It’s 8 am and I’m pulling into a Kwik Trip parking lot. The skies are overcast, it’s moderately windy and it feels cold, colder than I was expecting. I brought my waders but was hoping to avoid wearing them. I guess avoiding them wasn’t going to happen. Carl pulls up, gear is transferred between vehicles and we depart. The itinerary for the day, streamside by 9. Hike the entire length of the stream down to where it enters a much larger system and fish back to the parked vehicle. I continued to fish the same Black, White and Blue Dirty Mop (thank you John F***ing Jensen) which to this point has slain fish every time it touched trout water. We started downstream easily on an established trail. Things were going well until Carl decides we should stay near the stream and abandon the trail. Add an additional half hour of bushwhacking to the itinerary for the day. I chose to wear waders and was regretting it at this point.
Downstream at the confluence between a slightly stained stream and a raging river of mud I tossed my streamer in and let it sink until it was caught by the brown water, a second later I had the first trout of the day. We had plenty of water to cover and it was nearly 11 am. Our bushwhacking adventure cost us time. I needed to be pulling off the creek around 4:30 pm to ensure I had enough daylight to get camp in order. Let the fishing commence, and commence it did. Brown after brown. Carl fished a larger #12 Prince Nymph and I stuck with my streamer. After an hour or so we noticed a few rising fish and things seemed to slow with regards to strikes and hookups.
Not sure what happened but we turned a corner and the wind died down a bit. For three runs back to back to back we slammed fish. My streamer pulled over 8 brown trout from one location and the next Carl’s prince nymph did the same. Aggressive fish hitting, spitting and hitting my fly over and over again. Once I got the quick hookset down things were rolling and we had a good hour of nonstop catching going on.
The BWO’s came on heavier a little later in the day and once they did Carl switched over to a dry fly. We would continue the rest of the day with Carl approaching most locations first getting the best chance at pulling fish up with a dry and I would swing through to see who wanted a streamer afterward. Plenty of browns and brookies came out to play and despite the cooler windy weather, we had an excellent five hours of fishing. At 4:30 pm we pulled off the creek and headed to the Kwik Trip. We would depart with a rough plan for the following day in place.
I split and headed for state forest land. I was interested in finding a spot to camp for the night that kept me closer to the streams we would be fishing the next day. The second benefit was a few hours of solitude in the woods. On-site I hung my hammock as quickly as I could. The wind was howling and my tarp had to be pitched low to the ground to keep the draft out as much as possible. I knew it would get down to freezing and the possibility of rain was looming. I didn’t take any chances with my sleeping arrangments, I went for the safest and warmest set up I could. Waking in the middle of the night to get out and make tarp and hammock adjustments is not fun or easy for me at this point. I love sleeping in my hammock but I’m still learning and sometimes struggling with how to get it all situated.
The sun set and I scrambled to get enough dry material for a fire. It took three attempts before my fire took with just a Ferro rod and no other assistance from paper or other easy fire starting material. Once I got things going with the campfire I boiled water for my dinner and concentrated on building the fire up as much as possible. The wind sucked heat away and I tried my best to build a fire that would keep me warm while I ate and enjoyed a beer or two. 8:15 pm and I was ready to get inside my quilt and get warm. I would end up sleeping until 8:30 am the next morning. It’s been a while since I slept that good outside. Day three was about to begin.