It’s the second to last day of the season and I’m home not feeling any sort of urgency to get out and fish. I have to work overnight starting at 7 pm meaning I have to leave the house by six. I’ve got the afternoon to fish but its a Sunday and it is rather nice out which equates to lots of angler traffic that I do not care to contend with. I decided to go hike/fish a section of small water not far away. There is an easement on this stretch of water but almost no one fishes it and I know why. It’s overgrown and small. There is almost no depth in most places and minimal structure to provide good habitat. Well, that’s what my impression is from the last time I had fished it years ago. I was hoping that a few years had changed the situation but I was wrong. I parked and hiked the entire stretch moving only a handful of small brown trout and even then I didn’t land the few that I did see. I hiked back to the car thinking this couldn’t be the way things ended for me.
My time frame was growing short as I made my way out of one valley and into another. I opted for another stretch of small water that most probably overlook and it’s on private land. I was hoping someone was home. The farmer was outside which made it easy for me to pop my head in and ensure my presence wasn’t going to cause any problems. He laughed at me as if my request was foolish. Apparently, the recent floods over the past few years have destroyed this section of water, or that is what the old man would have had me believe. I’ve fished some of this before and I know it holds a large number of brook trout, I was just hoping to find a few beautiful fish to end my season.
I parked off a rural highway near a field entrance and rigged my rod with the same beat-up Dirty Mop I’d been fishing the last few days with 0x tippet securing it to my leader. I left everything except my camera behind, no forceps, no flies, no nippers, just the rod, and my camera. I had to go under and over about five fences before I was near the water and when I was it became evident there were plenty of trout present. My eagerness resulted in an agitated hole that quickly clouded when every fish scattered. I managed one small brown and one brook trout from it before giving up and moving on. I walked slowly up on a long pool that appeared to be pretty shallow but I could see the white fins I came for far ahead so I started roll casting my streamer. Despite its weight and obtrusive impact on the calm water brook trout after brook trout peeled off from the back of the pack to chase my fly down. Two brown trout came out as well then when I least expected it a third tiger trout. Three tiger trout in nine days it what I had just accomplished, I don’t know of anyone who has managed that quantity of tiger trout in that short of a time frame down here. I’m sure someone has but they feel like a mythical creature, something that doesn’t exist, or at least that’s how the past nine years had gone for me.
I saw my fly agitating the trout in the head of the pool and I was hoping there might be one larger brookie holding up high in the run so I opted to move on and let the group rest while I made my way upstream. This water is special, it’s pristine and small. I think most wouldn’t give it much credence but if you hike it and fish every inch of it you’d be surprised how many fish are here. It’s one of those streams that gets very small and looks like it is about to end but instead the next corner is four feet deep holding fifty fish that haven’t moved in years. I continued to fish upstream until I reached the spot I had fished to before confident that the stream came to an end, then I kept going. I was running out of time but I wanted to see what if anything was upstream and what I found I’m still having a hard time believing. A rock ledge and pool over five feet deep, twenty feet long and ten feet wide. I wondered when the last time these fish had seen a fly or lure, maybe never. The landowner told me no one fishes his property and his laughing at my wanting to makes me think he doesn’t care much for chasing after native brook trout. This put an end cap on my 2018 trout season that opens a door for 2019 that has me very intrigued and excited. I will be back for more after snow comes for southeast Minnesota.