook trout laying in this creek. As we hiked downstream far from the edge I started ditching layers getting down to my Modest Mouse tour shirt by the time we started tossing flies. My first observation was the number of little black stoneflies around and near the waters edge. Honestly I’ve never seen this many in one location and in the past when I have seen plenty of them the trout were very active in the shallows, perhaps trying to capitalize on the slow emerging stones crawling from the the water.
Carl fished a small streamer. I tried a larger one and quickly went smaller and smaller settling on a #12 Hairball. Within minutes of fishing Carl was landing the first brown of the day. I managed a few brookies and this continued for quite some time until we were wondering if Carl’s streamer was more suited to brown trout and mine (with the hint of red in the head) more for the brook trout. We fished and caught a ton of smaller fish, nothing huge and a few north of 13inches. A few flurries were noted under the cloudy skies but the lack of wind in a tighter valley kept us very comfortable. Midge showed up later around noon and by 1pm we noticed a few rising fish but only one spot where the fish were keyed in on them enough to prompt a fly change. Carl managed a couple with a small #20 nymph after the dry was promptly snubbed despite a nearly flawless presentation. We fished back up to the car and called it a day at approx. 3pm. Wondering what lay further upstream we drove spying the creek and as we approached what should have logically been the end of this creek a massive hole was found covered by thick trees, at this point I’ll leave you thinking about that and knowing that once I get proper permission I’ll be back to find out what lives in that hole covered by the two trees. Thanks to Carl for a great day exploring a totally new creek.